Speech Therapy and Hearing Rehabilitation
Speech Therapy and Hearing Rehabilitation, usually referred to as aural rehab or A.R., bounds a wide set of practices targeting at optimizing a person’s ability to participate or join in any activities that have been limited as a result of hearing loss.
Speech therapy and hearing rehabilitation are two related but distinct fields that aim to improve the communication and quality of life of people with speech, language, and/or hearing disorders. Speech therapy is the assessment and treatment of speech, language, voice, fluency, and swallowing disorders by a speech-language pathologist (SLP). Hearing rehabilitation is the assessment and management of hearing loss and related disorders by an audiologist. Both speech therapy and hearing rehabilitation involve using various techniques and approaches to help individuals achieve their communication goals.
Some of the common techniques and approaches used in speech therapy are:
• Articulation therapy: This technique focuses on improving the production of speech sounds that are distorted, substituted, or omitted. The SLP may use auditory, visual, or tactile cues to help the individual learn the correct placement and movement of the tongue, lips, teeth, and jaw to produce the target sound. The SLP may also use drills, games, or activities to practice the sound in isolation, syllables, words, sentences, and conversation.
• Language therapy: This technique focuses on improving the comprehension and expression of spoken or written language. The SLP may use pictures, objects, books, or games to teach the individual new vocabulary, grammar, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, or literacy skills. The SLP may also use modeling, prompting, feedback, or reinforcement to facilitate language learning.
• Voice therapy: This technique focuses on improving the quality, pitch, loudness, or resonance of the voice. The SLP may use exercises, strategies, or devices to help the individual modify their vocal habits, behaviors, or techniques. The SLP may also use biofeedback or instrumental measures to monitor and evaluate the voice.
• Fluency therapy: This technique focuses on improving the smoothness and flow of speech. The SLP may use techniques such as slow rate, easy onset, light contact, or pausing to help the individual reduce stuttering or cluttering behaviors. The SLP may also use counseling or education to help the individual cope with their emotions and attitudes toward their speech.
• Swallowing therapy: This technique focuses on improving the safety and efficiency of swallowing. The SLP may use exercises, maneuvers, strategies, or modifications to help the individual strengthen their oral-motor muscles, coordinate their breathing and swallowing, protect their airway, or prevent aspiration. The SLP may also use instrumental assessments such as videofluoroscopy or endoscopy to visualize and evaluate the swallowing function.
Some of the common techniques and approaches used in hearing rehabilitation are:
• Hearing aid fitting and orientation: This technique involves selecting, fitting, programming, verifying, and validating hearing aids for individuals with hearing loss. The audiologist may use tests such as real ear measurement or speech mapping to ensure that the hearing aids are providing appropriate amplification for the individual’s hearing needs. The audiologist may also provide education and counseling on how to use, care for, troubleshoot, and adjust to hearing aids.
• Cochlear implant mapping and habilitation: This technique involves activating, programming,
monitoring, and adjusting cochlear implants for individuals with severe to profound hearing loss. The audiologist may use tests such as impedance telemetry or neural response telemetry to ensure that the cochlear implant is functioning properly and stimulating the auditory nerve effectively. The audiologist may also provide habilitation services such as auditory training or speech reading to help the individual develop their listening and communication skills with the cochlear implant.
• Assistive listening device consultation and training: This technique involves recommending,
and training individuals on how to use assistive listening devices that can enhance their hearing in different situations. Assistive listening devices include personal amplifiers,
induction loop systems,
and other devices that can amplify sound,
transmit sound wirelessly,
or provide visual or tactile cues.
• Aural rehabilitation counseling and education: This technique involves providing information
and support to individuals with hearing loss and their family members or significant others on how to cope with the psychological,
and emotional aspects of hearing loss. The audiologist may use counseling skills such as active listening,
or problem-solving to help the individual express their feelings,
or needs related to their hearing loss. The audiologist may also provide education on topics such as hearing loss prevention,
or community resources.
Speech therapy and hearing rehabilitation are both important services that can help individuals with speech,
and/or hearing disorders improve their communication and quality of life. If you are interested in learning more about these fields,
you can refer to these sources:
• Types of Speech Therapy: Techniques and Approaches by Verywell Health
• Aural Rehabilitation for Adults by American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
• Adult Audiologic (Hearing) Rehabilitation by American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
I hope this information was helpful for you. If you have any questions or comments,
please feel free to share them with iHearBetterNow staff.