Rehabilitation of hearing impaired


The primary emphasis in rehabilitating the hearing impaired has involved fitting a hearing aid. There are patients however, who can be helped by communication aids in addition to, or in place of hearing aids. Communication aids include any device, other than a conventional hearing aid, which assists the hearing impaired in maintaining contact with the normally hearing. In Scandinavian countries a sophisticated system for rehabilitating the hearing impaired has evolved and communication aids are recommended extensively. Similar aids exist in North America, but clinicians have not yet developed a full awareness of how these devices can benefit their patients. This paper represents the results of a two-year survey undertaken to identify and evaluate various devices available in Toronto. The contribution these aids can offer in rehabilitating patients is discussed.

Mission statement

The Aural Rehabilitation and Its Instrumentation Special Interest Division is an integral part of the ASHA dedicated to creating and maintaining a forum allowing clinicians and researchers to affiliate formally with one another to focus on:

1. The study, development, and application of amplification systems and communication devices.
2. Techniques for amelioration of expressive and receptive communication problems in children and adults with hearing impairments.
3. Technology for habilitation of deafened children and adults, such as cochlear implants and vibrotactile aids.

The underlying purposes of this division are to foster an exchange of information among its affiliates sharing the common interest of aural rehabilitative methodologies and to disseminate this information to other professionals as well as consumers of audio logical services.

Conclusion

Hearing aids have been helpful for many hearing impaired people, but most hearing impaired people do not buy a hearing aid and some who buy an aid do not use it. Factors that interfere with increased use of hearing aids include problems in the design or function of the aid; problems in selecting an appropriate aid for the individual; inability of the individual to adjust to the aid; and disagreement among hearing specialists about who can benefit from a hearing aid. The frequency with which each of these problems occurs is not known. Developing solutions for them is a potential area for cooperative research by the hearing aid industry and hearing specialists.

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