Aural Habilitation: The Final Piece To The Puzzle

Aural Habilitation: The Final Piece To The Puzzle

Post by:Ellie Zuber

When a baby is identified as having a hearing loss, parents can find themselves in an overwhelming and often times unexpected conversation, working with their audiologist to identify what treatment plan is right for their child. The first step to treatment is often times selecting appropriate hearing technology, whether that be hearing aids and cochlear implants. The Joint Committee on Infant Hearing (JCIH) set the hearing loss early identification standards in 2007 stating that by 1 month old the baby should have a hearing screening, by 3 months old the child should be identified as having a hearing loss, and by 6 months old the child should be fit with hearing aids (if the family has chosen spoken language as their primary mode) in order for the child to have the best possible aural/oral communication outcomes (JCIH 2007).

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However, we know that when the treatment plan begins and ends with hearing aids we miss out on a key piece to the puzzle: aural habilitation. Aural habilitation refers to therapy that helps children and adults who use hearing aids or cochlear implants to develop better listening and communication skills to improve their overall listening and spoken language. Aural habilitation will include things such as: teaching listening strategies, teaching children how to communicate, and how to maintain and care for their hearing aids. This is traditionally done by a speech language pathologist or an audiologist with special certification and training in aural rehabilitation.

While using hearing aids or cochlear implants is typically the first piece of the puzzle, aural habilitation is often times just as crucial for a child to develop listening and spoken language skills.

Anna Bogdon