One size doesn't fit all and people with hearing loss differ in their training needs. clEAR has 9 different training plans that can be further customized by a user’s hearing healthcare provider (HHP). Each plan is comprised of 12 lessons that are messaged and/or emailed to users during the course of their subscription. Each lesson suggests which games to play and for how long, and explains why playing these games are beneficial.
Lesson Plan for the New Hearing-Aid User
Just as recipients of a knee replacement benefit from receiving physical therapy, recipients of new hearing aids benefit from receiving auditory brain training. This plan teaches users to listen with their new hearing aids and helps them to appreciate the benefits of amplification. Example activities include listening to speech with the hearing aids turned on and off and listening to how much better female and children’s voices sound. Users also gradually learn to listen to speech when there is background noise present (as in a noisy restaurant).
Lesson Plan for the User Who is Not Yet Ready for Hearing Aids
Some people with listening challenges want hearing healthcare but they are not ready to try using hearing aids. This plan is designed to develop their abilities to focus on what is being said and allows them to gauge their current hearing status. Example activities include playing games where the level of difficulty is gradually increased over time.
Lesson Plan for the User Who Complains of Listening in Noise
Perhaps the most common complaint of people who have hearing loss is, “I can hear very well when the room is quiet but when there is noise present, I experience great difficulty.” This plan is designed to develop users’ tolerance of background noise and to develop their ability to “tune out” background noise (e.g., the kind that occurs in a busy restaurant) and focus on the target speech signal. Training activities gradually introduce more noise during training, but never so much that users will experience frustration.
Lesson Plan for the User Who has Difficulty in Hearing Female and Child Voices
Most people with hearing loss cannot hear high pitches as well as they can hear low pitches. Since most female and child voices are higher in pitch than male voices, these voices often pose challenges. This plan is designed to develop users’ abilities to comprehend the speech of female and child talkers. Training activities begin with easy-to-recognize male voices and then graduate gradually to female and child voices.
Lesson Plan for the New Cochlear Implant User
It is quite common that when a person receives a cochlear implant, they note, “My loved ones don’t sound like I remember them as sounding.” This is because their memories of a loved one’s voice may have faded, the loved one’s voice may have changed over time, and/or the electrical signal creates a modicum of distortion. In this plan, training activities acclimate the user to the FCP’s voice (frequent communication partner) gradually. In addition or in lieu to this plan, new cochlear implant users may opt to train with the next lesson plan, “Lesson Plan for the User Who Cannot Tolerate Noise.”
Lesson Plan for the User Who Cannot Tolerate Noise
Some people with hearing loss simply cannot tolerate noise and yet they still want to hone their listening skills. In this plan, users only train “in quiet”, meaning that none of the activities require them to listen to speech while background noise plays. The activities develop users’ abilities to attend to connected speech, to remember spoken words, and to focus on word endings so they can tell the difference between phrases such as, “I CAN take you to the airport” versus “I CAN’T take you to the airport.”
Lesson Plan for the User with Central Auditory Processing Disorder
Some users have difficulty in understanding the meaning of a spoken message even though they can hear the words that are being spoken. This condition is sometimes referred to as “central auditory processing disorder”, and is thought to relate to a person’s ability to pay attention to sound stimuli, to “keep up” and rapidly process words, and to remember words long enough to process the meaning of an utterance. This plan provides extensive practice in developing and honing these abilities. Many children use this plan, especially if they have a third grade reading level or higher.
Lesson Plan for the User Who Wants to Better Understand the Speech of an FCP (Frequent Communication Partner): Plan 1
Most of us have special people in our lives who we talk to on a regular basis or who we want to talk with on special occasions. A unique feature of clEAR is that FCPs can record the training stimuli using the microphone of a personal computer and a user can then immediately train with the voice of his or her FCP and learn to recognize that voice better. Someone who lives far away from the user can even become an FCP. For example, if a relative is coming for a visit, the user can receive training before the relative arrives. In this plan, an FCP records the training stimuli in a single session and the user immediately begins training with the FCP’s voice.
Lesson Plan for the User Who Wants to Better Recognize the Speech of an FCP: Plan II
Like the “Plan 1” for training with an FCP’s voice, this plan teaches users to better recognize the voice of someone who is important to them. The difference is that instead of recording the training stimuli in a single session, the FCP records the stimuli in three short recording sessions. As the recordings are made, the variety of games that the user plays is gradually increased.