Tips & Tricks For Adults

Places And Spaces – Listening Practice With Maps

Following the popularity of our previous listening activities and handouts for adult cochlear implant rehabilitation, here is another customizable activity to add to your home listening practice. Last month you practiced family and friends’ names, this month we focus on the places you spend your time and talk about with your family and friends.

Take a look at our previous blogs to learn more about communication strategies to improve your daily interactions, tips for listening practice, and how to make listening activities easier or more difficult depending on your listening skills.

For this activity, you will need a map (printed or viewed online), and a communication partner to give you directions. This activity aims to help you to listen for and identify the names of places and key directions in isolation and in short sentences.

Find a map that is relevant to you so that you gain practice listening to the names of places you visit and talk about regularly. This could be a map of your town, university campus, suburb, a public transport map or even a simple map you have drawn to include important places such as friend’s houses, sporting clubs, or shops. The map doesn’t necessarily have to be accurate; this practice is about listening to and identifying important words and phrases.

Maps can easily be found online for free, or you can customize the map included in our handout by adding street names and locations.


Download the handout here. 


Tip:  Have your communication partner use listening first. Practice using clarification strategies when you have not understood your communication partner. If it is still difficult after three tries add lip-reading cues, visual cues (e.g., a hand gesture for “turn left”), or written choices. If it is still difficult, have your communication partner show you the written word/sentence and say it again as you read along. This should be a fun but not frustrating activity.


Activity 1:  With your communication partner, write a list of places that are meaningful to you, and that are included on your map. This could include street names, friend’s houses, shops, cafes, workplaces, sporting facilities or clubs. There is space provided on your handout under Activity 1. Your communication partner will say one of the places. Try to identify the place through listening. If this is too difficult, ask your communication partner to show you 3 options. Listen again and try to identify the place.


Activity 2: A list of common directions is provided on your handout under Activity 2. Your communication partner will say one of the directions. Listen then point to or say the direction. Continue until you have identified each of the directions. Some of the directions may sound similar. If this listening activity is difficult use one of the tips above to make the task easier. Add additional personalized directions which can be used with your map.


Activity 3: Your communication partner will identify and point to a ‘start’ location on the map. They will also identify (but keep secret) a destination on the map. Your communication partner will give you a series of directions to guide you from the start location to the destination. An example is given under Activity 3. Your communication partner will pause after each direction, indicate to them where you have reached on the map. Your communication partner will confirm you are in the right place or indicate that you are off course. Use a clarification strategy to check what was said or to gain more information about the direction. For example, ask your communication partner to;

  • Provide a keyword “Did you say turn right after the grocery store?”
  • Change delivery “Could you say that a little slower please.”
  • Rephrase “Could you say that in a different way?”
  • Simplify “Can you say that in a simpler way?”


If you are still unable to follow the direction, have your communication partner repeat the direction and add lip-reading or give you three written choices to choose from. Continue until you have reached the destination.

In this activity, you moved from identifying keywords (places), to identifying short directions, and then to following more complex directions. You also practiced using a range of clarification strategies during this activity to expand your toolbox of go-to strategies for smoother communication.

Play again, practice with different maps and locations, and ask your communication partner for more complex instructions if becomes too easy!


Looking for more adult rehab activities? Discover them all here on the MED-EL blog!

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