Monday, 7 December 2015

How Helpful is the Different Types of Auditory Training?

Auditory training, also known as brain training, is an alternative therapy meant to help kids with Auditory Processing Disorder (APD). Such kids have normal auditory senses, but fail to decipher different speech sounds correctly. Thus, they misunderstand what is spoken by others. Auditory training is contributes to treating children and adults with special needs, and they are also administered by doctors for treating attention deficit disorders and problems related to hearing and speech disorganization.

What is Auditory Training?

Auditory training was earlier known as Auditory Integration Training, and it relies on games and exercises to help candidates improve their hearing skills. It is argued that children suffering from APD are oversensitive or under-sensitive to certain sound frequencies. Thus, they face difficulty in deciphering speech correctly. In addition to that, when a person is fitted with an auditory aid, the different kinds of sounds that he hears can be overwhelming and hard to decipher.

Auditory training relies on a combination of visual and auditory exercises to teach the brain how to differentiate between speech sounds.

Auditory Processing Assessment
Auditory Processing Assessment

Types of Auditory Training

Broadly speaking, there are two types of auditory training activities: analytic and synthetic. The analytic technique of auditory training focuses on different elements of speech, viz. vowels and consonants. A person is made to decipher different speech sounds, particularly ones he has the most trouble with. Thus, he is made to hear similar sounding words with different vowel sounds.

  • Once he is comfortable with picking up broader vowel sounds, the exercise is fine-tuned to finer sounds. The exercise is repeated with consonant sounds. The analytic approach to auditory training is called the ‘bottoms-up’ approach, since the focus is on the building blocks of speech.
  • It is argued that if a person can differentiate between the building blocks, he is more likely to decipher larger blocks of speech such as sentences and paragraphs.
  • The synthetic technique of auditory training is a ‘top-down’ approach that focuses on sentences and phrases. The person is made to decipher the meaning of the sentence, and real-world noise is simulated. Therefore this becomes a very effective training for all those children who suffer from autism or those who suffer from non-verbal learning disabilities.
  • The argument for the technique makes use of a person’s knowledge of language to fill in perceptual gaps in speech. The noise level is varied according to whether a person is able to comprehend speech correctly or not. Since this technique focuses on a person’s knowledge of language, it may not be beneficial in very young kids with APD, who are still coming to terms with their language skills.

However, good auditory training programs often make use of both the techniques for more efficient results.

Auditory Training
Auditory Training

Is Auditory Training Helpful?

Auditory training is a very recent concept. Not much formal research has gone into the subject. However, based on recent researches into the field, auditory training has been found to be helpful in speech learning. Two key features have been identified in helpful auditory training programs:

Intensity

It has been found that for auditory training to be helpful, the sessions need to be more intense. They need to make use of both visual and auditory stimuli for effective and faster learning.

Frequency

Recent research into the field has also found that programs with more frequent sessions are more effective. Thus, when choosing an auditory training program, go for the one that has more sessions per week. As for the question whether auditory training is helpful, it is to a large extent. Constant improvements are being made in the field, with new, more effective programs being designed. Moreover, it is very helpful for all those children who cannot understand and differentiate between speech and sounds. There should also be a consideration that auditory training must be conducted under the supervision of a trained doctor or therapist.

Do you like to know more about types of auditory training? Let’s go to the details to get few more information about it.

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