The following aural rehabilitation exercises will allow you to increase brain stimulation and improve your speech discrimination. At Krista Szalc, Audiology, PLLC, we recommend you use these exercises in conjunction with your hearing aid device(s), and you should start to notice an improvement in your listening skills.
1. Readout loud 15 – 20 minutes a day
This is one of the easiest and most effective ways to increase your speech understanding. Why? Because reading out loud allows you to simultaneously say, hear and see the words you are reading. This process remaps sounds on the brain faster than simply hearing the same words.
Your audience and reading material can vary, so have fun with it! Readout loud to yourself, your pet, grandchildren or others. Try to follow a daily reading plan. For example, choose a magazine article, newspaper or even a book for pleasure reading. The important thing is to commit to making this a part of every day.
2. Practice in a noisy environment
After your first six weeks of reading out loud, you may want to add an additional challenge. Turn your stereo or television on at a low volume. Continue to read out loud, focusing on what you say, hear and see. This will simulate conversations in more challenging environments. Continue to practice with this soft background noise for an additional six weeks. This should improve your overall speech and understanding in environments with slight background noises.
3. Converse in an active listening position, being focused and proactive
At this point you have practiced diligently for 12 weeks. You may have noticed an improvement in your ability to understand speech both in quiet and slightly noisy environments. Now you are ready to practice focused conversations with friends and family. For this aural rehabilitation exercise, you must be in the same room as your conversation partner. Sit facing each other approximately 5 feet apart. Become aware of sounds that could become a distraction and try to tune those sounds out. Focus on the conversation. If you are having trouble understanding the other person, be proactive. Honestly share what you need from them. For example, let them know it would be helpful for you if they spoke just a bit slower or let you know when they are changing subjects. The important points of this experience are to be in a good listening position, focus on the conversation and be proactive.
We hope you will make these aural rehabilitation exercises a permanent part of your hearing health routine in conjunction with the use of your hearing devices. General research indicates that most individuals peek in their discrimination abilities around four months of daily rehabilitation exercises. So don’t stop, just take it a day at a time! If you would like to speak with an experienced hearing care professional, contact us at 585-335-5724 or make an appointment online.