Rehabilitation is learning to live and hear with your hearing implants.
If you have a post-lingual hearing loss, the rehabilitation period will last several months. For some, it may also take longer. Learning to live with a hearing implant is like re-learning how to hear. Your brain has memories of what some sounds sound like. Now, the hearing must be connected to that memory. Rehabilitation is a very important step in improving your listening and communication skills. The outcomes also depend on how long you were not able to hear. In general, the shorter the time you could not hear, the better the outcomes.
Children with a severe or profound pre-lingual hearing loss will have to learn to hear almost from the beginning. When a hearing loss occurred later in life, people will learn to hear with their cochlear implant faster.
It is important that your sound processor/audio processor is activated. You should therefore be wearing it whenever you are awake. If you are not wearing your sound processor/audio processor, rehabilitation will not be effective.
In the rehabilitation process, you will meet and work closely with a series of different professionals, such as audiologists and speech and language pathologists/therapists.
At first, your rehabilitation will be together with your family, friends and colleagues, as they are the ones who are closest to you and those you spend most of your time with.
It is often also very helpful to talk with other people who use hearing implants.
What does rehabilitation consist of?
The rehabilitation activities will differ between pre- and post-lingually deafened persons. They might focus on the following areas:
- Auditory development – developing listening skills
- Speech development in children– learning how to speak
- Language development in children – building vocabulary and making words and sentences
- Communication management – learning how to communicate and participate in conversations in different situations
- Practical and technical guidance – knowledge about the hearing implant and how to manage the implant
- Compensation strategies – you may still have to rely on compensatory strategies in certain situations
What to expect?
For some hearing implant users, it may take a short time to develop listening, speaking and communication skills. For others, it may take several months or years. The results very much depend on your commitment, efforts, patience and motivation.
The results may vary depending on:
- The cause of the hearing loss
- The duration of the hearing loss
- The personal consequences for the individual of the hearing loss
- Whether the hearing loss is pre- or post-lingual
But in general, hearing implant users will experience:
- Better understanding of speech
- Better ability to participate in conversations
- The ability to participate in social gatherings may also improve
- Better ability to use a phone
- Better ability to watch TV