What Is Aural Rehabilitation?
Aural rehabilitation—also known as audiologic rehabilitation or auditory rehabilitation and hearing rehabilitation—is a process that identifies hearing loss in a patient, determines what type of hearing loss the patient is experiencing, provides treatment for hearing loss and sets up a patient with the right type of hearing device. It is an important component in treating hearing loss and encompasses much of how we treat patients here at Sonora Hearing Care Tucson.
How Does Aural Rehabilitation Work?
At Sonora Hearing Care Tucson, we use a multi-step process to treat hearing loss. It starts with identifying the presence and severity of hearing loss. To do that, we use a variety of hearing tests. These can include:
Pure tone audiometry: Often considered the gold standard of hearing tests, this test is the most accurate and most comprehensive type of hearing exam. Pure tone audiometry uses a device called an audiometer, which emits a series of pitches. The patient responds when he or she hears a sound. It measures the severity of hearing loss and, if used with headphones, the amount of hearing loss in each ear.
Middle ear tests: These tests check if hearing loss is being caused by a sound transmission problem between the outer ear and the inner ear. There are different types—some detect damage to the eardrum, while others measure the reflexes of tiny muscles in the ear.
The next step is to figure out what type of hearing loss the patient has. There are three types of hearing loss:
Sensorineural hearing loss: The most common type of hearing loss, sensorineural hearing loss is an inner ear problem, either with the tiny hair cells that turn sound into electrical impulses or with the nerve that transmits those impulses to the brain.
Conductive hearing loss: This type of hearing loss means the passage of sound waves from the outer to the inner ear is blocked.
Mixed hearing loss: Elements of both sensorineural and conductive hearing loss are present in mixed hearing loss.
Aural Rehabilitation and Hearing Loss Treatment
The goal of aural rehabilitation is treatment of hearing loss. Hearing loss is often irreversible, so treatment is usually about slowing or stopping its progression and mitigating its symptoms and detriment to day-to-day life.
To that end, a large number of hearing amplification devices are available. Hearing aids are the most common. They are helpful in treating sensorineural hearing loss, and they work by amplifying the sound waves that are sent to the hair cells for conversion into electrical impulses. Hearing aids can be custom programmed by an audiologist for maximum utility to patients.
People who have severe or complete hearing loss may need a cochlear implant instead. Instead of amplifying sound, cochlear implants work directly on the auditory nerve, which carries the electrical signals created by the hair cells to the brain for processing. This allows sound to bypass damaged structures in the middle and inner ear.
Finally, there is an element of hearing preservation involved in aural rehabilitation. Check out these tips for preventing hearing loss.
Come to the Experts
If you’re concerned about hearing loss, call Sonora Hearing Care. We have been in operation since 1989 and have multiple doctors of audiology available to see patients. At Sonora Hearing Care, we take our time to figure out your hearing aid’s problem and provide the best, longest-lasting solution. Contact us today.