You might have come across or heard about auditory training programmes and other early intervention programmes designed for children, to aid them learn speech and language skills. But did you ever realise that auditory training for adults, especially the senior citizens is equally important and should be performed along with hearing aids - to have better outcomes. In 90% of the cases, auditory training as a part of a proper hearing loss treatment programme, has proved to be beneficial!
What is Auditory Training?
According to Schow & Nerbonne study done in 2007, Auditory Training can be defined as an intervention in which listeners are taught to make perceptual distinctions between various sounds. These sounds - which are from various sources - are presented to the listeners systematically. The main focus of auditory training is on improving listening and communication skills of hearing aid users - because the world of sounds with hearing aid devices is relatively ‘new’ for them!
Incidence and Prevalence of Hearing Loss in Adults
However, the saddest part is, although about 90% of the world’s total hearing impaired population are adults, and according to WHO, approximately one-third of persons over 65 years are affected by disabling hearing loss. Yet about 75% people do not wear hearing aids! They fail to realise the importance and the urgency of getting a proper hearing loss treatment, and do not understand the necessity of opting for good hearing aids at the earliest!
Why do I Need an Auditory Training?
Because only wearing a hearing aid won’t help! After wearing a hearing aid you might feel that though you can hear various sounds, you are, however, unable to understand them. You might even fail to understand the meaning of what others or even you yourself are saying! This situation becomes more adverse if you opt for a proper hearing loss treatment after living many years with hearing loss. To overcome this situation, you need to participate in a post-fitting auditory training to aid you in proper hearing and understanding - so as to achieve the maximum benefit.
How is Hearing and Understanding Different?
Wearing hearing aids might help you to hear the sounds better which you were unable to before opting for them (or some other hearing loss treatment like cochlear implant)! But you might be confused at first which sound is associated with which object or phenomenon - even though the sound might be quite a common one. Besides, you might also face difficulties in understanding what other people are trying to convey - although you might be able to hear them quite well. Now why does this happen? We actually listen rather than hear! Listening involves understanding - and it occurs in the brain. The brain processes the sound signals received via the auditory nerve, and translates them into meaningful signals - and this is the time when we can actually listen!
What are the Benefits of Auditory Training?
Research studies have proved auditory training programmes for adults to be effective and beneficial enough for adults - including the older population with hearing aids (or other such hearing loss treatment like cochlear implants). Some undoubted benefits of auditory training sessions clubbed with hearing aids (or cochlear implant) include -
Auditory training involves actively listening to common sounds such as tones, parts of words or basic units called phonemes, or even whole words or phrases over a long period of time. This improves the person’s ability to pronounce, utter, process sounds, and say words, phrases and whole sentences with ease.
After the training, participants have shown greater motivation and an increased interest in trying to improve their hearing and their overall health - which they previously lacked, and as a result have been neglecting their hearing health.
So when are you opting for today’s advanced and updated hearing aids, along with a proper auditory training programme - being a part of an effective hearing loss treatment?