Eyes Open...Hearing Technology On!
By Hearing First Team October 6, 2015
Learning LSL requires access to all the speech sounds when a child with hearing loss is awake. Learn why proper, constant use of hearing technology is so important for brain development.
During the first few years of life, babies are awake between 7-10 hours every 24-hour period. As the parent of a young infant, there’s a lot for you to focus on in the short moments when your baby is alert and ready to learn. You’re juggling new tasks – diaper changes, feedings, and dressing – and in each moment, you’re learning more and more about your baby.
For an infant diagnosed with hearing loss, there are some other very important tasks that your pediatric audiologist and early interventionist will ask you to add to your daily schedule:
- Perform hearing aid checks
- Perform listening checks
- Observe your baby’s response to sound
- Make sure hearing aids are worn during all waking hours
This may seem like a simple list, but when you’re new to both parenting and hearing loss, these tasks may seem like a challenge at first.
Why are these tasks so important?
Babies with typical hearing have access to all the speech sounds. When awake, they’re always listening and that means they’re learning. It’s critical for brain development that babies hear you talking, singing, and reading in the early years. This is the way they learn to listen and talk.
For a baby with hearing loss, having constant access to sound for those same listening and learning opportunities is just as important. So to avoid missing out on critical moments of interaction with you, be vigilant and make sure their hearing aids are on their ears and working properly whenever they are awake.
Keeping hearing aids on little ears can be quite a challenge, but in “baby time,” every minute counts!
Think about your baby’s current schedule.
Is your baby a night owl and awake a lot during the night?
- Put the hearing aids on during those times when your baby is awake for extended moments. You’ll know when your baby is alert and ready to listen or drowsy and ready to sleep.
- It’s a challenge when you’re sleep deprived and practically falling asleep yourself during those late night feedings, so do your best and make decisions based on what is best for you and your baby.
Is your baby a little napper and awake for only short moments of time through the day and night?
- If this is the case, you can put the hearing aids on and leave them on during the day. Your baby needs to hear you talking, singing, and reading, even if they are only awake and alert for short moments at a time.
- Keep the hearing aids on for as much time as possible for diaper changes, feeding, rocking, singing lullabies, and sharing a book together.
Keep it simple.
Every minute counts for your baby to hear all of the sounds of speech for early brain development. To keep that in perspective, it may be easiest to just remember, repeat, and live by this helpful motto: “Eyes Open…Hearing Technology On!”