Deaf adults could benefit from Auditory-Verbal Therapy or an auditory-verbal approach to assist cochlear implant (CI) rehabilitation. AVT could be appropriate for those adults who have had a deteriorating loss or a sudden loss of hearing. In addition it could also assist those adults who have had a congenital hearing loss and were educated using an auditory-verbal approach and then transferred from hearing aids to a cochlear implant. The rationale for suggesting AVT is because the adult CI recipients described would have already developed an ability to communicate through listening. That is their auditory cortex has been developed for listening and they will have a memory of spoken language. The AVT approach could facilitate the redevelopment of auditory skills with a cochlear implant. AVT was pioneered and introduced by Doreen Pollack and Helen Beebe because their belief was that children with hearing impairment could learn to listen and speak. They understood that the child’s parents or carers would need to be educated in the AVT techniques. These included understanding the audiological needs of the child and the development of speech and language. To this end they developed the first AVT programs for hearing impaired children and their parents.
Judy Simser the mother of a deaf child and subsequently a world leader of AVT stated the following: “AVT is the link between theory and practice. It teaches parents how to create an auditory learning environment for their child to develop spoken language through listening alone during natural, meaningful communication.” AVT was intended for children but could be adapted for adults. Children require a parent or carer to facilitate listening and communication. Without that support the child would find it very difficult to acquire spoken language. Fortunately the adult CI recipient would have acquired speech and language. However, due their significant hearing loss the ability to hear spoken language and other auditory information such as music and environmental signals has been lost or diminished. In most cases the hearing impaired adult loses the confidence to fully participate in the regular ‘hearing world’. Unfortunately they can often become withdrawn and lonely. If the CI recipient wishes to maximise the benefits of cochlear implantation it would be an advantage to have a personal mentor in addition to their audiologist and speech pathologist. The mentor could be the person’s partner or close relative or friend - someone whom the CI recipient has a positive and trusting relationship. AVT approach could enhance the CI recipient’s ability to regain their auditory skills to facilitate auditory comprehension of language and the confidence to use spoken language for everyday function. This enables the CI recipient with the ability to participate with family, friends, colleagues and community members. AVT has a hierarchy of listening skills and both the mentor and the CI recipient would need to understand what this means as they are guided through the rehabilitation process.