The Road to Recovery
The road to recovery can be an impossible journey without a skillful plan. Adapting to new hearing aids can take time, and clinical expertise often determines the likelihood of a positive long term listening experience. You can be confident that we have the right mix of education and experience to find the right key to unlock your hearing!
Setting Realistic Expectations
It is critical that you understand what hearing aids can and cannot do. The right expectations will ensure a productive experience with hearing aids, especially when combined with aural rehabilitation.
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The Benefits of Hearing Aids
- They will let you to hear sounds (or hear them more clearly) that you don’t usually hear… soft voices from children…quiet outdoor sounds.
- They will enable you to understand speech more clearly, and with less effort, in a variety of listening situations.
- They will prevent loud sounds from becoming uncomfortable, unless the sounds are also uncomfortable to those with normal hearing.
- They will allow you to hear more clearly in noisy situations.
- They will help to prevent the effects of auditory deprivation. See the discussion on the medical and emotional consequences of untreated hearing loss here.
The Limits of Hearing Aids
- It can take up to 3 months of aural rehabilitation and fine tuning adjustments to reach your best performance with hearing aids.
- Hearing aids will improve your hearing and communication ability, but no matter how technologically advanced, they cannot restore your hearing to “normal”, except in cases of very mild hearing loss.
- Aging will naturally reduce your ability to communicate effectively, especially in complex environments. Hearing aids may improve (amplify) hearing, but you may need aural rehabilitation to lessen the effects of diminished cognitive function (brain processing speed), which occurs naturally with aging. This effect can be mitigated somewhat by “brain training”. See LACE training, below, for more information.
- Hearing aids will dampen but not completely eliminate background noise.
Our Rehabilitation Program
Sigmund Freud doesn’t work for us…but you get the idea. It takes years of study and experience to help people get over the physical and emotional hurdles of significant hearing loss. Make sure you see a health care practitioner who has paid their dues to be an effective counselor. That means starting with a Doctor of Audiology…credentials matter!
The Main Elements
If you have a hearing loss, hearing aids will improve your ability to communicate, but it can take several weeks or months to become adjusted to listening with new hearing aids. We have counseling and aural rehabilitation programs for patients and their families to ensure their best recovery and listening experience:
- Three weeks of rehabilitation seminars will be provided free to patients who are new hearing aid users. This service will provide valuable insights on the nature of hearing and hearing loss, hearing aid technology, care of hearing aids, listening and communication strategies, and Hearing Assistive Technology Systems (HATS) technology.
- We offer a free on-line auditory training program to our hearing-aid users, Listening and Communication Enhancement (LACE), to improve their listening ability and speech understanding in noisy environments (http://www.neurotone.com/lace-interactive-listening-program).
- We have access to a full line of Hearing Aid Technology System (HATS) products: Hearing aids + HATS = better listening and communication!
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When is “Brain Training” Recommended?
Hearing aid technology cannot completely eliminate hearing difficulties…especially as we get older. The combined effects of cognitive decline (a consequence of aging) and hearing loss diminish our ability to hear well (hearing loss) and communicate (cognitive decline) effectively as we age:
- As we get older our brain processing speed slows down so we naturally have more difficulty “keeping up” with continuous conversation, hearing effectively in background noise, or understanding accented speech.
- These effects can be amplified by Auditory Deprivation, a condition resulting from untreated hearing loss.
- Hearing loss degrades our working memory because our brain must fill in the gaps of missing frequencies created by impaired hearing. This further challenges our ability to communicate effectively as we age.
- Brain training is a from of rehabilitation that helps to improve our brain processing speed, and is recommended when hearing and speech understanding is impaired by cognitive decline, hearing loss, or Auditory deprivation.
How Does LACE Training Help
LACE auditory training is a form of rehabilitative brain training that focuses on improving processing speed, working memory, and ability to understand speech in noise. The program is designed to overcome the combined effects of hearing loss and natural changes in the brain that occur with aging.
- LACE training improves our brain processing speed.
- Increased processing speed also increases our working memory, which improves our hearing in challenging environments (rapid speech, background noise, language accents).
- LACE training also targets speech understanding in noise. This further enhances our ability to engage in effective communication.
- The bottom line: a combination of LACE training and hearing aids can help mitigate the effects of hearing loss and aging.
Hearing Assistive Technology Systems (HATS)
HATS …also referred to as assistive listening devises… are devices that can help you communicate with others. HATS can be used with or without hearing aids or cochlear implants to to enhance your hearing ability in challenging environments.
- Amplifying devices for phones and TV.
- FM Systems to help in difficult listening situations.
- Bluetooth connectivity for cell phones, TV, and listening to music on computers.