Friday, December 20, 2013

Products To Keep Hearing Aids/Cochlear Implants On - All Waking Hours.

    Eyes Open Hearing Aids or Cochlear Implants On!

"If your baby wears hearing aids only four hours each day,
it will take six years to give him as much listening experience
as a normally hearing infant accumulates in one year."

(Stovall, D. [1982]. Teaching Speech to Hearing Impaired Infants and Children. 
Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas.)
Click HERE to visit my Pinterest Board with product ideas for all ages!



The auditory portion of the brain needs to be developed before a child can use hearing to learn speech, language, social skills and reading. To develop the auditory brain, a child needs to hear ALL DAY long, every day. The speech the child hears needs to be clear and loud enough to perceive soft speech sounds.  

- Typical hearing children hear 46 million words by age 4 years.

- Children need 20,000 hours of listening before they are ready to begin to learn how to read.

What does this mean for a child with hearing loss? It means that to be ready to start school like other children of the same age it is essential for the child to wear hearing aids every waking hour. Without consistent, all-day use of hearing aids the child is not likely to have language and social skills similar to age mates, nor will she be ready to learn to read at the same time. Even children with ‘mild’ hearing loss may have language more like 3 year olds when they are kindergarten age if they do not consistently use hearing aids. The important brain development period of the first year to two years cannot be made up later – children do not ‘catch up’ once they go to school.

What do hearing aids need to do?

Most of what a child learns she learns by overhearing  - not by someone speaking to her directly. For this to happen, hearing aids need to provide enough sound for a child to hear soft speech. Even with hearing aids, children will not hear ‘normally’ and may need three times the exposure to learn new words and concepts. Hearing high frequencies is very critical (such as the hearing the difference between cat, cap, calf, cast). For children to hear soft speech and high frequency speech sounds, we need to be certain that hearing thresholds with the hearing aids are at 20-25 dB for all speech sounds. Once the audiologist has set the hearing aids to provide sufficient benefit, parents need to take over and be certain hearing aids are working well every day.

Hearing aids need to be checked daily.

When a child gets a hearing aid, parents should get a listening tube  or hearing aid stethset. Each morning, someone needs to listen to the hearing aid to be sure it is working. Plug one end of the listening tube into the end of the earmold with the other end into your ear. Then just talk. Repeat the Ling Sounds (ah, ee, oo, mm, sh, ss) slowly, and then say some simple sentences. When listening every day, the sound of the hearing aid will become familiar and you will be able to hear a change if there is something wrong. If the hearing aid “sounds funny”, try taking off the earmold and check the hearing aid without the earmold. If it sounds okay without the earmold, check that the earmold is not clogged with wax, and check the earmold tubing to be sure it looks fine. If it still “sounds funny” and you know it is not a simple problem with the earmold then the hearing aid needs to go back to the audiologist to be checked. More information on Listening Checks can be gathered  HERE.


Avoiding Holiday “Hearing Fatigue” for Kids with Hearing Loss

Click HERE to read this valuable guest post written by Dr. Krystyann Krywko for the Center for Hearing and Communication.

Tips to Avoid Holiday “Hearing Fatigue” for Kids (and Adults too)  with Hearing Loss

"Holidays provide your family with a break from the ordinary, time spent with extended family and friends, and also a chance to reinforce traditions. However, jammed schedules and unpredictable routines, mixed with the sights and sounds of the holidays can add up to a season full of stress for your child with hearing loss. Do you hear what I hear?

Extra noise in an enclosed space can be overwhelming. “Holiday celebrations often have lots of people talking, background music, flashing lights, and decorations,” says Dr. Brad Ingrao, an audiologist based in Florida. “This extra stimulus can be exhausting for a child to sift through in order to communicate. If you are celebrating at home, designate your child’s bedroom as a safe “noise-free” place where they can retreat to. If you are out at a friend’s or relative’s home (or a restaurant) ask if there is a quiet spot that your child can go to if necessary. Even a short break from listening and extra stimulus can help her make it through the celebration. Take a break.

Adults are better equipped to power through a jam-packed holiday schedule of visits and special events. However, children need time to rest and recharge. Build in breaks throughout your day. Take the time to find a place where your child can rest prior to intensive events, such as a large family dinner or trip to a holiday show. Make it Accessible

Many holiday events such as religious services and holiday extravaganzas are held in large spaces. Plan accordingly for your child’s hearing access. Be sure to contact the venue to ask about extra amplification such as a microphone, or a hearing loop. And don’t hesitate to ask about preferential seating. Be Realistic!

As you approach the holiday season the most important thing to keep in mind is to keep you expectations realistic. Mary Sheedy Kurcinka, author of Raising Your Spirited Child, suggests that when you sit down to make your plans for the holiday season, to write out your plans and then cut them in half. Many parents sabotage themselves from the start thinking that they can do it all. Lighten up on the things you think you need to do, and focus more on the things that you and your family want to do to add meaning to your holiday.
"At age three, Krystyann’s son was diagnosed with a hearing loss that wasn’t present at birth. Her story took another turn when soon after she discovered her own late-onset hearing loss; wearing hearing aids is a mother-son experience in the Krywko family! She wrote a book about the experience – Late Onset Hearing Loss: A Parent’s Perspective of What to Do When Your Child is Diagnosed.
See more at:

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Storytelling with Rory's Story Cubes

This year, I purchased boxes and boxes of

Rory's Story Cubes
as Christmas presents for the school age children I see for therapy.

Overall, these Story Cubes are one of my favorite tools for listening and spoken therapy for both children with auditory processing needs and those with hearing loss. It’s compact, durable, and has many applications. I wouldn't be surprised if this was a game designed by a speech therapist or special education teacher.

 Here are a few targets that are can be your hidden agenda while playing one of the suggested games variations described on the box with your child.
Listening Skills – When used as a family game, the relatively small size of the pictures means that it’s hard for a child who wasn’t listening to just look at what his or her neighbor did and guess in order to continue the story or add ideas
Problem Solving – Interestingly, this skill is described on the game’s packaging. Trying to fit nine seemingly unrelated objects or actions into the same theme or story is a problem-solving skill that’s appropriate for children and encourages creativity.

Item Identification – Most of the icons in the game are easily identified, and if they’re not, that provides an excellent opportunity to make a series of educated guesses and to talk about.

Expressive Language – With dice that depict both nouns and verbs, you have the most basic components of a sentence – an excellent scaffold for all forms of spoken language development.

Use of conjunction and transition words - Here is a free printable list from my colleague at Print a copy and have it handy when telling stories. 

Remember to model these words when telling your stories and then you child will listen and incorporate conjunction and transition words in their storytelling.
You may want to add the Rory's Story Cubes Actions or Voyages 
Cube Sets to your collection!

Danielle Reed at Sublime Speech  shares other ideas for storytelling and offers free templates to download for storytelling. 

In addition, read as Danielle writes how to use the action dice is to practice verb tenses.

Check out below these links for bloggers who share how they use Rory Story Cubes in speech and language therapy.

Enjoy telling stories!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Using a Hearing Loop for Acoustic Access with Cochlear Implants

 Hearing and Watching the Nutcracker Ballet
with a Hearing Loop 

Click on: Let's Loop America

I shared this information with a school that has few children with cochlear implants, as they will be attending the Nutcracker Performance later this week. It was new information for them so I decided to write a post to help you, your child or student obtain acoustic access to such performances.  However, this information applies to any similar events or venues.

As background information a hearing loop system is an assistive listening device designed to enhance sound from a TV, phone or in this case a venue with an induction loop" system which magnetically transmits sound to hearing aids and cochlear implants by telecoil  (T-Coil).  Although, I am an audiologist this is not my area of expertise so I highly recommend seeking information at websites such as: as well as the cochlear implant or hearing aids manufacture's websites. I am providing this information as a service for the families I see for Auditory-Verbal therapy or as part of my LSL Consulting. 

A telecoil is like an invisible assistive listening system that delivers sound wirelessly by magnetic induction. The telecoil is a small coil of wire built inside the hearing device designed to pick up a magnetic signal (wireless) from another device such as a telephone or hearing loop. 

A hearing loop is a wire that is hidden under carpet, baseboards or around the perimeter of the room.  A loop unit converts the signal to telecoil. The signal is sent wireless from the loop to the hearing device, providing a personalized sound broadcast to both ears without any wires or headsets.

Ready to give a Hearing Loop a try?

Accessing a Hearing Loop with:

1. Advanced Bionics CIs with Harmony Processors.

 The Harmony Sound Processor contains a built-in telecoil option that can be enabled and downloaded to any of the processor’s three program locations.
You may need to check the latest audiological assessment or contact the programming Audiologist at to determine if T-Coil feature is active.
Then, in order for the T-Coil to be effective, the individual must have access to a looped system such as at the play’s venue. This will allow their T-Coils to receive the electromagnetic field generated by these devices.
(When using any assistive listening device a consideration is their Ci’s audio-mixing which refers to the amplification ratio between the processor microphone and an auxiliary input device such as an active T-Coil, FM System, or auxiliary device.  Audio-mixing allows the child’s processor microphone to remain on when connected to an auxiliary input, such as an active T-Coil, FM System, or auxiliary device. This is important because it enables the child to hear his own voice and sounds around him in addition to the input from the auxiliary device. The Audio-mixing is set for each program on the sound processor by the audiologist during programming. The default Audio-Mixing recommendation is 50/50.)
2. Cochlear Nucleus 5

Nucleus 5 Sound Processors that also have built-in telecoil. Again, check the most recent audiological assessment or contact their programming Audiologist to determine if T-Coil feature is in SIMPLE MODE or ADVANCED MODE.
The Cochlear Nucleus Support APP shows how this works and includes video clips.

 But basically, if the processors are programmed for Simple Mode just use a quick press. If programmed for Advanced Mode, press and hold.
Press the upper button. A single long flash of green confirms that the telecoil is turned on.
To turn the telecoil off while using the sound processor, press the upper button again. A single long flash of orange confirms that the telecoil is turned off.
To enable telecoil using the children's Remote Assistant, press the left side button until the telecoil icon appears.

Here is a printable fact sheet form the American Academy of Audiology

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Christmas Pinterest Board for Auditory Verbal Therapy

Click Here for listening and spoken
language ideas
for home or in parent centered therapy.
260 PINS!