Learning time isn’t just during rehabilitation sessions—language learning happens every single hour of your child’s life while using their cochlear implant!
A car beeping, a squeaky shopping cart, a dog barking—these might be background noise for you, but are brand new sounds for your child to learn. You can help your child to learn new and important sounds every day, simply by getting out of the house together.
Remember, sessions with your therapist and audiologist are only a small part of your child’s rehabilitation. Children learn by interacting with people close to them through routine and daily activities. This could be going shopping, going to the doctor’s, walking the dog, or having lunch together.
Here are some ideas for helping your child—using all the everyday sounds around you.
Get outside for walks in different environments. These are valuable experiences for your child after receiving their cochlear implant. Take your child on daily errands such as to the shops, or simply take a walk around your neighborhood.
When you child first hears sound through their device, they may be overwhelmed by all the noise in everyday life. They may need help identifying and differentiating certain sounds. When your child reacts to a specific sound, indicate that you heard it too by either turning to the sound or looking for it. Point to your ear and say “I heard that, it’s the ….” and include the name of the object. Go towards the object and name it again. If it is a sound you can make yourself, such as leaves rustling, make the sound again. Talk about the object and its sound throughout the day to help your child remember it.
Building on your therapy sessions
Your therapist will introduce your child to new sounds and words in each session together. The words you use at home should also be used in your therapy. For example, if you use “glass” instead of “cup” at home, ask your child’s therapist to use the same word. This may also include words for swimsuits bags, or drink containers. When you go on your listening walks, note the sounds your child reacts to and share them with the therapist. The therapist may be able to incorporate these sounds into their sessions to help your child remember them.
A variety of sounds
In everything you do with your child, be aware of what sounds they are paying attention to. It is important to remember that as your child’s listening skills grow, they may still need your help to explain different sounds. Some new sounds may be very similar to another sound you introduced to them, for example: a fire truck siren and a police siren. Keep an ear out for these sounds and watch for your child’s reactions to them:
Around the house:
- Alarm clock
- Car passing outside the house
- Cooking sounds
- Door shutting
- Power tools
- Radio and television
- Vacuum cleaner and washing machine
- Water running from the tap
On nature walks:
- Animal noises
- Creaky swings or gates
- Lawn mower
- Leaves rustling
- People’s voices
- Wind blowing through the trees
In the street:
- Car alarm and horns
- Church bells
- Fire engine or police car siren
- Ice cream truck
- Crosswalk oral indicators
- Transport noises
- People talking
- Squeaky carts
- Checkout register
- Voice over the loudspeaker
- People talking
- Plates and cutlery clinking
- Coffee machine sound
For children up to the age of 3, please refer to our free resource online LittlEARS Diary Activities. This has information and support for the first 28 weeks of your child’s development after the fitting of a hearing implant.
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