Category Archives: listening skills

A sound start for listening


Week 15 Post Switch On.

We have finished our observation sessions at the Cochlear Implant Clinic now and have our last Mapping Session this week.  Effectively I have now been taught how to teach Harry how to listen. (say that quickly 20 times in a row)

If you read my last post I talked in detail about Harry’s listening and speech development. During my sessions at the CIC we have been looking at his awareness of sound, his understanding of the meaning of words and his ability to discriminate between words and environmental sounds.  Sound awareness is the first step in learning how to listen. A child starts to detect or respond to sounds around him once the implants have been switched on. Initially (being the first 3-4 months) Harry’s brain needs to distinguish between environmental sounds and voices. Environmental sounds such as the doorbell, the microwave ping, the coffee machine, a door knock are all part of his daily life and I am required to point out to him those sounds when they occur and say

“Listen Harry, hear that sound.

  That is a …”  and then repeat the sound if I can a few times so his brain has a chance to interpret and store that info for recollection when he hears the same sound in the future.

There are 6 core sounds referred to as LING 6 SOUNDS which represent different speech sounds from high to low pitch.

With these 6 sounds a child has access to all the speech sounds necessary for learning spoken language


A ( ahh sound) as in aeroplane

M (mmm sound) as in mummy, more

I ( ee sound) as in the  sound of a monkey or ee-or of a donkey

U (ooo sound) as in the  twit-twoo sound of an owl

SH as in Shh the baby is sleeping

The next step is associating meaning to sound. The child will start to associate a sound with its related object and start to recognise familiar phrases.  Sounds are now becoming meaningful to him.

AAA- aeroplane,  Pu-pu-pu-  boat,  Mooo- cow,  Brmm- beep , beep- car,  Baaaa- sheep, 

Cheep, cheep- baby chicken,  Meow- cat,  Woof, woof- dog

To associate meaning to sound it is simply spending as much time as we can , one on one, with no distractions or background noise, repeating the sounds with a toy, a puzzle piece, a book,  whatever we can , to show him that a sound is linked to an object.

At Week 15 we have clocked up the following words that Harry repeats and recognises as linked to an object:

  1. Mumm- mummy
  2. Baa- sheep
  3. Moo- cow
  4. shh- for baby sleeping

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Teaching Harry how to listen

We are concentrating our focus on teaching Harry how to listen so he can then learn to speak.

This is an adaptation of another mother’s list of best practice in developing listening skills leading to speech

Use a moderate, clear voice.

Use full sentences and model language correctly.

Talk, talk, talk – about every activity you do with him. Don’t miss a chance to have a conversation whenever you can, and be close by and at his eye and ear level. However don’t talk about abstract things- talk about what Harry is interested in

Give Harry a chance to talk back. Ask him a question and wait, wait, wait. Count slowly to five. Only then provide the answer if he has not yet responded.

Reward approximations. If you say ‘cup’ and he says ‘oo’, don’t correct him, just say, ‘that’s right, it’s a cup, good talking Harry, you said cup’.

Sing songs that are fun and include actions.

‘Communicate’ – When Harry makes sounds, copy and make them back, and then vary it and start a new sound and see if Harry will copy it back.

Minimise background noise – turn off the tv, washing machine, etc. It makes it very hard for Harry to hear properly.

Say it before he sees it eg. ‘Do you want a drink Harry.” Give him a chance to think about what you are asking, then show him the drink. Do you want to read a book Harry.” Wait, then show him the book.

– To teach him that words mean something.
– To teach him how to listen- how to distinguish between different sounds (much harder for him than a hearing baby).

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