The proposed research will examine the efficacy of adult group aural rehabilitation training, for adults with hearing loss, offered in a classroom environment. Group aural rehabilitation classes may include training in speech reading, auditory perception, and communication strategies. Group classes offer an opportunity to teach general information about hearing loss and provide a forum in which adults with hearing loss can share information and emotional support. It is not known if group training in speech reading, auditory perception, and/or communication strategies will lead to improved performance. It is not clear what component or components of the group aural rehabilitation class specifically lead to reduced hearing handicap. In Experiment 1, 48 adults with hearing loss will participate in a 6-week group aural rehabilitation class in which the content is limited to speech reading and auditory perception exercises. Half of the subjects will attend classes that encourage group interaction; the other half will attend classes that provide no opportunity for interaction. The results of Experiment 1 will determine: 1) whether listeners with hearing loss who receive speech reading and auditory perception training over a 6-week period actually improve these abilities as measured by tests of visual and auditory speech perception; and 2) whether group interaction within an aural rehabilitation class effects hearing handicap. In Experiment 2, 48 new subjects will participate in 3 types of group classes: 1) training in communication strategies with limited group interaction; 2) training in communication strategies with time devoted to group interaction; and 3) no training, lectures only class with time devoted to group interaction. This data will be analyzed with the data from Experiment 1. The results of Experiment 2 will determine which aspect(s) of group aural rehabilitation classes provide benefit.
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