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Suffering from hearing loss can be an isolating experience because losing the ability to hear can effectively cut a person off from their surrounding world. However, a process known as aural rehabilitation helps people manage hearing loss to preserves the person’s ability to keep living a high quality of life.

Read on to learn more about aural rehabilitation, how it works and how to determine goals for hearing loss treatment.

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 the type of hearing loss, provides treatment for hearing loss and sets patients up with the right type of hearing device. Aural rehabilitation is an important component in treating hearing loss and hearing disorders, and it is a main focus of the experts at Sonora Hearing Care Tucson.

How Does Aural Rehabilitation Work?

The audiologists at Sonora Hearing Care Tucson use a multistep process to treat hearing loss and hearing disorders. The process starts with identifying the presence and severity of hearing loss, which is accomplished using a variety of hearing tests.

Hearing loss assessments help determine goals for aural rehabilitation, and they include the following:

  • 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 they hears a sound. Pure tone audiometry measures the severity of hearing loss present, and, when used with headphones, it can determine the degree of 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.

After determining the degree of hearing loss, experts must then identify a patient’s type of hearing loss. The three types of hearing loss include the following:

  • Sensorineural hearing loss: The most common type of hearing loss, sensorineural hearing loss is an inner ear problem. It represents a problem with either the tiny hair cells that turn sound into electrical impulses or with the nerves that transmit these impulses to the brain.
  • Conductive hearing loss: This type of hearing loss occurs when the passage of sound waves from the outer to the inner ear is blocked—such as by something in the outer ear canal, like excessive ear wax.
  • Mixed hearing loss: Elements of both sensorineural and conductive hearing loss are present in mixed hearing loss.

Determining Goals for Aural Rehabilitation

The primary goal of aural rehabilitation is treating hearing loss. However, patients should understand that hearing loss is often irreversible. This means that aural rehabilitation goals often encompass methods to slow or stop the progression of hearing loss, or to mitigate its symptoms.

A large number of hearing amplification devices are available to help reduce the detriment to daily life that is imposed by hearing loss. Hearing aids are the most common method used in aural rehabilitation. 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. An audiologist can personally customize hearing aids for maximum utility to patients.

When hearing loss is severe or complete, patients may need a cochlear implant. 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.

Beyond hearing aids or cochlear implants, during aural rehabilitation, audiologists also help their patients determine goals to preserve their existing hearing.

Finding an Aural Rehabilitation Expert

Patients who are concerned about hearing loss should consider pursuing aural rehabilitation with the specialists at Sonora Hearing Care. To schedule a consultation, contact Sonora Hearing Care today.