By Katie Oestreich This article is a part of the November/December 2018, Volume 30, Number 6, Audiology Today issue. Over the years, there has been an expansion of group aural rehabilitation programs facilitated by audiologists to support new hearing aid users and their families. These programs focus on hearing aid use, the psychosocial aspects of living with hearing loss, collaborative problem solving, and the facilitation of communication strategies (Kricos, 2000). There are numerous advantages to offering group aural rehabilitation, but what makes a program successful? Why Offer a Group Aural Rehabilitation Program? It is well understood that hearing loss greatly affects an individual’s quality of life, as difficulties with communication affect interactions with others (Ciorba et al, 2012). Additionally, a person’s hearing loss can affect his or her personal and social relationships with a significant other (Brooks et al, 2001). Although hearing aids may help to improve the quality of life for people with hearing loss, residual difficulties can remain. Group aural rehabilitation programs that include individuals with hearing loss and their spouses, children, or caregivers can be instrumental in addressing the residual effects that remain after the hearing aid fitting. These programs are not simply something that is added to the audiologists’ role. Instead, they are the underlying essential components of the compassionate care that audiologists provide to their patients (Abrahamson and Wayner, 2000). But is it really that important to include significant others in group aural rehabilitation? One study evaluated the benefit of including communication partners in a typical aural rehabilitation group experience (Preminger, 2003). The results revealed that, although all individuals benefited from the program, those who participated along with a communication partner demonstrated significantly more benefit on a measure of hearing-loss-related quality of life than individuals who participated alone. Research consistently demonstrates the benefits of group aural rehabilitation. For example, a study conducted by Abrams et al (2002) analyzed the benefit of group aural rehabilitation programs in relation to the cost of providing these services. The study determined that those who participated in group aural rehabilitation programs showed a statistically significant improvement in quality of life. Additionally, participation in group aural rehabilitation programs is an effective strategy to address the stigma associated with hearing loss (Hetu, 1996). By meeting and interacting with other individuals who have a hearing loss, group members can share their experiences of hearing difficulties and unsatisfactory social interactions. This activity helps participants to realize that they are not the only ones to have experienced negative feelings about their hearing problems. As a result, participants may begin to have a more positive attitude about themselves. In a group aural rehabilitation program, individuals are likely to learn appropriate coping strategies and experience success in using these strategies when they interact with others. This content is an exclusive benefit for American Academy of Audiology members. If you're a member, log in and you'll get immediate access. Member Login If you're not yet a member, you'll be interested to know that joining not only gives you access to top-notch resources like this one, but also invitations to member-only events, inclusion in the member directory, participation in professional forums, and access to patient resources, tools, and continuing education. Join today!