A listening diary can be one of the most effective ways of tracking your child’s listening development over months and years. By keeping track of each day’s or week’s hearing-related developments and challenges you can create a resource that helps you, your child, and your child’s therapists.
(If your child has just received his or her cochlear implant, we’ve put together the LittlEars Diary and filled it with activities that can help jumpstart his or her communication and listening development in the first 28 weeks after implantation.)
How Can a Listening Diary Help You?
It can help you to find the most effective ways to help your child learn to listen and communicate.
And it can help your child’s audiologist or therapist get a complete picture of your child’s development, with critical information and observations about your child that just aren’t possible to observe in the few hours of interaction that your therapist and family have together each week.
What’s in a Listening Diary?
Like most diaries, a listening diary should be filled with information about each day’s events with your child—but this one is all about your child’s hearing and listening skills.
You can start by personalizing it with your child, including things like:
- a title page with a name like “Andy’s Listening Diary!”
- a recent picture
- a list of the important dates in your child’s life like his or her birthdate, when he or she received the cochlear implant, when it was activated, and other big milestones
- pictures of your child throughout his or her implantation, playing with parents and siblings, or while doing rehabilitation activities
- notes on your child’s listening and communication development from their implantation to the present
Then set up the rest of the diary to keep regular entries on your child’s hearing and listening development.
What should you be looking out for? Of course it will depend on your specific child’s age and how long he or she has had a hearing implant.
So, here are some general questions that you can use to customize your child’s listening diary to your child:
- Wearing the audio processor: Does your child wear his or her audio processor all the time? If he or she doesn’t, why not? What strategies have you tried to get your child to wear the processor again—which ones work, and which ones don’t?
- Reacting to sounds: How does your child react to sounds around him or her? How does your child react to your voice? Does he or she turn towards new sounds? Are there any sounds he/she doesn’t like?
- Reacting to musical sounds: How does your child respond to music or rhymes? Does he or she sway with the rhythm, or sing or hum along?
- Learning new words: What new words has your child learned this week or month? How long does it take him or her to understand and start using any specific word?
- Using language: Has your child started speaking in phrases or sentences? How about using prepositions, pronouns, or the past tense? Have you noticed him or her speaking with more complex structures?
You don’t need to focus exclusively on hearing and listening development: including notes about your child’s general behavior, social skills, and motor skills can help to give context to the information about hearing and listening.
What Should You Do With The Diary?
Don’t just write in it, read it! Every so often go back through the most recent entries to get a feel for how your child is progressing. Maybe you’ll recognize some common themes that come up over and over again, which you didn’t notice before:
- What breakthroughs have you had?
- Have you been able to overcome any challenges?
- Are there any situations where your child consistently hears well? Or not so well?
Share this information with all the professionals who work with your child. It can help them in suggesting new learning strategies to help your child develop communication and listening skills more quickly, or help your child’s audiologist better adjust your child’s MAP to adjust the sounds your child hears.
If you and your child have a listening diary, are there any tips you’d share with a parent starting their own? Let us know in the comments below!
This post was written with help from cochlear implant rehabilitation specialist Janani Jeyaraman.