Thursday, July 21, 2011

Aural Education and Rehabilitation

Once hearing loss has been identified, it is essential that the next step includes education and counseling on the options available to help improve communication. There is a common misconception that hearing aids represent a cure for hearing loss. In reality, hearing aids are simply a tool to aid in the rehabilitative process. With realistic goals and knowing what to expect from hearing aids, an individual suffering from hearing loss can be successful in improving communication and understanding through amplification. This process takes dedication, commitment, and help from a hearing health care professional.


Knowledge is power, and the first step to improving hearing loss is to be properly informed. All aspects of hearing loss should be covered by a hearing health care professional. From type and degree of hearing loss, tools for communication, and preventative and rehabilitative recommendations, the more an individual understands about the issue, the better decisions they can make to correct it.
If, after a through hearing exam is performed and amplification is recommended, a hearing health care professional should provide a step-by-step guide to the fitting and aural rehabilitation process. Before continuing with a fitting, the individual should conduct some of their own research in the types of hearing instruments available, how the adjustment process works, and the use of communication strategies to help aid in the rehabilitation process. The hearing health care professional should offer support and information in all of these areas, including several amplification options for your specific loss, as well as outlining a level of support after being fit with hearing aids.
Creating that support group of family and friends is key to the success of the individual who suffers from hearing loss. Educating these close individuals during the decision process allows them to better understand the hearing difficulties facing the individual and options available with today’s technology.

Expectations and Goals

Successful hearing aid use begins with setting realistic goals. Everyone’s needs and expectations are different, and so it is vitally important the hearing impaired sit down, one-on-one, with the hearing health care professional to outline the specific goals and expectations. Understanding what realistic expectations are is the first step. For example, if an individual expects their hearing to return to normal, this is unrealistic for even the most sophisticated hearing instruments available. If, however, the individual expects the hearing aid to ease the effectiveness of communication, this is a more realistic goal. Like many things in life, unrealistic expectations are the main cause of frustration with hearing aids. Including family and friends in the process of setting goals and understanding expectations will also contribute greatly to the success of the individual.
Identifying specific and timely goals is of the utter most importance. For example, most first time hearing instrument users experience fatigue during the first couple of months wearing their hearing aids. It is a good idea to set small goals that include specific levels or increments of hearing aid use. For example, during the first week, the individual might set a goal to wear the hearing instruments for only 2-3 hours per day, and increase the wear time by an hour every week. Other goals might include specific listening environments or situations that are particularly difficult for the individual to communicate in.

Post Fittings Sessions

The rehabilitation process begins immediately after the individual is fit with hearing aids. This process is much more than simply purchasing and wearing the hearing aids. It is imperative that the hearing health care professional provide post-fitting sessions as needed. These sessions are opportunities for the individual and hearing health care provider to work one-on-one verifying the hearing aid fitting, making proper adjustments, counseling on hearing aid use, and providing communication training.

Verification, Counseling, and Communication Strategies

Verification is most often performed using a Real Ear Measurement system. The hearing health care provider inserts a small microphone into the ear canal, along with the hearing instrument, and measures the actual amplified sound reaching the ear drum. This process helps provide objective information that can be compared side-by-side with the audiogram of the individual. It also provides an opportunity for the professional to make adjustments, based on the data, to the hearing aid to ensure a successful and proper fit. Other verification includes subjective situations including speech comprehension tests, and speech in noise tests, that measure the individual’s ability to understand speech in certain listening environments.
Starting with hearing aids can be very challenging. Because most hearing loss occurs gradually over time, the individual can become comfortable living in their quiet world. Small sounds that were once natural, such as footsteps, wind, or clanking dishes, can become a nuisance when brought back at all at once with the aid of hearing instruments. Adjusting is an individual issue and may take weeks or months. The hearing health care professional should be willing to help counsel and guide the individual through this period of adjustment.
Hearing instruments are effective tools for aiding in communication. Like all tools, however, they are only effective if used properly. Often time individuals who have suffered from chronic hearing loss have developed poor listening skills that require adjusting. Once hearing aids have been fit, it is extremely important that the individual’s communication skills be properly addressed. Working one-on-one with your hearing health care professional, the individual should be counseled and guided on improving communication skills including visual cues, environmental manipulation, where to position a listener in different situations, communicating in noise, and many other helpful communication skills.

Group Hearing Aid Orientation

Many hearing health providers are offering group hearing loss rehabilitation services, rather than on an individual basis. These sessions are attended by individuals who suffer from hearing loss, as well as their family and friends or support base. The Hearing Loss Association of America's Utah Chapter meets at 5709 South 1500 West Taylorsville, UT 84123-5217 every Wednesday from 7-9pm. For more information you can visit their website at


When choosing a hearing health care provider, be sure to determine if they will be able to offer the variety of services required. Hearing aids are not a quick fix. Simply purchasing a hearing instrument and wearing it will not ensure a successful fitting or improved quality of life. Hearing instruments are simply tools that must be understood, adjusted, and used properly. If the individual’s motivation is improved communication by proper amplification, learning effective communication strategies, and effective counseling the chances are excellent for a proper fitting.
To learn more, or to schedule a complimentary hearing exam, call us at Salt Lake City 801-485-5595 | Provo 801-373-5887 or visit our website at

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Helping a Loved One with Hearing Loss who doesn’t Want Help

All too often we think we are helping a loved one who suffers from hearing loss, but refuses to use hearing aids, when we repeat ourselves, speak clearly, speak louder or interpret others if they do not understand. In reality we are aiding them in avoiding the help they need. Such efforts, though well intended, impede the individual from seeking the real help they need, hearing aids.

When we do these small things to help a loved one hear and understand they soon become co-dependent upon our ears to do the listening for them. Many individuals with hearing loss don’t realize the degree they’ve come to depend on other’s ears. It only takes a moment however, for them to quickly realize that without help from others they’re in a world of silence. This co-dependency significantly lowers the quality of life for both the individual suffering from hearing loss and the individual on whom they depend. This is why we at Edison Stanford Hearing Aids Centers of Utah recommend the following practical tips to help aid you in motivating an individual with hearing loss to seek appropriate and professional help:
  1. Stop repeating yourself. Explain that you are allowing him, or her, the opportunity to realize the severity their hearing loss has on their ability to function in daily living. This does not mean you need to stop helping the individual all together, rather take a moment to point out the fact that you must repeat yourself often in order for them to understand. Once they notice that this is a common occurrence they will soon realize how much they rely on you to help them hear.
  2. Stop raising your voice.
  3. Stop being the messenger by carrying the communication load for the family. Don’t fall into the “he said” “she said” routine. Your loved one needs to be responsible for getting the information directly from the source.
  4. Do not engage in conversation from another room. As often as this might occur in daily living. Try to avoid it at all costs. It sets up the conversation for failure from the beginning.
  5. Create a telephone need. The same rules apply for the telephone. Don’t become their interpreter for all telephone conversations. Help them to notice their problems hearing on the telephone and create motivation for them to seek professional help.
  6. Schedule a free hearing exam. Once your loved one realizes they need professional help, schedule a complimentary hearing exam at one of our two Utah locations, Salt Lake City (801-485-5595) or Provo (801-373-5887), or visit us on the web at

Friday, July 8, 2011

Hearing Loss and Utah Jobs

Did you know that over 28 million Americans suffer from hearing loss and only 5% have taken steps to treat the problem? When an individual delays a decision to get hearing help, they are unaware of the fact that receiving early treatment for hearing loss has the potential to literally transform their lives. Research by the National Council on the Aging on more than 2,000 people with hearing loss demonstrated that hearing aids clearly are associated with impressive improvements in the social, emotional, psychological, and physical well-being of people with hearing loss in all categories from mild to severe.

Hearing loss treatment was shown to improve: Earning power, communication in relationships, intimacy and warmth in family relationships, ease in communication, emotional stability, sense of control over life events, perception of mental functioning, physical health, and group social participation.

We understand that there is a great possibility some of the employees in Utah suffer from hearing loss and we are offering to help in any way possible. Our office of professional staff is ready to provide a complimentary hearing exam to any of the public over the age of 18. Due to the nature of the testing process, we recommend that the hearing exam is performed in our sound treated office, or for a preliminary evaluation, individuals can take our free 5-min hearing test online at

It is also our pleasure to inform the public that through a new Utah State funded program, individuals whose job performance may be affected by hearing loss could qualify to have hearing aids provided at no charge. Working with the local government office we have already assisted in improving the quality of life for many individuals. We are confident that this has resulted in increased productivity and improved job performance for these individuals. These funds, however, are limited and we strongly recommend starting the process as soon as possible.

Please contact our office at your earliest convenience to set up a free hearing screening for your company. You may reach us, Monday-Friday, at our Salt Lake Office 801-485-5595 or Provo Office 801-373-5887.