Audiology Clinics at the V.A.

The Audiologic Rehabilitation (AR) clinic is dedicated to helping patients overcome the deleterious communication and psychosocial consequences of their hearing losses. Significant others are strongly encouraged to participate. Currently, the AR clinic is housed in a patient conference room equipped with a conference table, television, and audio-visual equipment. Three main AR programs are currently conducted, which include following programs: (1) Hearing Loss Patient Education Program, (2) Speechreading, and (3) AR for veterans with dual-sensory impairment (vision and hearing loss).

The Hearing Loss Patient Education Program is a group support program that consists of four, one-and-a-half hour group sessions. Examples of some main topics covered over these four sessions include: hearing loss and its consequences, hearing aid use, realistic expectations and adjustment to hearing aid use, communication strategies, optimal communication environment, assertiveness, use of visual cues and gestures, and other assistive listening devices. A workbook was developed to accompany the program that consists of both in-class and homework exercises. Veterans with hearing loss and their significant others are strongly encouraged to attend.

The Speechreading (i.e., lipreading) program also consists of four, one-and-a-half hour group sessions. It was designed to give patients with hearing losses and introduction to speechreading and in-depth practice using speechreading skills. An accompanying workbook was developed for the speechreading program and consists of both in-class and homework exercises. Interested veterans with hearing losses and significant others are welcome to attend.

Audiologic rehabilitation for veterans with dual-sensory impairment is unique. Hearing aid orientation sessions and counseling are usually done on an individual basis. The use of sophisticated magnification systems and special techniques are used in AR for patients with dual-sensory impairment. Significant others are encouraged to attend these special sessions.

The AR program offers an additional service to patients with hearing losses and their families. The goal of the AR clinic is to assist the patient with hearing loss and their loved ones overcome the problems resulting from hearing loss. Dr. Sherri L. Smith is the director of the audiologic rehabilitation program.