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Auditory Training and Challenges Associated with Participation and Compliance
06 August 2020 (online)
Background: When individuals have hearing loss, physiological changes in their brain interact with relearning of sound patterns. Some individuals utilize compensatory strategies that may result in successful hearing aid use. Others, however, are not so fortunate. Modern hearing aids can provide audibility but may not rectify spectral and temporal resolution, susceptibility to noise interference, or degradation of cognitive skills, such as declining auditory memory and slower speed of processing associated with aging. Frequently, these deficits are not identified during a typical “hearing aid evaluation.” Aural rehabilitation has long been advocated to enhance communication but has not been considered time or cost-effective. Home-based, interactive adaptive computer therapy programs are available that are designed to engage the adult hearing-impaired listener in the hearing aid fitting process, provide listening strategies, build confidence, and address cognitive changes. Despite the availability of these programs, many patients and professionals are reluctant to engage in and complete therapy.
Purpose: The purposes of this article are to discuss the need for identifying auditory and nonauditory factors that may adversely affect the overall audiological rehabilitation process, to discuss important features that should be incorporated into training, and to examine reasons for the lack of compliance with therapeutic options. Possible solutions to maximizing compliance are explored.
Conclusions: Only a small portion of audiologists (fewer than 10%) offer auditory training to patients with hearing impairment, even though auditory training appears to lower the rate of hearing aid returns for credit. Patients to whom auditory training programs are recommended often do not complete the training, however. Compliance for a cohort of home-based auditory therapy trainees was less than 30%. Activities to increase patient compliance to auditory training protocols are proposed.