During an informational lecture you can give participants a hands-on experience with various assistive listening devices. It is important to ask the participants about what technology they are using and explain how aspects of their daily life can be improved by using different types of technology like closed captioning or an FM system.
It is useful to have several topics ready for discussion and demonstration during a particular session. You may want to select topics based on what group members have identified during the Group Problem Identification exercise.
Time should be spent demonstrating and discussing specific technologies or concepts. However, do not spend too much time teaching, as this is not the purpose of Group AR. One should strive to make the session as interactive as possible, taking questions from the group as you go along.
Hearing assistance technology for television, movies, theaters, large rooms and noisy restaurants are often discussed in Group AR sessions. You can bring in FM systems, infra-red systems and hard-wired systems for participants to try. Discussion sub-topics could include where to obtain these devices, how to request them at public venues, how to advocate for their implementation and how to use the specific devices.
Group sessions with informational lectures can be a good place to discuss hearing aid functions and features. This can allow new hearing aid users to take full advantage of the devices that they already own. Experienced hearing aid users can use these lectures to help make a decision on a possible replacement device. If appropriate based on group needs, additional topics for discussion may include: cochlear implants, coping with tinnitus or coping with dizziness.
Other popular topics for discussion are telephones, mobile phones, captioned telephones, relay services as well as government programs for low-cost or no-cost communication technologies for individuals with hearing loss.
Emergency preparedness is another important topic. This may include weather radios and state and municipal programs for contacting people with hearing loss during emergencies.
Combine Support and Info
Research has shown that supportive programs for individuals with chronic conditions have the best outcomes when participants are provided with both information and psychosocial support. Therefore, it is important to encourage group support to help motivate participants to actually use this information in everyday life.
Direct group members to visit online, informational resources to keep current with new technologies as they become available. One good resource is the Hearing Loss Association of America website.
An informational lecture
Informational lectures are commonly used in Group AR programs to spend time on material that is often not covered in depth during a typical audiology appointment. Typical information sessions can focus on hearing assistance technologies, telephone use or emergency preparedness systems.
You should show group members how to use these devices and encourage them to ask for and use them. You can also give participants tips on how to keep current with new technologies as they become available.
J. E. Preminger and J. K. Yoo. Do Group Audiologic Rehabilitation Activities Influence Psychosocial Outcomes? Am.J.Audiol. 19:109-125, 2010.
L. M. Thibodeau. Hearing assistance technology as part of a comprehensive auditory rehabilitation program. In: Adult audiologic Rehabilitation, edited by J. Montano and J. Spitzer, San Diego, CA:Plural Publishing inc., 2009.
Hearing Loss Association of America. Online Section on Technology.
Download the HLAA Brochure on Assistive Listening Devices.