Like any other part of your body following a medical procedure, you can’t begin to experience improvement without a little extra focus and some rehabilitation.
Hearing therapy, or rehabilitation, following your implant surgery is instrumental to hearing redevelopment and can possibly even bring back sounds you may have completely forgotten about. Hearing therapy approaches may vary from person to person depending on the severity and timing of your hearing loss. No matter what sound processor you have, hearing therapy is suggested and isn’t harmful to anyone. Hearing therapy can even be beneficial for those that have not yet received an implant yet, but are experiencing some hearing decline. With any type of therapy, it may take some time for your brain to relearn things it has forgotten. The sooner you can begin therapy following implant surgery, the shorter amount of time your rehabilitation may take.
Again, everyone progresses at their own pace, depending on age, overall health and current cognitive abilities and the therapy itself can range depending on where you are in your journey. At its most basic level, simply wearing your sound processor full time can be considered a form of therapy. Another goal for you might be how much time you use your sound processor in speech. Give yourself opportunities to gain exposure to more speech input with your sound processor.
Self-Practice With Your Sound Processor
Things like books on tape or speech tracking with a partner are often suggested as good ways to practice informally. For those who need a bit more support, some type of formal therapy program might be beneficial. This might be self-paced and done at home or it could be part of a guided practice where your Audiologist or Speech Pathologist provides practice materials and monitors your performance. The highest level of support might be a formal therapy-type program with an Auditory Verbal Therapist. While this type of rehabilitation is rarely needed for adults, it is the traditional approach for pediatrics.
Communication Corner is a guided therapy website for people of all ages. The Communication Corner therapy website is well-organized with programs for every age group. Simply select the age group that best describes you and your program will be tailored to you. Each therapy program description comes with a sample exercise, so you can ‘try it on for size’ to see how it fits. Completing the accompanying assessment tool provides guidance on where to start and how to best use the selected program. At the end of the program, you will get a recommendation on which program to begin next.
The majority of adults can truly practice on their own without any kind of formal program. Reading the newspaper aloud to yourself and listening to what you are saying, watching the TV with closed captions, and occasionally looking away to listen only, can be helpful. Audiobooks are very commonly recommended and today they are available on most smart phones, making them more accessible than ever before. For those with poorer speech perception, it can sometimes be helpful to start with a copy of the book as well – this will allow you to follow along visually and do some speech-tracking before you try listening alone.
Other helpful ideas include:
- Listening to podcasts, news or sports broadcasts.
- While watching a sporting event on TV, turn the sound down, and tune into the same sporting event on the radio. The radio broadcast usually has less background noise than the TV broadcast and it can be simpler to follow. But, having the TV ava27ilable allows for some visual support to help with listening.
- Utilize English as a Second Language materials – while these are designed for people who are learning to listen to the English Language, they can often be helpful materials to help individuals with hearing loss.
Cochlear is also proud to offer guided therapy resources for you.