Adult Audiologic (Hearing) Rehabilitation

It can be hard to talk with others when you have a hearing loss. Learning to use a hearing aid can take time. Audiologists can help.

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About Audiologic Rehabilitation

Audiologic, or hearing, rehabilitation helps people with hearing loss. Rehabilitation, or rehab for short, helps people relearn skills that they have lost. If you lose your hearing, rehab can help you learn to hear again.

Hearing rehab helps you get used to your hearing loss. It helps you use hearing aids and other devices to help you hear. You will learn how to make talking with others easier. You will work with an audiologist to plan your treatment. You may have treatment alone or in a small group.

More information on this topic can be found in our Audiology Information Series [PDF].

Your Hearing Loss

Every hearing loss is different. You need to understand the hearing loss that you have. Your audiologist will explain your hearing loss and answer your questions. This will help you understand why you think people mumble. Or, why you have more trouble hearing female voices. Or, why you can hear but cannot understand what others say.

Your family does not know how you hear. What they do know is that you do not hear well! The audiologist can explain your hearing loss to them. There are recordings that let others hear the way people with hearing loss do. This may help your family understand what you hear.

Your Hearing Aid

Hearing aids can help you hear some things. They do not help you hear everything. And, they may make some sounds louder. It is important to know what your aid will and will not do. People who understand their hearing aid will use it more often.

You will learn how to take care of your aid and how to deal with problems. Your audiologist will answer your questions. You get a lot of information when you get your hearing aid. Hearing rehab gives you a chance to ask more questions.

The audiologist can explain why you have this hearing aid. There are many types and the one you have is just for you. It may help for your family to learn about this, too. Not every hearing aid works for every person. The audiologist chose yours to meet your hearing needs.

How to Listen Again

Listening with hearing aids or cochlear implants takes practice. You will hear sounds that you forgot existed. Hearing rehab can help you get used to the sounds and improve your listening skills.

Some people have a hearing loss but do not need hearing aids. Hearing rehab can help you be a better listener. You can use other hearing devices and learn ways to listen.

Assistive Listening Devices

A hearing aid will not wake you up in the morning. A hearing aid may not help you in a theater. There are devices that can help. These include:

  • TV listening devices
  • Personal FM systems
  • Microphones
  • Telephone amplifiers

You can learn more about these devices and what they do. They may make your social, family, and work life better.

How to Use Visual Cues

We use our eyes to get clues about how people feel, what they say, and more. When you cannot hear well, you use your eyes even more. Hearing rehab can help you get better at this.

One way to use your eyes is by speechreading. You learn how sounds look on someone's lips. You can follow what they say by watching their mouth. You can also learn a lot about a message by watching the person's face and body language. For example, it may be hard to see if someone says, "I'm mad" or "I'm sad." Their body language or a sad or mad face will give you clues to figure it out.

How to Improve Communication

Hearing rehab teaches you ways to make talking with others easier. You may work on ways to do these things:

  • Talk with others. You will learn ways to let others know what you need. You can ask people to get your attention before they talk to you. Ask them to face you so you can see their lips. Ask them not to shout at you. Ask questions when you do not understand. These are just some ways to make talking with others easier.
  • Set up your home. You may want to move furniture to make it easier to hear others. You may add lights so you can see others more clearly. Adding carpets can help keep other noises down. You may use a device to let you know when the doorbell or phone rings.
  • Handle noise outside of your house. It can be hard to hear in a noisy restaurant. You can ask for a table away from the kitchen or bar. Sitting face to face with others will help you use visual cues. These are topics you can talk about during treatment.

Your Legal Rights

There are laws that make sure that people with disabilities can use public places. The Americans With Disabilities Act is one. Places like hospitals, courtrooms, and churches must have ways for you to communicate. For example, they may have listening devices or sign language interpreters. Let people know you have a hearing loss and need help.

Support Groups

You are not the only one with a hearing loss. Joining a support group will give you the chance to learn from others. How do they handle traveling, meetings, or appointments? What do they do when they go to the hospital or a theater? How do they talk on the phone? Do they use assistive listening devices? What has worked? Support groups help you solve problems. They can also be fun.

There are national support groups for adults with hearing loss. The groups below also have local chapters.

To find an audiologist near you, visit ProFind.

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