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Friday, August 22, 2008

Training The Brain to Hear Better

Discover's September 2008 issue has an interesting article called "Mental Fitness" by Kathleen McAuliffe which describes Posit Science's Brain Fitness system. The article is mainly about improving cognitive skills but a short section on improving auditory processing caught my eye. Here's a quote from the article:

"The Posit Science system strives to enhance the speed and accuracy of auditory processing and recall in the elderly. Exercises that become more difficult teach discrimination of tones of different frequencies and speech sounds that the elderly often confuse. In many instances the computer slows down difficult-to-discern syllables and then gradually speeds them up to match the more challenging conditions in which natural conversation occurs."

This grabbed my attention because on paper my hearing is like that of an elderly person's. If this system works for senior citizens, could it work for me? I went to the Posit Science website to learn more.

There I found an interesting demo for Speech in Noise. You can take a short test and compare your results with the average scores for people 60 and under and people 60 and over. I took the test twice and scored on the low end of the average for people age 60 and over. Well, we did know I was hard of hearing, right? I took the test a third time with the volume cranked way up and then managed to improve my score on the demo test to the low end of those age 60 and under. Obviously I am a candidate for improvement in auditory processing.

So how much is the Brain Fitness system? A mere $395 - completely out of my budget. I'm wondering if anyone else who is middle aged and hard of hearing has tried it out and had any success with it. If I knew it would really improve my ability to process sounds, then it might be worth pursuing and saving for, but until then I will have to pass.

1 comment:

Karen said...

Ouch, that's quite a fee!