As an audiologist, it can be difficult to figure out how to best help your patients adapt to all the struggles they may face with their hearing and listening.
Tools like hearing aids and implants have become incredibly advanced over the past decade. But these advancements don’t mean users are able to immediately achieve the best outcomes without some additional help.
We love sharing how LACE auditory processing training can help patients train their brains to listen better, but it’s also important to learn how our hearing professional partners use our product in the real world. One recent experience was shared in March 2022, when we were featured in Audiology Australia.
We recently sat down with audiologist Sonja Jones of Cardiff Hearing in the UK to get her thoughts on what it’s been like working with LACE since she opened her newest clinic in August 2020.
Getting started with the LACE hearing training program during a pandemic was a challenge, but Sonja has found the software to have many benefits since she started using it.
We asked her how she uses our program, what the impact has been on her patients, and how she would recommend implementing LACE into practice for other audiologists.
Here’s what you’ll learn:
- About Sonja Jones and Cardiff Hearing
- Why Sonja Chose LACE’s Auditory Processing Training
- How To Distribute LACE to Clients
- Benefits Seen From Incorporating LACE Into Your Practice
- Final Thoughts: A Case Study of LACE Auditory Processing Training at Work
Sonja Jones completed her audiology training at the University of Manchester in 2010. After graduating, she took on a variety of roles, including work as a senior paediatric and adult audiologist with the NHS.
Sonja has also spent time in the private sector, working as a consultant for two of the largest hearing aid manufacturers. She has mentored audiologists in both the public and private sectors and is a frequent keynote speaker at audiology conferences.
In 2017, Sonja opened her own private practice and founded Cardiff Hearing. She works closely with fellow audiologist Mari Shepherd and dedicated hearing nurse Andy Mardell.
The practice covers a diverse range of services, from standard hearing tests to children’s audiology, hearing aid fittings, and tinnitus treatment.
Cardiff Hearing also uses hearing training programs like LACE with many of their patients after seeing good results.
Sonja incorporates a holistic approach into her practice, and she strives to ensure her patients are happy not only with the fit of their hearing aids but with their experience using them too.
She found that when patients struggled to adjust to wearing hearing aids, she wasn’t satisfied with the “it just takes time” advice many in her field rely on. That pushed her to find a tangible way to help her patients adjust to all the new sounds coming in.
Sonja initially used a different auditory processing training software but found the game-based approach to be a bit convoluted, and many patients dropped out of the program. They simply couldn’t see the benefit, and it didn’t fit well in their lives.
Then, in 2020, she was introduced to LACE.
“When I found it was online, I thought, well, this is a game-changer. […] It’s very straightforward, it’s easy to use, and that’s really it.”
Sonja found that her patients were finally sticking to a brain training program and – most importantly – that they were seeing results.
“It’s really easy for patients to understand the why behind what they’re doing,” she continues.
The exercises are presented in a straightforward manner, and many patients enjoy seeing the results screen where they can track their progress.
Because LACE addresses several types of hearing challenges, Sonja has found it beneficial to bring up auditory processing training when asking patients about what their struggles are. She has found it easy to match up LACE’s training types with the exact issues a patient is having, such as competing speakers or noisy environments.
She tends to position LACE most often to patients who are having trouble adapting to new hearing aids. A 2013 study published by the Journal of the American Academy of Audiology found LACE was especially helpful for new hearing aid users.
Sonja brings that up to patients when they’re just getting started with hearing aids, but also with those who have been using the devices for a while but are having trouble readapting to a noisier post-pandemic life.
She likes to demo the software in the office with patients, especially with those who aren’t quite as comfortable with using technology. She’ll make sure they see how easy it is to use, how the software gradually adapts to their performance, and that they won’t need to worry about adjusting any settings while training.
Sonja advises audiologists to “take them through that first session, and then already have an appointment scheduled either on the telephone or in-person in 11 days’ time to go through their results. But let them know if, at any time they are struggling, they can contact you.”
The main goal is to get your patients engaged and understanding the process, rather than just clicking through the exercises mindlessly. Patients who understand how the training can help them will stand to benefit more in the different challenging hearing situations they face.
“I liken it to physiotherapy for the listening centers of your brain.”
In the UK, there can be a bit of a “get on with it” attitude toward hearing aids. Hearing healthcare professionals will say your brain needs time to adjust to hearing aids, but traditionally there has been little help to do that.
LACE helps Sonja provide a more holistic approach to her practice. It’s not just giving patients hearing aids — she’s helping address the mental and emotional issues that could be holding people back.
“For some people with hearing aids, they need to be eased in, and they need to learn to listen again.”
She describes a patient who went on a beach holiday after receiving hearing aids and was startled at first to discover she could hear the sea again. The patient had to question her husband to make sure she was hearing correctly, and could only relax once he had confirmed she was getting the full experience of waves again.
It’s important to remember that patients can do better with their hearing aids if they build up their confidence with them. An auditory processing training software like LACE is one way to help with that.
LACE uses QuickSIN scoring to help patients see not only where they stand but how far they come while using the program.
Sonja believes the ease of access is a big reason the program works so well.
She mentions that almost all her patients, even those in their nineties, use smart devices. As long as they can access the internet, they can complete the program at home, in the car, or even at work.
She’s found her patients tend to have a much better relationship with their hearing aids and a better attitude toward their hearing when using LACE.
Cardiff Hearing has a diverse patient base with many different needs to meet. Sonja is a big proponent of trying out many different programs and looking for the solution that works best for each individual.
Thanks to the positive feedback they’ve received so far, Sonja and her team continue to recommend using a hearing training program to patients at their practice, whether they need hearing aids or are dealing with more mild hearing loss.
LACE training directly addresses many of the problems their patients deal with in the real world, from listening to fast-talking grandchildren to trying to follow the conversation at a busy dinner with friends.
“Not only are they getting trained, we can then explain the ‘why’ behind what we’re doing and relate that entirely to their lives and all of the problems they’ve explained to us.”
Sonja feels that LACE’s straightforward, easy-to-understand approach is part of the reason her patients have seen such success with it.
If you’re considering auditory processing training software for your practice, get in touch, and we’ll be happy to answer your questions about LACE.