The following strategies can be used with your child who is deaf, hard of hearing or is suspected of having a hearing loss.  By using these strategies, you are helping your child to make the most of listening and to gain confidence in their ability to understand based on listening alone.

Hearing Technology

  • Wear hearing technology (hearing aids/cochlear implants) during all waking hours.
  • Perform listening checks daily and every time your child does not seem to be responding appropriately.

Listening Environment

  • Avoid distractors and background noise in learning situations.
  • Speak clearly at a regular voice volume and use a natural rate of speech. Do not exaggerate your mouth movements.
  • Get down to your child’s “ear” level and sit close to their better ear (the ear that responses better to the hearing technology).
  • Speak close to the microphone of your child’s hearing technology.

Strategies to Facilitate Listening and Language Development

  • Draw your child’s attention to all sounds in the environment.
  • Encourage your child to find the source of the sound and to identify it.
  • Use a body language/posture that facilitates listening (e.g. leaning into sounds, pointing to your ear).
  • Present your message through listening only the first time.
  • Pause/wait after presenting information through listening (e.g. wait after shaking a rattle, calling your child’s name and/or asking a question) to allow your child to process the information and respond.
  • Obtain your child’s attention through listening (e.g. try not to tap your child to get their attention).
  • Observe, wait and listen, then follow your child’s lead.
  • Repeat the sounds your child makes and have them repeat sounds that you make.
  • Recognize your child’s communication attempts and verbally interpret their meaning.
  • Provide your child with reasons for listening and talking.
  • Encourage your child to use their voice to make something happen.
  • Read, sing and play with your child.
    • Young children like to hear the same stories and play the same games over again.  Leave out familiar words or parts of the story/song for your child to fill in.
    • Provide appropriate play activities for your child’s chronological and hearing age (the length of time your child has worn the hearing technology).
  • Take advantage of daily routines. Talk about everything you and your child are doing and the things you see.
  • Reword sentences and questions to build vocabulary and/or enhance comprehension.
  • Talk and expect your child to understand even when they are not looking at you.
  • Use an interesting and animated voice. Make your voice go up and down in loudness and pitch.
  • At first, keep your language short and simple.  Try to stay one level above your child’s current language skills.
  • Emphasize the key words (i.e. Do you want a cookie?) to enhance comprehension.
  • Aim for comprehension from the earliest stages.
  • Monitor, record and discuss your child’s progress with professionals involved.
  • Expect appropriate behaviour.