Improving communication through amplification, awareness, and assertiveness.
The term ‘hearing aid adjustment’ has two meanings: 1.) Changes made to a hearing aid through modifications and/or programming to ensure the best fit possible, and 2.) Psychological, physiological and psychosocial adjustments that may occur with hearing aid use. Hearing aid adjustment does not happen immediately once the hearing aid is placed in the ear; but, instead, it can take days or weeks. Clients deal with hearing new sounds that they may not have heard in a long time, the adjustment of wearing a hearing aid, maintenance of the hearing aid, and their own expectations and those of people around them.
The purpose of the aural rehabilitation classes was three-fold:
1.) Provide information about hearing aids and hearing aid use to clients over an extended period of time so they are not overwhelmed.
2.) Provide clients with access to hearing health-care specialists on a weekly basis during their initial adjustment period, if problems should arise.
3.) Provide clients with a peer-group situation where they could feel safe to voice any concerns, difficulties, or accomplishments with amplification use.
Clients are informed about the aural rehabilitation classes by their audiologists during the hearing aid fitting. They have the option of either attending the group aural rehabilitation course, or receiving telephone contacts.
Group Aural Rehabilitation Course
If a client decides to attend the classes, the audiologist will inform them of the class day and time, and provide them with an aural rehabilitation notebook. The notebook includes: an hearing aid brush, a wax loop, a battery tester, a dry-aid kit, a 4-pack of hearing aid batteries, a reminder of their class times, a copy of the "Fitting and Trial Agreement", information on privately purchased hearing aid insurance, and information about Callier's Assistive Devices Center. Clients are instructed to bring their notebooks to the classes, where they will receive handouts that may be placed in the appropriate sections of the notebooks. The audiologist then fills out a "client information" form that informs the class instructors of who the client is, when they will be attending, their amplification, amplification experience, and age.
Four classes were designed. Classes are one-hour and provided on Thursday. During the first week of the month, WEEK ONE material is presented. WEEK TWO material is presented during the second week of the month, and so on. Classes are repeated during the week. If a month has five weeks, during the fifth week clients will receive WEEK ONE material on Monday, WEEK TWO on Tuesday, WEEK THREE on Wednesday, and WEEK FOUR on Thursday. The classes were designed so that the weeks did not have to be taken in order. Clients could start their classes on any week and not feel left behind. Once clients have completed all four classes, they receive a $100 rebate.
All clients were strongly encouraged to bring spouses or friends to the meetings. A group aural rehabilitation approach was used, instead of one-on-one, in order to facilitate client involvement and provide them with a support structure of peers. They were also encouraged to share the information with their family and friends.
Some materials for the classes were obtained from various outside sources. In the accompanying power point presentation, you will observe that there are some references to pages not available. These pages were used by the authors' permission, and obtained from:
Wayner, D.S., & Abrahamson, J.D. (1996). Learning to hear again: An audiologic rehabilitation curriculum guide. Austin, Texas: Hear Again.
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In addition, helpful resource articles were provided during the classes. The references are below.
Baquis, D. (1998, July/August). Save money on assistive technology for your car. Hearing Loss, 22-23.
Ransom, P. (1997, July/August). Telecommunications update. Hearing Loss, 8-9.
In lieu of presenting scanned images of these pages, we have provided the title of the handout, the section, and page number where they can be located.
If the client chooses telephone contacts, they will still receive the notebook during the hearing aid fitting. However, instead of attending the classes, they will be contacted via telephone by a hearing healthcare specialist for the next four weeks. In addition, the weekly course material will be mailed to them over the next four weeks in order for the client to have enough time to review the material before the hearing healthcare specialist contacts them. The hearing healthcare specialist will go over the material with the client and troubleshoot any questions or difficulties the client may have.
Clients who chose the telephone contact option do not receive a refund. Individual consultation and mailing of material is less cost-effective than group aural rehabilitation classes.
You may download the PDF version of the AR Program here (16.8MB).
You may download the PPT version of the AR Program here (10.9MB).
A Word Document version of the text above may be downloaded here.