LACE is a training software that has been developed from extensive research completed by Dr. Robert Sweetow from the University of California and is designed to retrain the adult brain to listen more effectively in situations where there may be high levels of noise pollution (traffic, wind, road works, etc.), people are talking too quickly or there are competing voices. These types of situations happen on a daily basis and for someone with hearing difficulties, with or without a hearing aid; this can be frustrating as they are unable to easily communicate with people around them.
Dr. Robert Sweetow’s research showed that for a person (with or without hearing loss), to be able to effectively communicate with others around them they must have good hearing abilities and also good listening skills. With neither, or only one of these skills we would not be able to understand the noises and voices around us.
When someone suffers from hearing loss for an extended period of time the auditory section of the brain begins to deteriorate as it is not being used as much as it normally would; this means that when a person with hearing loss is in a situation where there are many people talking at once the listener may only be able to hear the noise of the words but may not be able to distinguish them from other words in the sentence. This problem does not only effect people with untreated hearing loss but can also occur in people who are fitted with appropriate hearing aids and even effect people who have no hearing problems at all.
LACE is aimed towards people in a range of specific situations. If any of the below situations are familiar to you then you may benefit from using LACE at our office.
- First-time hearing aid wearers
- Current hearing aid wearers who may need to improve their listening skills
- Current hearing aid users who have been fitted with a new hearing aid (this may be different to the previous aid)
- Non-hearing aid wearers who experience problems with understanding speech
- Sufferers of Auditory Processing Disorder may also benefit from LACE sessions
LACE was originally developed in the USA and has recently been updated to be used in the UK with British accents and subject matter featured to allow British users to benefit from the sessions.
Three different tasks are featured in the software, which have been designed to challenge the user (but not frustrate!). These tasks include:
- Degraded Speech Tasks
- Cognitive Tasks
- Interactive Communication Strategies
These tasks have been created to teach the user that hearing something is not the same as listening to something. E.g. we may hear music in a restaurant as background noise but we are not actively listening to the sounds or words; however, when necessary we are able to concentrate on the noise and when we concentrate, we understand.
Some users who suffer with hearing loss may struggle with the sudden amplification of sound when they are fitted with a hearing aid for the first time or if a current user is fitted with a different type of hearing aid. The tasks teach the user to recognise words and sounds when they are amplified at different levels and also demonstrate that the user does not have to hear every word in a sentence for them to be able to understand the message. This in turn helps to build the users’ confidence and allow them to trust that they did hear and understand what was being said; this allows smoother conversations (prevents repetition) between people who are aware of the users hearing loss and also between people who are not aware.
Users who have recently been fitted with a new hearing aid will benefit from quicker and easier acclimatization, communication and compensatory strategies. Cognitive skills (speed of processing and auditory memory) will be improved which then helps the user to understand speech in environments where listening may become difficult (even for non-sufferers of hearing loss).
The LACE software is designed to be used on a regular basis, 5 days a week for at least 30 minutes a day for 20 sessions. Small breaks in the training schedule of about 1-2 days will not affect the result of the training but longer breaks are not advised as this will reduce the effectiveness of the training.
LACE can be used as a DVD, CD ROM or used online where convenient. A Clinic Edition is also available which allows users to come into the office and complete a session in a situation where any help can be provided by a member of staff and all elements of the training tasks can be explained in detail.
If you are interested in finding out more about LACE training sessions please feel contacts us at Bryce Hearing Services by either calling us on 01224 647652 to book an appointment or send us a quick email with your enquiry and contact details and we will organise an appointment.