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Key words: Information, Deafness Related Issues, Deaf Education
Jeanne Shaw reminded me (thank you Jeanne !) that I promised to post some of the information I had on aural rehabilitation strategies.
I'm sorry for forgetting, and thank you for reminding me. The summer was hectic, and I put my note to send this info on aural rehab. to you and it just got mixed in with everything. Hope that this info. is helpful.
Background of this information: I have been publishing a series of articles on aural rehabilitation issues for adults in a local newletter for the local SHHH group. I am preparing these articles as one overall article for the national SHHH publication. Here is a very long posting of the different articles. I will send each article under a different email posting as Article 1, 2, etc. Hope the information is useful for your aural rehab. class at the community college, Jeanne.
(See next email posting of article #1)
Dr.J! @ St. John's
The following question is posed? "Buying a new hearing aid is always a grueling experience! Why does the audiologist or dispenser just ask me "How do you hear now ?" instead of formally testing me with the prospective new purchase ? Is there a best method for evaluating the benefits I should expect when I purchase a new hearing aid ?
Answer provided: "It would be wonderful if there were a magical method for predicting the success a person should obtain when fit with any hearing aid. However, the one factor which remains constant for all persons being fit with hearing aids is that speech will sound and be understood in one manner when the listener is not using the hearing aid and differently once the aid is in use. As such, the most objective method for testing whether you can expect any benefit from a hearing aid is to compare your own performance with the new hearing aid vs. without the hearing aid under the same listening conditions. Let's see how this could be done at the time you obtain your new hearing aid.
The goal in this comparative listening method is to determine whether using the hearing aid will improve the way you hear and understand speech. For example, if you are concerned whether you will hear conversations, then make a list (written or in your mind) of a variety of conversational situations in which you usually engage. Then Compare your performance in hearing and understanding the conversations in each different situation while wearing your hearing aid and while not wearing your hearing aid. One method you may use is to remove your hearing aid in the middle of a conversation after having worn the aid for a while during that conversation. Next, find the same or a similar conversation, and begin the conversation without the hearing aid, and then place the hearing aid in your ear in the middle of that conversation. Make mental notes or (better) written notes of how you found yourself hearing the conversations under the no-aid/aid used situations and how you found yourself understanding the conversation under these two different situations. Furthermore, if you have cooperation from the people with whom you are conversing, ask them to tell you if they noticed any differences in the way you communicated at the beginning of the conversation vs. at the end of the conversation. However, be sure not to tell them when you were or were not wearing your hearing aid. You may think you performed in one manner and find that your observers noticed many different, unexpected things which may help you better understand the following:
When can I expect to benefit most from using my new hearing aid ?
What will others notice when I am using vs. when I am not using my new hearing aid ?
What is the difference in my hearing with vs. without my wearing my new hearing aid ?
What is the difference in my understanding of speech with vs. without my new hearing aid ?
In order to better understand what is being described, consider the following, you get a new hearing aid, and you identify that you hope to hear better in noisy surroundings. You have a few friends come with you into a noisy mall, and sit down, and hold a conversation for 20 minutes. Later, you do the same thing with the same group of friends. During the first conversation, you begin by wearing your hearing aid, and removing it unnoticably after 10 minutes. During the second conversation, you begin without the aid, excuse yourself for a moment to put on the aid, and come back to finish the conversation.
You notice the following:
I had no difficulties hearing Joe or Mary when wearing my hearing aid. I was able to understand the conversation, and only had to ask for repetition or clarification of points three times wearing my hearing aid.
I was very much aware of all of the external noises which bothered me while I was wearing my hearing aid.
Joe and Mary both felt that I did fine wearing my hearing aid.
Joe and Mary both reported being disturbed by how noisy it was at the mall.
I found no difficulties hearing Joe, but sometimes missed the fact that Mary was even speaking, when not wearing my hearing aid.
I understood most of what was going on without my hearing aid, and found it easy to follow the conversation so long as I continued to pay attention and really listen hard.
I was not as bothered by the background noise when not wearing my hearing aid, but was tired at the end of listening because I really had to concentrate.
Joe and Mary both found that I participated less in the conversation when I was not wearing my hearing aid.
Now, I come home and consider what I have learned. Everyone was bothered by the background noises in the mall. I was better able to hear Mary with the hearing aid. I had to concentrate more to listen without the hearing aid.
So, I now need to make a determined decision: Do I want to use my energies tuning out background noises as I need to do when wearing my hearing aid, knowing that eventually I will learn to tune out these noises easier and more naturally. Or, do I want to waste my energies concentrating and listening harder and getting tired listening to people speaking when *not* wearing my hearing aids ? Furthermore, how important is it to me to be known as a participant in conversation vs. not participating which was remarked by both Joe and Mary. They both noticed I was better involved in the conversation when I wore my hearing aid. It makes sense. With my hearing aid on, I did not need to use so much energy listening, concentrating and trying to figure out what was being said. The energy could instead be used to participate in the conversation.
So, the difference I would have learned is the following: What is my definition of Quality of Life. For me, participating with people is more important than cutting myself off from others because it is too difficult to listen and attend. My quality of life issues say, "learn to put up with the noise like everybody else !"
Dr. Jay R. Lucker, Ed.D., CCC-A/SLP
St. John's University
Uploaded by: Melissa Close/Kent State University/Deaf Education Major