Make Listening Easier
Hearing devices have become amazing pieces of technology, but just having hearing technology is not enough. Getting enriched auditory information through the technology to your baby’s brain is critical to your baby’s learning. That is, your baby needs to experience meaningful talking, reading, and singing and have the chance to listen, both inside and outside the home.
MAKE YOUR HOME QUIETER
Our homes and other places where we spend our time are usually filled with noise, which can make it hard to listen to clear and meaningful speech. As a parent, you can make listening easier by paying attention to surrounding noise and making small changes that will improve your baby’s ability to listen to the information that has reached your baby’s brain.
Homes are usually noisy, but there are some simple ways you can make it quieter for your baby, in order to grow auditory connections in your baby’s brain that are clear and accurate.
- Turn off the TV or music when talking, reading, or playing with your baby.
- Run noisy appliances, like washers, dryers, and dishwashers, when your baby is sleeping.
- Take your baby to a quieter room to change their diaper or feed them, so they can hear you as you talk to them.
- Add carpet or rugs to areas where you spend the most time. Décor choices like these can help reduce noise.
Check for noise levels by going on a “listening walk” around your home or the places your baby uses frequently. As you go, make a note of the things you could change to improve sound and noise levels. Download a sound level meter (SLM) app for your mobile device so you can measure the noise levels in every environment, both inside and outside of the home. Many apps are free, and each comes with a manual explaining use and interpretation of the measurements. Even small changes made to your baby’s listening environments can make a big difference.
TALK NEAR YOUR BABY’S EARS
The further you are away from your baby’s ears and hearing devices, the harder it is for your baby’s brain to receive full auditory information. Staying close is easier when your baby is a newborn because you hold them close to care for them. As your baby gets older and moves around, you’ll want to make sure you stay close to them (within 3 feet) when talking. This is especially important in noisy environments that you can’t control, such as daycare rooms, restaurants, and grocery stores.
Ask about assistive listening devices
Your audiologist can recommend devices that help make listening in noisy places easier for your baby. For example, FM systems are a popular option. With this device, your baby hears your voice as if you were very close.
Talk to your pediatric audiologist and early interventionist about the best devices for you and your child that will allow your child’s brain to receive clear and complete auditory information in all environments.
TALK WITH NORMAL LOUDNESS
When talking with other adults, like family and friends, you’re usually speaking at a conversational level – not too loud or too soft. If your baby has trouble hearing, raising your voice may seem like it will help. But, loud voices actually make listening harder. The best way to talk to your baby is at a normal speaking volume, which allows them to hear better and more clearly. Speaking a little slower with an interesting melody will also help your baby’s developing brain understand the information.
USE YOUR BEST TALKING VOICE - Some people think that babies with hearing loss need us to talk louder. There are better ways to talk so you make listening easier.