Just like you go to the gym to work out your body, your brain also needs to workout. When hearing loss is identified, it is like when you have not been to the gym in a while. Because your brain has not been receiving the auditory stimulation it needs, people can report difficulty after amplification with speech and sound discrimation. So how can you take your brain to the gym to improve your ability to process sound? Auditory Training, a sub-group of Aural Rehabilitation, has been shown to be effective when retraining your brain to process sound.
There are many different apps for phones and programs that you can access at home for auditory training. One program is called LACE which was developed by audiologists at University of California at San Francisco and implemented in silicon valley. LACE stands for Listening and Communication Enhancement.
LACE has modules for training your brain in specific auditory areas. In each of the modules listed below LACE creates games and tasks to help ease these areas to ease communication and listening.
Speech in Noise – this module helps with understanding in noise. This can help in situations like communicating in a busy restaurant.
Rapid Speech – this module trains the user to understand fast speakers.
Competing Speaker – trains the user to focus and understand the talker they want to when there are multiple speakers. Think of communicating with 3 kindergartners but you only want to hear 1 of them.
Word Memory – helps your brain fill in the blanks while listening.
An article “The case for LACE: Listening and Communication Enhancement” by Robert Sweetow and Jennifer Henderson- Sabes (2004), researched the effectiveness of LACE specifically. They were able to determine that LACE was effective in helping hearing aid users retrain their brain to process sound in difficult listening situations.
How to access:
Accessing the software can be done using any brand or device like a phone or laptop that can access the internet. The software must be purchased to download.
LACE is an effective aural rehabilitation program that can help you get the maximum benefit of your amplification devices. There are many other programs and apps that you can access from home that are like LACE. Workout your brain!
If you notice any changes in your hearing or want to discuss other aural rehabilitation strategies find a local hearing care professional near you.
Sweetow, R. W. & Henderson-Sabes, J. (2004). The case for LACE. The Hearing Journal, 57(3), 32–35,38,40. doi: 10.1097/01.HJ.0000292371.26838.91.