In For Parents, Tips & Tricks

It can be simple to practice your listening skills when you’re with an audiologist or speech language pathologist—as easy as doing the games or tasks they have prepared—but what happens when you’re not with your hearing professional? If you’re at home, what can you do?

Here are some games and exercises that you can use to develop your listening skills even further on your own. Remember, practice makes perfect and over time you might start to surprise yourself.

Start With Yourself

As you start to practice, it’s always a good idea to begin by listening to your own voice. This is because you’ll probably be most familiar with your own voice, as opposed to someone else’s voice, and can talk at your own pace and repeat as needed.

What should you speak? Poetry, books, magazines, anything where you can practice saying a wide variety of words or make different sounds. You could either read aloud, or record your own voice and play it back as you follow along with the text. Both ways are beneficial. If you have a recording app on your phone or computer, that should work just fine for these exercises.

Practice With Others

If you have friends or family around ask them if they’re willing to help you. If you’re early in your hearing journey it could help to start with just one person, so that you can become familiar with their specific voice and intonation.
Just like reading by yourself, have your friend or family member read or record different books or magazines. Listening to them read aloud is nice because you can use visual cues to support your listening, or you could record their voice for listening on the go.

With time, increase your level of difficulty by listening to voices of different genders, ages, or accents. Then start listening in different situations like on the phone, in a noisy environment, or having a group conversation with people whose voices are unfamiliar.

Another way to listen on the go is with audio books. If you’ve got the book in front of you, reading it while listening will help support the words that you are hearing. Don’t be afraid of starting with simple books either, like children’s books, because they’ll provide a good foundation for later development.

Take Advantage of Technology

TV and the internet provide great opportunities for practicing your listening while alone.

Just watching TV alone will always give you something to listen to, but there are specific types of shows that might prove more beneficial to your listening development. News stations, for example, will usually feature anchors and reporters who speak clearly and in a straightforward manner. Or just like reading children’s books, you can try watching children’s shows as they are designed to be easily listened to and understood. Using subtitles can help to self-check what you think you are listening to.

Music videos can also provide a wealth of different styles of singing and music to listen to. Some videos will be uploaded with the lyrics on the screen which, like subtitles, can help you to self-check as you listen.

Finally, there are programs or apps specifically designed to help you develop your listening skills. We’ve got a suite of interactive and downloadable listening activities for recipients of all ages as well as the Continents & Oceans mobile app for iOS and Android devices. You can also contact your local MED-EL representative to learn about more rehabilitation materials that you can get from them, like our recently-updated Hear at Home exercises.

This post was written with help from Joanna Brachmaier, a rehabilitation and education specialist at MED-EL.

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