Communicative Development

dessertCommitment to improved communication is an ongoing process that can be quite fulfilling and rewarding.  Successful Communicative Development will typically involve the proper utilization of several key elements in order to achieve optimal benefits.  Amplification, specialized hearing care and communication skills can create a powerful approach to attaining one's ultimate goals.

Amplification

If you have hearing loss, Amplification (hearing instruments) might be necessary for improved communication.  Modern hearing technology is far more advanced and efficient than ever before, allowing the user to increase volume and enhance clarity of speech, with less noise interference, feedback and distortion.  Also, telephone reception has been significantly improved.  Most hearing instruments are so small and lightweight, people often forget they are wearing them.

There are a number of choices of hearing instruments to fit one's lifestyle and personal preferences.  Custom-fit devices are available in all sizes including the nearly invisible IIC (Invisible-in-the-Canal).  Some hearing aids are rechargeable, waterproof, wireless, remote-controlled, Bluetooth compatible and fully automatic.  And some offer Tinnitus therapy signals to provide relief from ringing or other noises in the ears.  These impressive systems are designed to integrate seemlessly into one's daily activities.

Specialized Hearing Care

In the ever-advancing world of technology, hearing care is becoming increasingly more complex but also increasingly more beneficial to the user.  Specialized Hearing Care consists of six important steps, which when properly applied, can lead to more successful communication, increased self-confidence and improved quality of life.  These include patient history, hearing evaluation/testing, consultation/selection, fitting/programming, verification and follow-up care.

Today's hearing systems are designed to coordinate with an individual's lifestyle needs.  Therefore, in the consultation phase of care, we try to determine the best match of technology to those needs and expectations.  In the fitting/programming and verification phases, there are several tests at our disposal to help optimize sound quality and performance of the selected product.  Most of these tests require the hearing instruments to be attached to the computer and in the patient's ears.  Critical gain measurements, speech mapping and Real Ear Measurement are just a few of the tools we use to achieve the most natural hearing possible.  Multi-media Surround Sound applications assist in tuning to real-life environments, and hearing loss simulators allow a spouse or loved one to 'experience' hearing loss firsthand.

We would love to be able to say that with all this technology we could replace normal hearing, but we cannot.  There are still many other factors involved that can help or hinder one's ultimate success in communication.  The follow-up phase is perhaps the single most important, and it is ongoing.  This stage involves further counsel and occassional programming, testing and verification to ensure the best results for the long term.  Also, education should be the cornerstone of this stage of care.  Aural rehabilitation programs, communication skills training and the delivery of updated information to the patient can help to maximize one's communicative development.  If it has been a year or more since your last hearing evaluation or programming session, please schedule some time to improve your quality of life through specialized hearing care.

Communication Skills

A few essential tips can help ensure more effective communication.  Make certain you have someone's attention before speaking to them, and do not try to talk over the television or radio.  Also, avoid talking too fast.  Line of Sight, or seeing the person who is speaking, is very important.  Proper Lighting allows one to utilize visual cues from the speaker's face.  The Acoustics of a room can often be detrimental to speech understanding; so if you can, choose a smaller room with carpet and lower ceiling.  Reduce as much Background Noise as possible.  When dining out, choose a seat that is away from the center of the restaurant and sit with your back toward the noise if possible.  When attending church or meetings, sit closer to the front.  Other forms of communication such as Speech Reading (lip reading) and Sign Language can be particularly useful, especially if a person has a severe to profound hearing loss.  Text and Vibro-Tactile communication are sometimes necessary.