The methodology of recognizing, diagnosing, and treating hearing loss and related issues is known as aural rehabilitation. Testing and hearing aids are its two best-known pieces, but several other specialized treatments are also part of the field. The ultimate goal is to allow an individual to function as conventionally as possible with any hearing loss they may experience.
When hearing loss is a fact of life, a broad array of services and techniques are available that enable people to better communicate. Not only audiologists, but medical practitioners and speech-language pathologists also play vital roles in modern aural rehabilitation.
Taken as a whole, the process is typically meant to not only mechanically improve hearing with assistive devices. Training is also carried out that allows for the better management of hearing loss and the ability to converse and communicate with others.
The first step is typically working with an audiologist to zero in on the specifics of an individual’s hearing issues and to compensate for them with hearing aids. In some cases, additional technology — such as a personal FM system — can come into play. These systems, usually used in noisy environments like a theater or classroom, involve a microphone to pick up the sound one desires to hear and a receiver that transmits it directly to a hearing aid.
With audiologic rehabilitation, approaches are developed that allow an individual to compensate for their hearing loss. These include how to guide others towards better communication behaviors and ways to alter the physical setting to create a better hearing environment. Additional work with a speech pathologist can increase listening and comprehension skills, including how to better utilize visual cues.
Modern aural rehabilitation is a multipronged approach that doesn’t simply depend on a technological fix to act as a magic bullet.