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3 Steps to Improve Your Hearing through Rehab

how does rehab improve hearing?

Hearing technology, such as hearing aids and cochlear implants, help us hear our best, but hearing technology alone is not enough.

It is important to train the brain to hear better. Most of us would never consider running a marathon without any training to go the distance. It is the same with training the brain to hear.

How does rehab improve hearing?

The importance of rehabilitation was stated by Dr. Howard Rusk in his autobiography, A World to Care For, when he stated, “….once a person overcomes a disability through his own courage, determination and hard work, he has a depth of spirit you and I know little about….[this] is a branch of medicine in which the patient has more power than the doctor in setting the limits and possibilities…”.

“….once a person overcomes a disability through his own courage, determination and hard work, he has a depth of spirit you and I know little about…”

When I read this, I think of all the incredible people I have met through the years who have never let a hearing impairment slow them down in life. This quote is very empowering because it says that you – not your doctor, audiologist or your therapist – can have a greater impact on your ability to hear.

In other words, you have the ultimate power and the ability to achieve your personal best!

“…you have the ultimate power and the ability to achieve your personal best!”

Making a commitment to train the brain to hear using hearing technology begins the hearing journey and opens the door to new possibilities.

Starting with rehab

Your hearing health care provider, who may be an audiologist or speech-language pathologist, will be your coach and work with you to set up a training program to meet your hearing goals. Taking part in the rehabilitative process is your training to go the distance.

Just like training for a marathon requires you to get out there and run, you have to be an active participant in your hearing journey to make it to the finish line.

The goal of rehab is to maximize the benefit received by using your hearing technology and to help you meet your full potential.

First, take time to consider your personal hearing and communication goals. Then, share those goals with your Hearing Health Care Provider and Family.

Setting goals gives you something to work towards, motivates you and can help you track how well you are doing. Telling others what your goals are helps you stay committed and gain the support of other people. Training the brain to hear is a team process and communication is important.

Motivation matters

Motivation and confidence are the foundation for behavior change. Motivation drives our actions and behaviors. When we are excited and want to learn a new skill or improve an existing skill we are more likely to set and commit to goals to make a change.

As we learn or improve our skills and achieve our goals, we become more confident. When we are confident it changes our ideas of what we are capable of doing and we become open to possibilities. Those possibilities may include your own ‘WOW moments,’ such as hearing a voice for the first time, the sound of your dog’s paws as he walks down the hall way, talking on the telephone to a loved one, listening to music for the first time or enjoying music again.

“Those possibilities may include your own ‘WOW moments,’ such as hearing a voice for the first time, the sound of your dog’s paws as he walks down the hall way, talking on the telephone to a loved one, listening to music for the first time or enjoying music again.”

Include family members or close friends. Training and running a marathon is much more fun when you have a fan club who has encouraged you and is there to see you cross the finish line. Including family members or other significant people in your life can not only be encouraging and supportive to you, but also will help them learn how to make communication more successful and less stressful for you.

3 Steps to Improve Your Hearing through Rehab 

Get a pencil or pen and let’s get started writing your hearing goals.

Use these tips to help you think about your hearing goals for the new year:

  1. Choose a goal that is meaningful and important to you
  2. Be specific   (example: I want to be able to talk with my friends when we go out to eat.)
  3. Be realistic  

Now, write answers to the questions below to help you discover your personal hearing goals.

Think about your own personal interests, hobbies and other things you like to do. List 3 things that you enjoy. Finish the sentences below:

  1. I like to …
  2. I like to …
  3. I like to …

Think about your daily activities. List three daily activities that are important to you to be able to hear better:

Now you’re ready to write your hearing goals for the new year. Use the outline below to guide you.

My Hearing Goals

Review what you wrote above. Now, write 3 specific hearing goals you want to achieve this year. For example, “I want to go back to playing cards with my friends.” Or “I want to talk with my grandchildren on the phone.” Or “I want to be able to hear what my friends are talking about during lunch.”

  1. I want to …
  2. I want to …
  3. I want to …

Who do you want to support you and see you to the finish line? Think about the most important people you want on your ‘team’.

My Support Team

List 2 or 3 people who might be willing to work with you regularly on some listening activities.

Read more: Finding happiness after hearing loss

Now, share your Hearing Goals with your Support Team listed above. Remember to bring or email your hearing goals to your Hearing Healthcare Specialist (Audiologist, Speech-Language Pathologist, Auditory Verbal Therapist, etc.) so they can help you work towards achieving your hearing goals this year.

“The highest compliment you can receive is when someone doesn’t realize you are hearing impaired because you communicate so effectively even in the most challenging circumstances. – Marc, an adult bilateral Phonak Naida Hearing Aid Recipient, on why rehab was especially important to him.”

With your new found self determination and support team, you’re well on your way to improving your hearing! 

valerilebeau
Rehab Program Manager Advanced Bionics
Valeri, a Rehab Program Manager at Advanced Bionics, brings a lifetime of personal and professional expertise to the field of hearing loss. Working as a teacher for children who are deaf and hard of hearing and as a speech language pathologist, she has trained, mentored, and lectured locally and internationally. Valeri lives in Chicago with her husband, Marc and dog, Midas.

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