When I first bought my audiology practice in 2007 the traditional model of a hearing clinic was primarily focused on treating hearing loss with hearing aids. This approach certainly helps and is enough for some, but for others, more thorough care is needed to optimize quality of life with hearing loss. As we have learned more about hearing as a cognitive process, I have adopted a more holistic approach to meet the needs of my patients.
Our goal at Hearing Health Clinic is to ensure people can communicate effectively in all settings. Accomplishing this task often requires more than just hearing aids, particularly for people with moderate to severe hearing loss or older individuals. Hearing aids do not “cure” hearing loss, despite advances in technology.
Treating hearing loss is a rehabilitative process that includes appropriate diagnostics, proper amplification, rehabilitative counseling and training. Despite research supporting it’s effectiveness, a rehabilitative approach is rarely offered. Less than 20% of new hearing aid wearers receive any form of auditory rehabilitation beyond hearing aids. It’s no wonder that 40% of hearing aids are underutilized or not worn at all if the most common approach is to sell hearing aids without rehabilitation.
Our approach at Hearing Health Clinic is rehabilitative. It starts with a communication needs assessment where we determine if the communication difficulties are due to peripheral hearing loss (damage to the ears) and/or central hearing loss (changes in the brain due to hearing loss, age, or brain injury). From this assessment we develop a rehabilitation plan for each patient, that may include hearing aids, assistive listening devices, computerized auditory training (formal listening activities designed to optimize speech processing), counseling, group classes and long-term follow up care.
Hearing aids help you hear better, but rehabilitation is the key to living well with hearing loss. Don’t let hearing loss leave you out. Schedule your communication needs assessment by calling 763-657-0675. If you are currently a patient of Hearing Health Clinic and you are having communication difficulties schedule a follow up or attend one of our LiveWell with Hearing Loss classes the 3rd Thursday of the month at 3:30 pm.