Help Your Child With Hearing Loss Reach The 40 Million Word Goal

How many words does your child need to hear in the early years? Research tells us that children who hear at least 40 million words or more in the first four years of life develop early conversational skills, learn to read on time, do better in school and have more communication opportunities in the future. Read how you can help your child with hearing loss meet the 40 million word goal!

If your baby has been diagnosed with hearing loss and wears their hearing technology at least 10 hours per day, you can grow their brain to listen, talk and read on par with their hearing siblings and friends. How is this possible?

It’s About the Brain!
Your child’s brain just happens to be one of the most powerful processors of information on the planet. Brain science tells us that the first three years represent the most important window for brain growth and development. Your child’s brain comes to the world wired and ready to listen and learn language from you during the very interactions and conversations you have with them every single day. Every word, phrase, song and story you share with them becomes a permanent part of their brain’s ever growing network structure.

Hearing Technology Delivers Language to the Brain
Your child needs to hear all the language occurring around them. Today’s hearing technology makes it possible for their brain to have excellent access to all of the sounds of speech and language. Here are the most important steps to providing full access:

  • Make sure your child’s hearing technology is working at full capacity
  • Know the current status of your child’s hearing through daily listening checks
  • Keep your child’s hearing technology on 10+ hours per day

Your 40 Million Word Goal - Share Your Brain
The good news is that you already have all of the words in your own brain and your task is to pass them on to your child in the meaningful two-way conversations and interactions you have with them. Your child’s brain actually seeks and recognizes patterns in speech, songs, phrases and sentences, so every time you talk with them, you’re continuing to expand their existing and rapidly growing brain networks. Every word said is a seed with the potential to develop roots, branches, leaves and flowers.

40 million seems like a lot of words in four years, and if you account for your child’s awake hearing time, they will need to hear between 2100 and 2500 words per hour (35-42 per minute). However, there’s good news! With intention, practice and continual conversations, you can reach your daily goal! Here’s how:

  Make Listening Easier
  Use LSL Strategies and Techniques
  Speak in Phrases and Full Sentences
  Get Silly and Sing
  Read Books at Least 15 Minutes a Day
  Talk About the Five Senses (Touch, Smell, Sound, Sight, Taste)
  Explore All the Details
  Let Your Child ‘Listen In’ When Talking to Other People
  Use an FM or Remote Microphone
  Find Synonyms to Add New Vocabulary to Known Words and Concepts

It may seem intimidating, but you’re already on your way to the 40 million word goal! Keep the conversation going and your child will be using the very words, songs, phrases and sentences with you and everyone they meet along their journey to reach spoken language success!

For encouragement to meet the 40 million word goal, join the Family Support Community and hear from other families who are growing their child’s brain to listen, talk and read on par with their hearing siblings and friends!

Additional Resources: