Aural rehabilitation is a branch of speech-language therapy that provides coaching for those with acquired hearing loss to improve their communication with others. When individuals experience hearing loss, they are often recommended to use hearing instruments to improve their access to sound (see “Audiology” section for more details). As amazing as these devices are, they do not solve all communication challenges. Or, for some people, their hearing loss may be too mild to warrant hearing instruments at this time, but they are still experiencing communication challenges that interfere with their ability to function during daily activities; aural rehabilitation can benefit these individuals, as well.
Hearing loss is diagnosed by an audiologist. Testing to determine hearing sensitivity levels is completed in a sound-treated booth (see “audiology” section for more details). After a hearing loss is diagnosed, or after a communication challenge has been identified, a follow-up appointment is scheduled with a speech-language pathologist, which includes an extensive case history of communication challenges and additional testing.
Aural rehabilitation may include counseling (for the patients and their families), auditory training (e.g., listening activities, simulating difficult listening environments, etc.), promoting self-advocacy through education, and training for use of other communication strategies.