Wednesday, August 20, 2014

ACOUSTIC HIGHLIGHTING

Auditory Verbal  Techniques

ACOUSTIC HIGHLIGHTING © Judith Simser

“Motherese” (a form of acoustic highlighting) is speech used by parents/caregivers in talking with young children to help them in learning language.  Its use is extended in communicating with a child who is hearing impaired to increase the audibility of language.  As a child learns to listen, the aim is to progress toward a more normal, less highlighted mode of communication.

Examples of acoustic highlighting are as follows:

MORE AUDIBLE
(for a beginning child)
PROGRESSING TO
LESS HIGHLIGHTING
(for a child who is listening well)
No background noise

Increased background noise
6” from hearing aid or cochlear implant

Increased distance from hearing aid or cochlear implant
Slightly slower rate

Normal rate
Increased pitch variation (sing what you say)

Normal rhythm
Clearer enunciation (use of “clear” speech)

Less clear and/or unfamiliar voice
Increased repetition

No repetition
Greater acoustic contrast (vowel variation, rhythm contrast, number of syllables)

Less varied (minimal pairs, same syllables, similar rhythm)
Simpler language with shorter phrases

Complex sentences
Emphasis on key words

No emphasis on key words
Emphasis on unaccentuated words (prepositions, articles, verb tenses, pronouns)

No emphasis
Word position in sentence:
End of sentence
Middle of sentence
Beginning of sentence
Closed set

Open set

However, having reached the goal of less highlighting it must be remembered that there are many acoustic environments where acoustic highlighting may continue to be necessary as it is with those who have normal hearing.

Judith I. Simser, O.Ont., B.Ed., Cert. AVT 
Consultant in Childhood Hearing Impairment
Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

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