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Research by CHC and Gallaudet Examines Benefits of Aural Rehabilitation for Older CI Users

Updated: Oct 11, 2023

By Dominique Calandrillo, AuD, CCC-A

Audiologist Dominique Calandrillo shares news about a collaborative research project underway between Gallaudet University and the Center for Hearing and Communication.

Dominique Calandrillo, CHC-NY Audiologist

In my daily interactions with older adult amplification users, I often hear them express the desire to connect with the world even more.

For some, that can mean understanding a grandchild's speech more clearly. For others, it's about hearing better in restaurants and other challenging listening situations.

What they're all yearning for is greater communication proficiency, even with well-programmed hearing devices.

CHC and Gallaudet Launch Research Study

Toward that end, I am pleased to announce CHC's participation in a research project that could help achieve the goal of enhanced communication ability.

In collaboration with the Bernstein/Brewer Aural Rehabilitation Lab at Gallaudet University (Washington, DC), CHC will be investigating the effectiveness of an 8-week remote auditory training program on speech understanding and cognitive areas of speed, attention, and memory.

By using computer-based programs and remote follow-up with trained clinicians, the project also addresses the importance of accessibility of aural rehabilitation (AR).

What Do We Know So Far?

Research conducted to date shows a large variability in speech understanding outcomes among older adult cochlear implant users (Hillyer et al., 2019; Holder et al., 2020; Zhan et al., 2020). There is, however, some evidence suggesting short-term teletherapy can be beneficial.

Findings of a recently published article that I co-authored with Dr. Bernstein and Dr. Brewer, along with other members of the study team from University of South Florida, Columbia University, University of Kentucky and The Cleveland Clinic, showed improved communication abilities with the use of a tele-AR program, a program designed to be provided in the comfort of the client’s home (Brewer & Bernstein et al., 2023).

What we did not look at in this study was the role that cognition and cognitive training could play in enhancing performance, and if it could impact outcomes with use of a cochlear implant.

So we're excited to get underway with the new study and expand our understanding in this area, especially as it relates to the addition of cognitive training to AR protocols.

Seeking Study Participants

If you are 60 years of age or older and have had a cochlear implant between three months and four years, you may be eligible to participate in our study. If you'd like to be considered, please contact Michele DiStefano, CHC's Director of Audiology.

CHC's Aural Rehabilitation Services

Those of you not inclined to participate in the study can still benefit from CHC's expertise in aural rehabilitation services. I encourage you to learn more about our individual and group therapies tailored to your unique hearing and communication needs. With CHC's support, you'll experience more benefit from your hearing devices and reconnect with the world around you. To do so, please contact Meg Webster, CHC's Coordinator of Adult Communication Services

I look forward to updating you on this exciting research project soon!

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