The Value of Self-Help Groups

January 26, 2011

Brenda Battat-HLAA Executive Director.jpg According to our latest  MarkeTrak VIII publication on best practices and their relationship to successful hearing aid user outcomes (Hearing  Review, 11/2010) only 2% of experienced and new users of hearing aids were referred to a self-help or peer-support group by their hearing health professional. When we first saw this figure it was a shocker.

At BHI we believe that counseling in all of its many forms are critical to a successful consumer journey with hearing aids. As a means of stimulating more referrals to self-help groups especially for new users we invited America's expert on peer-support groups Brenda Battat, Executive Director of Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) to write a consumer piece on the value of self-help groups for inclusion in our BHI portfolio on Aural Education.

In her article titled "Regaining Control of Your Life Through Self-Help Groups" Brenda discusses the importance of self-help groups in providing counseling and learning and sharing about hearing loss/solution issues. She ends with 12 reasons why self-help groups are good for you, which are repeated here.

Twelve Reasons Why Self-help Groups are Good for You

Self-help groups:

  • Provide a community of people with hearing loss who understand and are empathic to your unique problems
  • Help you deal with the issues of hearing loss stigma
  • Will help you understand your legal rights as a person with a hearing disability
  • Will teach you coping and communication strategies
  • Will help you to adjust and communicate your needs in a "hearing" workplace
  • Will share technologies beyond your hearing aids that will enhance your ability to function in the world
  • Will educate you on technologies and strategies for ensuring your safety
  • Will show you how to stay tuned into family conversations
  • Will suggest strategies for communicating in noisy situations
  • Will show you how to accommodate your hearing loss while traveling
  • Will empower you through exchange of knowledge, encouragement and the sharing of experiences
  • Will alleviate the despair and isolation of hearing loss through their support
As with our other aural education articles we encourage hearing health professionals to share this material with your patients.

In our next issue we will continue our aural education series with the "Value of Auditory Retraining Therapy" authored by the father of auditory retraining therapy, Dr. Robert Sweetow.