Hard of hearing people often need extra help to adjust to life with a hearing loss. Aural rehabilitation helps provide this extra support. Aural rehabilitation teaches people about their hearing and hearing loss and about what they can do to manage situations where their hearing loss creates communication difficulties. Persons enrolled in an aural rehabilitation program learn speech reading and listening skills. They learn positive coping strategies to use in difficult listening situations, and they learn about hearing aids and other assistive listening devices. Depending on the degree of hearing impairment and when the hearing loss occurred, aural rehabilitation may also include speech and language therapy, voice maintenance, and/or auditory training. It may also involve the selection of an alternate communication system such as sign language.
Any person with a hearing loss can benefit from aural rehabilitation. No person is too young or too old. Practically all children with hearing loss require aural habilitation to ensure optimum speech and language development. Adults, who suffer hearing loss later in life, can also benefit by learning speechreading and coping strategies necessary for them to maintain their communication ability. Before entering into an aural rehabilitation program, the hard of hearing person should be assessed by an otolaryngologist and an audiologist. The otolaryngologist will diagnose the cause of the hearing loss, and recommend medical or surgical treatment if necessary. The audiologist will perform a number of tests to determine the amount and type of hearing loss. If the amount of hearing loss is affecting the person’s communication ability, a hearing aid may be recommended.