You got a cochlear implant and had it turned on. Now you need to learn how to listen and understand all of the new sounds coming from your implant. Research has shown that adults make faster progress in their understanding of speech and sounds using a treatment called Aural Rehabilitation (Aural Rehab).
What is Aural Rehab (also called Auditory Therapy)?
In Aural Rehab, you will learn how to listen and understand the new sounds that come from your cochlear implant. Aural Rehab can improve your skills when talking with others. Improving these skills may help you feel more secure with your implant.
Aural Rehab includes exercises that help you:
- Understand the difference between sounds and whole words
- Understand new sounds that have not been heard before
- Read along and follow someone else’s speech while they read aloud
- Notice when you or someone you are talking to does not understand what is said.
- Learn when to change your setting to improve your understanding. Learn how to set up the phone to work with your implant
- Enjoy music
- Learn how your implant affects the people around you, and help your family and friends learn about your implant
- Make your speech more clear. Learn and practice skills that will make you more comfortable when talking
UNC has a great staff of speech language pathologist (SLPs) that offer Aural Rehab to our patients with cochlear implants. The first step is to meet with the SLP for an evaluation. At this appointment, the SLP will check what skills you have and what skills you need help with by testing:
- How you make speech sounds
- How you understand speech
- Your memory
- Your reading and writing skills
- Your listening skills
- How well you can understand someone talking without being able to see their lips
We encourage all patients to make an Aural Rehab evaluation appointment with a speech language pathologist (SLP) to learn what this therapy can offer you. The UNC Ear & Hearing Center provides evaluations and therapy through our CASTLE program. Options include visiting their clinic for direct services or participating through our UNC REACH tele-therapy services. An appointment can be made by calling CASTLE at (919) 419-1449.
There are also some free resources available online which you can listen and practice with at home. Some of these programs include:
- Angel SoundTM is a free, upgraded version of “Sound and WAY Beyond”, an auditory rehabilitation program based on CAST technology and distributed by Cochlear Americas. Available at: http://angelsound.tigerspeech.com/
- The Listening Room sponsored by Advanced Bionics has free activities and resources to support the development of speech, language and listening. Available at: http://hearingjourney.com/Listening_Room/preview.cfm?langid=1
- SoundScape sponsored by MED-EL has interactive listening activities for various age groups. Available at: http://www.medel.com/us/show4/index/id/255/titel/SoundScape