Online Intervention For Hearing Loss

Online Intervention For Hearing Loss

Online Intervention For Hearing Loss

Hearing impairment or hearing loss refers to difficulty listening to conversational speech or loud sounds. This impairment can range from minimal to profound. Similarly, these factors vary from genetic to hearing loss due to old age. Hearing loss is caused by problems in the outer ear, middle ear, and inner ear.

In the same vein, living with hearing loss can be difficult but there are numerous solutions to this problem. Learning about the causes, type, severity, treatments, and prevention of hearing loss can be easier to understand how it impacts you and your loved ones.

Hearing impairment

Symptoms of hearing loss

  1. Difficulty in having a conversation
  2. Having to increase the volume of the television or the radio
  3. Unable to hear someone in a crowded area
  4. Unable to bear loud sounds
  5. Sense of exhaustion after trying to listen to people all-day
  6. Occasional ringing sensation in the ear / Tinnitus

During the first 45 days after a child is born, the hospital conducts hearing screening for a potential hearing loss. If the screening test results indicate “refer”, a comprehensive hearing testing can confirm the presence of the hearing loss. After which, we can gather more information regarding the type, degree and treatment options. Pediatric audiologists diagnose children with hearing impairment, they dedicate themselves to the special needs of babies and children with hearing impairment.

Congenital factors, medication, or deformities are some of the causes of hearing impairment in children. This can help the audiologist plan a treatment program. Additionally, identification and treatment programs prior to 6 months can improve outcomes tremendously.

If you notice the following behaviours immediately refer to a pediatric audiologist/paediatrician/ speech therapist.

– No response to name-calling

– Startle reflex to loud sounds is absent

– Do not search for the location of the sound

– Poor spoken language

– Poor educational success

IDENTIFICATION OF HEARING LOSS

Understanding the features of hearing loss is an essential first step. After you identify it, you can take your child or your loved one to an audiologist. They will be able to determine the type, degree, and severity of your hearing loss and also provide possible solutions like hearing aids, cochlear implants and auditory training. Hearing loss in school-aged children could be because of medications, infections, genetic conditions or exposure to loud noise. In that case, one must take your child to an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Specialist who will refer you to a pediatric audiologist. Hearing care professionals test, identify, and treat hearing loss in children.

UNDERSTANDING HEARING AIDS

In this paragraph, we are going to talk about hearing aids. They are small instruments that pick up sound from the environment and amplify it, after which we can hear better. It has the technology to reduce unwanted sounds and filter the speech sounds required for conversation. Some high-tech models can connect to televisions and smartphones, and computers to make your listening experience adaptable. However, hearing aids for children are different from those that are made for adults. Paediatric hearing aids are tamper-resistant. They have an LED light that indicates if it is working or not, they come with “hookies” that prevents the aid from falling off, and they come in different attractive bright colours.

Some children benefit from a hearing aid, but they may hear much better through a cochlear implant. Audiologists may determine if your child is a candidate for a cochlear implant or hearing aids based on the outer ear’s severity and structural integrity.

AUDITORY TRAINING VS AUDITORY-VERBAL THERAPY

A child will be able to perceive sounds after they are fitted with hearing aids and cochlear implants. Speech and language therapists ensure that children reach speech, language, and auditory milestones.

Two types of training can be provided to children with hearing loss.

Read here about Hearing Aid Maintanence Tips

Auditory verbal therapy
  • It is a family-centred training program that equips the parents and the caregivers to help the child attain age adequate speech and language skills. The ability of a child to identify sounds and use spoken language improves by using play-based therapy techniques. In addition, parents play an integral part in this process since they are trained on how to troubleshoot the aid and teach the child how to make the best possible use of the amplification device (Hearing aids or cochlear implants). The difference between auditory verbal therapy and traditional speech and language therapy is that the child maximizes his listening potential without the help of visual cues.
Auditory training
  • Auditory training helps individuals process information better. The brain and the ears are a team. It enables the brain to improve its auditory processing capabilities. With guided practice, the program can improve listening accuracy and memory. In conclusion, a child’s processing ability can improve by auditory and visual stimulation.It targets whole words and sentences rather than single sounds.
Speech and Language Stimulation-
  • Development of speech and language skills and aural rehabilitation go hand-in-hand. Children with hearing loss have to reach the language level of their normal-hearing peer group. Vocabulary, spoken language ability, syntax (grammar) is developed by Intensive language stimulation
The best part about both the therapy programs are
  • it can be performed in the comfort of your home
  • parents/ caregivers can be easily trained
  • Soundtracks for different hearing experiences can be sent to the client for practice
  • Live practice can be done with the help of the parent and guided by an SLP/ Audiologist
  • Plenty of online resources are available for practice
  • Personalized programs are made based on what difficulties the client’s faces

AURAL REHABILITATION ACTIVITIES

Auditory detection

Detection is the ability to respond to the presence or absence of sound. It is the essential first step in learning to listen. Conditioned play response requires the child to perform an action upon hearing a sound. (Example: placing a block in a bucket, stacking rings on a pole, or putting a plastic animal in a bucket of water). The ultimate goal is the child’s spontaneous use of audition throughout the day.

Auditory discrimination

 Discrimination is the ability to perceive similarities and differences between two or more speech stimuli. Using same-different tasks in discrimination activities. (Example: dog vs dogs, “Do they sound the same or different?”) The child learns to respond differently to different sounds.

Auditory Identification: 

Identification is the ability to label by repeating, pointing to or writing the speech stimulus heard. Identification involves the suprasegmentals & segmentals of speech.

Suprasegmentals: duration, loudness, pitch, rhythm, stress, or intonation.

Segmentals: vowels and consonants in speech. Segmentals include initial sounds, words varying in several syllables, one-syllable words that differ in vowels and consonants, and stereotypical messages such as familiar expressions or directions.

Auditory Comprehension:

 Comprehension is the ability to understand the meaning of speech by answering questions, following directions, paraphrasing, or participating in a conversation.

Comprehension requires auditory memory and follows an auditory sequence:

  • Familiar expressions and common phrases
  • Following single directions and two directions
  • Following classroom instructions
  • Sequencing three directions
  • Comprehension of multi-element directions
  • Sequencing three events in a story
  • Answering questions about a story: closed set and open sets
  • Listening in noise
  • Description of environmental sounds
Auditory working memory:

Short term memory can help us process the meaning of words and its linguistic content.

Auditory processing speed:

Ability to recognize speech quickly and it is required to follow conversational speech.

Auditory attention:

To be able to extract meaningful speech from background noise. For eg, listening to someone in a noisy restaurant

There are a lot of computer-based programs with pre-recorded auditory discrimination, detection and memory tasks which persons with hearing impairment can use for practice at home. Children use gadgets for learning and gaming.There are several apps that teach phonetics, learning and vocabulary.

If your child is using a cochlear implant, ‘Cochlear’ provides a 36-week auditory-verbal therapy program to help the child make the best possible use of the sounds he hears on a daily basis.

Here are some of the other programs:

  • CASPERSent
  • LiSN & Learn Auditory Training Software
  • Seeing and Hearing Speech
  • Sound and Way Beyond

In conclusion, living with hearing loss can be difficult. But trained speech language pathologists and audiologists can teach you strategies on how to hear better, which will in turn make your life easier.

Read here about Intervention for adult

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