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Creating an Auditory Rich Environment for Children Who Have Hearing Loss

Last weekend I had the privilege of presenting as part of SpeakEasy Speech and Language's Virtual Speech and Hearing Meeting. I spoke about creating an auditory rich environment for children who have hearing loss using spoken language. I have spent the last few years of my career specializing in assessing and treating children with hearing loss who use hearing aids and cochlear implants and I am currently pursuing my Listening and Spoken Language Specialist certification. If your child has hearing loss or you are a therapist who works with children who have hearing loss, here are a few strategies and examples of activities that you can do to support your child's auditory, speech and language development at home with a new listeners or more experienced listener (2+ years of listening experience)!

New Listener:

Go on a listening walk and cue child to listen to sound around him/her (e.g., firetruck, birds, dogs, rain)


Experienced Listener:

Make sure to cue child to listen before presenting any auditory information (e.g., word, direction, story)




New Listener:

Turn TV or music off at home when playing with your child


Experienced Listener:

Think about your positioning and distance from child when providing important auditory information





New Listener:

Present each Ling sound and observe for a detection response (e.g., child stopping what he/she is doing, child turning to search for the source of the sound)


Experienced Listener:

Present each Ling sound and observe for identification of sounds (e.g., repeating, pointing to a Ling toy associated with the sound)


New Listener:

While playing with a toy cow, first say “moo” (cow out of sight), then show the child the cow and say “moo” at the same time, then say “moo” again without the toy


Experienced Listener:

Before reading with a child, tell the child what book you are going to read, then show the child the cover and repeat what you are going to read, then turn the cover away and repeat again


New Listener

When teaching the child his/her first words, emphasize suprasegmental features (e.g., pitch, duration, loudness) of words (e.g., uh-OH, weeEE)


Experienced Listener

If teaching child plural –s, emphasize and draw out –s at the ends of words (e.g., hats, shirts)




New Listener

While singing a child’s favorite song, pause during repetitive familiar lines and wait for child to fill in the blank (e.g., Ei ei __ “oh”)


Experienced Listener

Say a common phrase without one word (e.g., Drink your ____,, Brush your ___) and encourage the child to fill in the blank independently or provide possible answer choices



These are just a few ideas. All of these strategies can be used during your daily routines, playing games, doing crafts, following directions, reading books, and cooking. Have more questions about your child with hearing loss? Don't hesitate to reach out!

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