Education & Counseling as a Component of Aural Rehab with Dr. Dusty
“What I realized was that it’s got to be more fun, there’s got to be more pictures, and there has to be a system to it for patients to actually remember what we’re teaching them.” – Dr. Dusty
Dr. Dusty Jessen is an audiologist, speaker, and founder of 5 Keys Communication. She became interested in aural rehab and communication strategies after seeing her grandmother and mother both struggle with hearing loss. Dr. Robert Sweetow’s book “Counseling and Hearing Aid Fittings” spurred her on to pursuing this type of education and resources.


During her time working part-time in an ENT office, Dr. Jessen was given the flexibility to work with patients and tweak certain handouts based on feedback she received from them. She realized that she needed to find a way to make the information more fun and engaging, which laid the groundwork for the 5 Keys Communication packet. Dr. Jessen is an advocate for aural rehab and says that it is the most ethical way to set yourself apart from your competition. With every new patient, Dr. Jessen goes over the 5 Keys Communication method and tries to get patients plugged in to external resources like HLAA if they are interested.

The 5 Keys are:

  • Speaker
  • Listener
  • Environment
  • Technology
  • Practice

While the 5 Keys can be communicated in a group setting, Dr. Jessen usually works with patients individually rather than gathering them all for a group session. However, one of her goals for the future is to create a community of audiologists in the same geographical region who combine forces to send their patients to a group class! She is also working on more online resources for providers and patients, which she wants to make very valuable but also inexpensive

Dr. Jessen emphasizes the importance and impact of aural rehab on patients with varying levels of hearing loss and empowering them with the 5 Keys and a successful communication plan to put in place to improve their quality of life. Additionally, she recommends auditory training programs such as clEAR and HearCoach to many of her patients to supplement her work with them.


Finally, Dr. Jessen explains how aural rehab increases revenue and saves time for the provider by getting patients more engaged with the process, more satisfied, and more likely to refer their friends and family to that provider as well!

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