Aural rehabilitation is designed to assist the client in adjusting and accepting a hearing loss as well as develop compensatory communication strategies for real life scenarios. Audiologists are well studied in the area of hearing loss and its affects. However, each case can vary drastically according to the issues impacting their lives and their individual attitudes toward the hearing loss.
As a professional, you cannot make assumptions as to which environments give someone the most difficulty. For example, assuming that meetings are a problem area for “Jack” would not be helpful. We have not given him the opportunity to express where his hearing loss has the most profound effect. We must work with the client and interview him/her in order to pinpoint which scenarios we must focus on. Rather, if we ask Jack to bring 3 descriptive situations to therapy, we are actively involving the client; this is more effective. We want to keep the individual active in the therapy process because we want him/her to actually use the techniques and ideas established. By simply handing the client a list, he/she might feel detached from his own life, as if he cannot take charge of the issue.
We want the techniques and ideas to be approved by the patient so that he will use them and they are practical and relevant to his lifestyle. By sitting down with Jack and discussing the problems in minute detail, we dissect the real problem instead of making suppositions. For example, Jack tells you he cannot hear his family during Sunday dinner. If we merely give Jack tips such as, face the person talking, or ask the family to speak one at a time we may not be helping the actual issue at hand. By dissecting the issue we might find out that Jack doesn’t think his hearing is the problem. Jack might actually blame his family’s inabilities and reveal that he often segregates himself. Because we broke down the problem we now have different issues to approach first, mainly acceptance. If we had only used the first scenario, we wouldn’t have addressed the real problem and Jack would never use our advice.
Last, by using the counseling “dissecting” method, Jack can choose techniques he is comfortable with doing. If we simply tell Jack what to do, we have not determined whether or not he wants to approach a situation in that manner. For example, If Jack’s hearing loss is affecting his work, we might tell Jack to address his issue in the next meeting. However, some people are not comfortable sharing their personal problems. If Jack wasn’t comfortable, he would not use our strategies. By gauging Jack’s comfort level we may develop a more appropriate way to address his hearing loss at work. Again, this is why the therapy approach is much more effective. Therapy also allows Jack to get his family or friends active in his rehabilitation rather than sending a list home to them.