When someone with hearing loss is fit with an amplification device (such as a hearing aid), they may be able to pick up sounds they haven’t heard in years—or even for the first time in their lives. But in some cases, they may not know how to use the information they are hearing. This can make listening and communicating hard.
To help these people, we sometimes recommend auditory training – exercises to help strengthen the pathways in the brain that process and decode sound. Training can be done before or soon after a person gets an amplification device such as a hearing aid, cochlear implant, or bone-anchored device.
Auditory training programs can be as simple as repeating words in quiet or as complex as repeating sentences in background noise. Practicing listening skills can make everyday conversation easier for people with hearing loss and for their communication partners.
Research shows that auditory training yields the best results when it’s done regularly. Traditional programs usually involve one-on-one or group sessions with an audiologist or speech-language pathologist, but there are also a number of free programs and apps available for training at home or on the go. These include:
- Soundscape: This website offers games to help people with cochlear implants (CI) test and hone listening skills.
- Angel Sound: Created for CI and hearing aid users, Angel Sound is designed to let users track their progress over time through a website or smartphone app.
- Hear Coach: This free app lets users track their progress on listening games designed for auditory and cognitive training.
- AB CLIX: Available on iPad only, this app was created for adult hearing aid and CI users. It lets users listen to word differences in a quiet environment vs. a noisier one. Children’s apps are available as well.
- Read My Quips: Available as a free trial, this website was created for adult CI and hearing aid users and provides practice exercises with and without visual cues as well as noise training.
Other auditory training ideas include listening to audiobooks and having planned conversations with friends and family members in order to practice listening and speaking skills. If you are interested in learning more about auditory training programs, contact your audiologist or other hearing healthcare provider.
- Saunders, G. (2012, September 10). 20Q: Auditory Training - Does it Really Work? Gabrielle H. Saunders. Retrieved December 14, 2015, from //www.audiologyonline.com/articles/20q-auditory-training-does-it-7099
- Montano, J., & Spitzer, J. (2009). Auditory Training. In Adult audiologic rehabilitation. Plural Publishing, Incorporated.
- SoundScape | MED-EL. (n.d.). Retrieved December 14, 2015, from //www.medel.com/us/soundscape/
- Angel Sound - Interactive Listening Rehabilitation and Functional Hearing Test Program. (n.d.). Retrieved December 14, 2015, from //angelsound.tigerspeech.com/
- Hear Coach on the App Store. (n.d.). Retrieved December 14, 2015, from https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/hear-coach/id489515928?mt=8
- Support Apps. (n.d.). Retrieved December 14, 2015, from //www.advancedbionics.com/us/en/support/ab_apps.html
- Welcome to Sense Synergy. (n.d.). Retrieved December 14, 2015, from //www.sensesynergy.com/