Hearing aids are a good first step in hearing loss rehabilitation. But hearing aids are not the only step. Auditory training is critical to help you meet your potential. Auditory training has been described as physical therapy for the ears and the brain.
With auditory training, you will be able to understand conversations in more adverse, noisy listening environments. This can help you to feel more confident when you go to a party and the music is louder than you would like it to be.
As we get older, there are key changes in our brain, that affect our ability to hear in noisy restaurants and in group situations. Auditory training will address these difficulties, by training the hearing part of the brain to process sounds more effectively.
Auditory Training using LACE
LACE (Listening and Communication Enhancement) was developed by two audiologists at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). Dr. Robert Sweetow and Jennifer Henderson Sabes developed LACE specifically for older adults with hearing loss.
LACE training is conducted for 30 minutes, five days a week, for one month.
LACE training can help us to hear better in background noise. A UCSF study by Dr. Sweetow and Jennifer Henderson Sabes found that the average person improved listening skills in noise by 40% through LACE training.
The study also found improved performance on processing speed and memory. What do processing speed and memory have to do with hearing in noise? See “LACE Auditory Training: A key to hearing better in noise” for an illustrated (and fascinating!) explanation.
You’ll work on five different skills:
- Speech in Noise: You will hear a person talking with “cocktail party” noise in the background. The amount of noise will progressively increase as you progress (and you will improve).
- Competing Speakers: In this task, you’ll be given a voice to focus on—either a man’s, a woman’s, or a child’s. There will be voices in the background that you do your best to ignore. The background voices will get louder as you progress.
- Missing Word: In this task, you’ll practice at quickly guessing at the missing word in the sentence. You’ll be working on your ability to use context as well as on your processing speed.
- Memory. The memory task is a challenging way to improve your ability to “hold on” to what you’ve heard and answer questions about it.
- Rapid Speech: The pace of the speaker’s voice gets faster, and information is removed as well. You’ll find that you can understand at a pace that you previously found too fast. It takes practice—and the training pays off.
If you are using a CD-ROM or a registration code, your computer should have:
- Microsoft Windows 2000, XP, or Vista; for a Mac, OSX 10 or newer.
- Minimum of 400 MHz processing power.
- High speed Internet access.