LACE (Listening and Communication Enhancement) Online
Listening and Communication Enhancement (LACE) online training is a short-term “boot camp” designed to help improve your listening in noise skills with your hearing aids.
While hearing aids can help to detect sounds, they do not affect other important factors in our brain’s ability to understand, like listening, communication and comprehension. As part of normal healthy aging, our brain changes.
When a patient is fit with a therapeutic device such as an artificial limb, they undergo physical therapy to help their body learn to adjust. When a patient is fit with hearing aids, their brain needs the same support. If patients do not learn to use their brains to listen and “fill in the gaps,” the benefits of the hearing aids are minimized. Often times, the patient will report that their hearing aids do not work or they do not see any benefit when they wear them. People think hearing aids will fix their problems hearing in background noise, but if normal hearing people also struggle in background noise, we know the hearing loss is not the problem. The problem is the normal changes in the brain as we age.
During the natural aging process, our ear-to-brain connection weakens due to hearing loss and our processing speed slows down. We struggle to follow rapid conversations. While our ear is what hears and transmits the sound, ultimately we understand that signal with our brains. In order to remember something, we must hear it clearly. Since we do not hear it clearly and we cannot “fill in the gaps” with rapid speech, our working memory is impacted. Memory can only be as clear as the signal that we hear and having a hearing loss affects our memory storage. The more background noise, the more our working memory suffers.
There are three key factors that affect our ability to understand as we get older:
- Processing speed
- Working memory
In normal healthy aging, everyone experiences some decline in all three of these areas. As conversations in noisy environments become challenging, at least one of these areas is impacted. LACE training helps patients strengthen your ear-to-brain connection and develop skills to improve listening, communication and interaction skills.
What is involved with LACE?
The LACE program consists of 11 training sessions that you can complete on your own time (although it is not recommended to wait longer than 1-2 days between sessions). All you need is access to the internet! LACE is available on Apple and Windows computers, as well as iOS and Android devices. For best results, broadband internet and reasonably decent audio playback equipment is required.
LACE is an interactive aural rehabilitation training program that helps improve your listening skills to hear better in noise.
LACE Online delivers 4 types of exercises to improve your listening skills:
- Speech-in-Noise – helps you learn how to pick out a voice in a noisy environment.
- Rapid Speech – helps you develop skills to process rapid speech.
- Competing Speaker – helps you learn how to focus on one voice at a time.
- Word Memory – helps you remember the words the person talking has said and predict what may come next.
The LACE program works with you and adapts to your answers so it will never be too easy or too hard.
Once you complete the 11 training sessions, you can continue to practice with additional content at different levels of difficulty.
How do I start the LACE program?
A simple phone call or email to our office will allow us to set up an online access code for you to start your training session. Or, talk to your Audiologist at your next visit.
As you participate in the LACE program, your Audiologist will monitor your progress.