Lions, Tigers, and Aural Rehabilitation, Oh My!
One of the most important aspects of a person adapting to hearing aids is aural rehabilitation. Hearing Loss Association of America defines Aural Rehabilitation as:
“A wide set of practices aimed at optimizing a person’s ability to participate in activities that have been limited as a result of hearing loss.”
Aural Rehabilitation in the Hearing Aid Fitting Process
Before we fit someone with hearing aids, we create listening goals. After programming via Real Ear Measurement, we see our patients in regular intervals to check-in on their listening goals and cater the appointments around solutions for their specific listening needs.
For example, if a patient’s goal is to hear in a restaurant with their family, we talk about where to sit in a restaurant and strategies for how their family can communicate to improve word understanding (slower, not louder, is usually better!). If the patient’s goal is to be able to sing on pitch while playing the guitar, we have them bring their instrument in so we can adjust the aids as specifically as possible. We also talk about the types of acoustic environments that will help them hear their own voice and their instrument best.
In addition to Aural Rehabilitation during the hearing aid adjustment period, we now offer a year of educational online content sent via email. This continued learning helps our patients feel fully empowered to manage their hearing loss. We explain the process to patients like physical therapy…you wouldn’t get a knee or hip replacement without going through lots of physical therapy and learning how to take care of your new and improved body part. Treating hearing loss is no different. You have invested in new and improved hearing, but the devices can only do so much. You must do your part and teach your friends and family members to do theirs.
If your patient has hearing difficulty, please counsel them on the importance of Aural Rehabilitation. The media makes it look like getting hearing aids is an instant fix, but it takes time and effort for the patient to truly maximize their hearing ability.