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Hearing aids are not a cure all for hearing loss

Adam Shulberg RHAD FSHAA, Senior Audiologist, Cubex

Adam Shulberg RHAD FSHAA, Senior Audiologist, Cubex

Hearing aids are an important way of managing hearing loss, but by themselves they are often not enough. In this article, Adam Shulberg, Senior Audiologist at Cubex, discusses the importance of auditory rehabilitation and understanding the psychological impact that a hearing loss could have on an individual.

Why you need more than a hearing aid to solve hearing impairment

There is a common misconception that hearing aids are the “cure all” for hearing loss. In reality, improving communication involves a long term rehabilitative approach in which hearing aids play a part. Even with the most sophisticated instruments, there are still situations where hearing related difficulties occur.

Today, hearing instrumentation is extremelysophisticated and provides significant benefit for almost all types of hearing loss in most listening situations.

However, solving hearing impairment requires a scientifically sound battery of tests and a complete rehabilitation programme based on the in-depth understanding of the auditory system and the fact that  hearing loss significantly affects the individual’s ability to communicate.

Understanding how speech information is processed is important

Improving the quality life by finding the best hearing solutions, always using the latest technology, is important. Communicationis what most people are concerned with and speech, listening and understanding is fundamental to this. To understand how a person processes speech information, they should be tested for speech recognition and discrimination. Measuring speech recognition at different presentation levels can provide considerable insight into communication performance.

Fitting a hearing device gives access to the world of sound but how this is processed will determine listening success.  This along with the patient’s acceptance of reduced hearing and a willingness to undergo a process of rehabilitation is essential when creating an appropriate programme. Without this, the full potential of modern hearing instrument technology may never be realised.

Listening And Communication Enhancement (LACE) training increases communication and listening skills 

Listening And Communication Enhancement (LACE) training is a cost effective, home-based, interactive computer program designed to improve adult hearing impaired listening in the hearing aid fitting process, provides listening strategies, builds confidence, and addresses cognitive changes.

LACE is clinically proven to increase communication and listening skills by up to 45%.

Adele Nicod, a student, explains how LACE helped her:“I attend lectures and used to panic when the lecturer turned away from the microphone.  I used to say to myself ‘I’m not going to hear anything now.’  After LACE, I have learned to stop this and to keep focusing on what the lecturer is saying. I’m now much more attentive and my confidence has improved… I know I am hearing more than I was before the training.”

Using IDA’s motivational model to achieve more positive results

The IDA Insitute is a non-profit education organisation, whose mission is to foster a better understanding of the human dynamics associated with hearing loss. Its motivational model  encourages patients to change their lifestyle for a more positive outcome. Before people with hearing loss seek professional help, they (or their partners) must first reach a sufficient critical level of awareness about the social and personal communication problems in their everyday lives. A patient who is highly motivated to seek improvement is likely to persevere and is more likely to derive maximum benefit. In contrast, patients who have little motivation to change are unlikely to achieve the same outcome.  

Following a Tinnitus Management Programme

A Tinnitus Management Programme using a range of management options can be tailored to equip patients with the knowledge, information, technology and skills to manage the impact of tinnitus on their overall quality of life. This may include the use of Sound therapy, Counselling based on Tinnitus Retraining Therapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy principles, and Relaxation techniques.

For more information on Cubex services, please visit www.cubex.co.uk  

Adam Shulberg

Profile of the author

Adam Shulberg studied at the Royal National Throat Nose and Ear Hospital, Gray’s Inn Road and in 1980, qualifying as the youngest hearing aid audiologist in the UK. By 1984 he was actively involved in the running of a hearing aid audiology clinic in Madrid with 'satellites' in Northern and Southern Spain, whilst also establishing himself in the UK practice. 

Adam became Managing Director of Cubex in 1995 when the London based operation moved to its new high-tech premises in New Cavendish Street and where he still offers independent consultancy, advice and assistance. 

Adam is a member of the British Society of Hearing Aid Audiologists, American Academy of Audiology,  a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine and is also a member of the Ida Institute.  He initiated an Audiology clinic in Nepal and is responsible for facilitating, training and supervising seven Community Ear workers and over 700 volunteers.

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