The statistics on hearing loss in America are pretty grim. It’s the #3 health issue for older adults, after arthritis and heart disease. It can lead to depression and mental decline, and it has major implications for quality of life.
Fortunately, humans are rational creatures who do sensible things to improve their circumstances, right?
Not so fast. Only 20% of people with hearing loss who could benefit from a hearing aid actually wear one. And typically, those folks have waited for 7 to 10 years after their initial diagnosis to get fitted with hearing aids.
What the heck is going on?
We know there’s a stigma associated with hearing aids (though fortunately that’s changing). The hearing aids may be physically uncomfortable. Or, and this is the case for countless folks who have purchased expensive hearing aids, only to stick them in the back of a drawer a few weeks later, the onslaught of sound from brand-new hearing aids is just too much. Background noise is too loud while speech is too quiet; the volume control doesn’t work the way we want it to, and it all just gets too frustrating to deal with.
This is why audiologists at Neurotone invented Listening and Communication Enhancement (L.A.C.E.). L.A.C.E. doesn’t change the way your eardrum operates. Instead it changes the way your brain interprets sound, training it to filter out unwanted noise, focus on speech even in noisy environments, and sharpen concentration so you can stay with a conversation, even one that’s moving quickly. Think of it as physical therapy for your brain’s listening center.
Just like physical therapy, L.A.C.E. requires you to practice. The program consists of 20-minute daily sessions in which you listen to recordings of speakers and then determine how much you’ve comprehended by answering questions. In some exercises, two speakers are talking at once. In other exercises, background noise competes with the speaker in a realistic approximation of being at a party or restaurant. In still another exercise, the speaker talks very quickly, challenging the listener’s ability to focus and keep up.
The scored training lasts 11 sessions, with a variety of interesting topics to choose from each day. You get instant feedback about your progress. After the initial 11 sessions, you can continue to use LACE for as long as you’d like! (Read the 5 Best Things About L.A.C.E. Training)
The best thing? It works! One study of people who had completed the L.A.C.E. program found “statistically significant improvements” in four out of five categories related to listening and comprehension.