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.
- 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.
- 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.