MED-EL Corp, Durham, NC,  has introduced SoundScape, a new rehabilitation initiative, into its online resource center. 

SoundScape is a part of the company’s BRIDGE to Better Communication program. These free, interactive listening activities are designed to provide cochlear implant users, parents, therapists, and teachers with a fun and engaging way to approach listening therapy and practice.

The games are accessible from MED-EL’s Web site, where users can choose from a variety of listening activities designed for different age groups and different experiences, including songs and music. Each activity has downloadable materials for additional listening practice and reinforcement. New games will be added to create a library of activities to motivate children and adults with hearing loss to improve their listening skills.

“We’re excited to add these free tools to our compendium of rehabilitation materials,” says Darla Franz, MA CCC-A, director of education and corporate communications at MED-EL North America, who also oversees the BRIDGE program.  “For both children and adults, staying engaged in the rehabilitation process is key to maximizing their success with a cochlear implant. It is especially exciting to highlight games that go beyond speech recognition to include music listening skills."

For children ages 2 and older, the game Old MacDonald Had a Farm uses the popular children’s song to guide children to listen closely and choose the animal that Old MacDonald is singing about. The online game introduces the song using eight animals: sheep, cow, cat, pig, snake, mouse, dog, and donkey, each with their own distinct sounds. Features include a farmer whose mouth moves when he is singing, and animals’ eyes that follow the cursor around the screen. The child is rewarded for correct answers by collecting the animals in baskets.

Other programs will be available for children 6 years and older, 10 years and older, and teens. Adult assistance may be required for some children, especially those who are unable to use a mouse. Parents and users also have the ability to provide feedback by rating the programs.

The adult program, The Sentence Matrix, is designed for practicing speech recognition at the sentence level. The player chooses the listening conditions (eg, male or female talker, noise level, speed of speech) and number of sentences.

BRIDGE to Better Communication is a comprehensive support program that MED-EL has developed in cooperation with worldwide experts. The program is designed especially for hearing loss professionals, schools, cochlear implant users, and parents, to help close the gap between implantation and the development of improved listening skills and spoken communication. It consists of a variety of products, resources, and materials for adult and pediatric habilitation, assessment, and device management.

This process begins with identifying the implant user’s current skills, setting realistic expectations and goals, ensuring the best possible device function, and improving communication skills each day. A variety of habilitation materials can help guide and motivate users and the professionals toward achieving the best possible communicative competence.

Since its founders developed one of the world’s first cochlear implants in 1975, MED-EL has set new standards in hearing implant technologies, developing and manufacturing technologically advanced hearing solutions for people with varying degrees of hearing loss. MED-EL hearing implant systems combine the latest scientific advances, engineering, and manufacturing techniques for performance, safety, and reliability.

[Source: MED-EL]