Last month, we talked about the factors that affect your results with a cochlear implant. Two factors that can have a considerable impact are your motivation and active listening practice with your device. In this blog post we have a free download to help you start with your listening practice.
What Is Active Practice And Why Does It Matter?
Active practice refers to focused listening work with your therapist, a family member, or by yourself, whereas passive listening practice includes unstructured activities such as watching TV, or listening to music.
Active practice that is structured- where you receive feedback and can track your progress – leads to faster progress with your cochlear implant rehabilitation.
Here’s are some activities to get you started with active practice.
Tips For Practicing
- If you are using a hearing aid in your other ear, remove it so you just listen with your audio processor.
- Don’t use lip reading to begin with, but add it if you need a clue.
- Start with EASIER variations of activities first and move through activities one by one.
- Ask your communication partner (family member or friend who is helping you with your listening practice) to use listening first when using the materials provided as this training aims to build your listening skills with your CI:
- LISTEN to the words (your communication partner points to each word/picture and says them)
- SAY (you say the word back to your communication partner)
- LISTEN & CHOOSE (your communication partner says one of the listed words again, you listen and choose which picture/word/sentence you heard)
- If the activities are difficult, add visual clues (lip reading, written text, gestures) where needed after you have had a chance to ‘listen first’.
- Remember, listening ‘mileage’ is important. Your brain needs time and practice to make sense of the information it is receiving from the cochlear implant.
- Listening practice with your CI can be tiring! Short bursts of practice, such as two 15-minute blocks per day is better than one 30-minute session.
How To Make Activities Easier Or More Difficult
As we mentioned in our post last month, there are a number of factors that will affect your outcomes with a cochlear implant and progress will vary from person to person. Don’t worry if you find these activities difficult. It just means you need more practice and time using your CI.
Here are five ways to make your listening activities easier or more difficult:
- Number of options: In the sentence building activity there are four sentences in the first set. Reduce or increase the number of sentences to make this easier or more difficult. You can use this rule in all activities.
- Clues: Add visual cues such as the written words, and then lip reading to make a task easier. Remove written text to make tasks more challenging.
- Sentence length: Longer sentences will be more difficult to understand than short phrases.
- Difference between words/sentences: Words and sentences that sound very similar for example, ‘edge’ vs ‘age’ are more difficult than words and sentences that have larger contrasts in sound and length such as ‘pear’ vs ‘banana’.
- Content: unfamiliar words are sentences are more difficult to understand than everyday familiar words and sentences.
What Activities Can You Use?
We have shared just a couple of activities with you to get you started. Download these activities here.
You can also make your own lists for ‘Sentence Building’ and ‘Topic Centered Sentences’. Use words, sentences and topics that are important to you such as family names, work, or hobbies.
Tune in next month to find out more about auditory training. Our post will include further printable activities to support you to continue your practice at home. Subscribe to the blog now to get all our rehab blogs delivered directly to your inbox!
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Learn more about what you can expect from a cochlear implant.
Take a look at these tips for talking on the telephone with a hearing implant.