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)!
Go on a listening walk and cue child to listen to sound around him/her (e.g., firetruck, birds, dogs, rain)
Make sure to cue child to listen before presenting any auditory information (e.g., word, direction, story)
Turn TV or music off at home when playing with your child
Think about your positioning and distance from child when providing important auditory information
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)
Present each Ling sound and observe for identification of sounds (e.g., repeating, pointing to a Ling toy associated with the sound)
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
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
When teaching the child his/her first words, emphasize suprasegmental features (e.g., pitch, duration, loudness) of words (e.g., uh-OH, weeEE)
If teaching child plural –s, emphasize and draw out –s at the ends of words (e.g., hats, shirts)
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”)
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!