According to MarkeTrak only 2% of new hearing aid users report they received auditory retraining software programs like LACE as part of their comprehensive auditory rehabilitation program. In our newest aural education article for consumers Dr. Robert W. Sweetow, Professor of Otolaryngology, University of California, San Francisco has created a patient counseling article which helps the consumer understand why training the brain to listen is so important in optimizing the hearing aid experience.
In this article we also link the consumer to previous BHI aural education articles: realistic expectations (Kochkin), clear speech (Kricos), communication strategies (Kricos), tips for hearing in noise (Kricos), the value of self help groups (Battat) and assistive technology (Compton-Connelly).
The great news to the consumer is that they can minimize their listening skills from deteriorating and improve their ability to function in noisy situations. Using programs like LACE, research with thousands of consumers has shown that the person with typical hearing loss on average can experience a 4.7 dB s/n improvement in noisy situations (if they complete all 20 LACE exercises) which translates into more than a 40% improvement in speech understanding in noise. The article describes for the consumer LACE software, how it works, how to get it, equipment needed, as well as its cost. This article stresses to the consumer the following:
- The mere use of hearing aids will not produce optimal improvement in hearing unless accompanied by training.
- The process of better hearing requires the patient to become an active participant.
- Modern computer technology now allows people with hearing loss to train their brain to listen and focus thus optimizing the use of hearing aids.
- Using the listening skills acquired through self-pace computer training, along with the employment of communication strategies for people with hearing loss, and the advanced features of hearing aids such as directional microphones, telecoils or wireless technology consumers will be well on their way to improving their ability to communicate more effectively in the world of sound.
Hearing health professionals are encouraged to share this new BHI article with their patients. In addition, we urge all hearing health professionals to introduce LACE software to their patients as well as our other counseling articles highlighted in the article. We are confident that increasing the use of adjunct counseling and rehabilitative tools will have a positive impact on consumer acceptance of hearing aids, return rates, consumer benefit, satisfaction and utility with hearing aids, keeping those hearing aids out of the drawer.