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Prevea Health

Aural rehabilitation after cochlear implantation


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Aural rehabilitation is a type of therapy audiologists use to help people improve their quality of life as a result of hearing loss. It is often used to help people who use a listening device such as a traditional hearing aid, cochlear implant or bone anchored hearing aid.

Aural rehabilitation is no different than physical therapy after medical procedures such as a hip or knee replacement. Hearing rehabilitation will help your brain relearn some of what it has been missing and help you get the most out of your cochlear implant or hearing device. The type of rehabilitation needed will vary based on the severity and duration of your hearing loss.

The goal of aural rehabilitation is to help you and those around you learn to become more effective communicators. This involves learning how to:
  • Assess a situation and select the best listening environment for the hearing-impaired person.
  • Effectively use assistive listening devices.
  • Identify strategies to ask speakers to modify their speech rate, or other factors to improve communication.
  • Select venues that have better acoustics.
  • Make decisions to leave poor listening environments that make it difficult to communicate.

Aural rehabilitation also involves listening practice. This is a critical step in rehabilitation following cochlear implantation. Listening practice starts a few days following activation of the sound processor. Each person differs in how much they hear initially. Some people only hear noise at first. You will be given exercises to complete at home such as identifying common speech sounds. As you progress, the exercises will become more challenging. There are many types of aural rehabilitation activities such as smart phone apps, internet-based activities, CDs, books and activities that are done face-to-face with a communication partner. By the end of rehabilitation, the exercises will be done in background noise to make the environment more like the challenging listening environments we find ourselves in every day.

It’s important to remember it will take time before you hear the full range of speech and environmental sounds. The length of your rehabilitation program will depend on how long your hearing was impaired, whether you used a hearing aid in the implanted ear, and the environments you encounter in your daily routine. Most people find that a few months of structured listening practice helps them to get the most out of their new hearing device. With some practice and persistence, listening will become an enjoyable task once again.

If you have questions about aural rehabilitation or think you could benefit from this type of therapy, contact a Prevea Audiologist.

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