A new free online program which aims to provide an alternative to hearing aids for people living with acquired hearing loss has been developed from research at The Australian National University.
Dr Anthony Hogan, from the School of Sociology in the ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences, has created the Easier Listening program in association with Hearservice, a division of the Victorian Deaf Society. Dr Hogan said that Easier Listening is a way of helping people manage their hearing problems by providing them with easy lifestyle alternatives.
"Everyone thinks that hearing loss equals hearing aids, but it doesn't have to," he said.
"If you had high cholesterol, before you started taking medication, you'd start doing some behavioural and lifestyle changes. Why should hearing loss be any different?"
Dr Hogan's program involves logging on to the Easier Listening website and working through a number of problem based exercises to learn some basic strategies to implement in everyday life.
"We want to get people more aware of how hearing loss affects them on a day-to-day basis and then give them some really practical strategies on how they might manage those everyday problems," said Dr Hogan.
"Our big enemies with hearing loss are things like background noise, so if you're going to cafes and restaurants, pick places that are quieter – places that have carpet or soft furnishings. Also when you're sitting somewhere, don't be looking at the light. You probably don't think you can lip read, but you'd be surprised how much you can pick up when you can actually see people's faces."
For more information about Dr Hogan's Easier Listening program visit: www.hearservice.com.au/easierlistening