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Did you know the subtle background noises around your home can make it difficult for your child with hearing loss to learn how to listen and talk? Adults can easily ignore ‘background noise’ and many parents may not be aware their child doesn’t have clear access to the important sounds and language they need to learn.
Good news! There are simple changes you can make to minimize noise and make listening easier. Learn more about the sounds in your home and how sound is measured. Then, use our tips for creating an LSL-friendly home to help your child on their LSL journey.
First, it’s important you understand the different levels of sound and how they compete with each other. Sound is measured in units called decibels (dB). This guide shows the decibels of common sounds both in and outside the home.
Whisper = 30 dB
Normal Conversation = 50-65 dB (at a distance of three feet)
Household Appliances = 60-90 dB
Hair Dryer = 60-95 dB
Television = 70 dB
Baby Crying = 110 dB
City Traffic from Inside Vehicle = 85 dB
Noisy Restaurant = 85 dB
Power Lawn Mower = 85-95 dB
Large Dog Barking = 100 dB
Band Concert = 120 dB
Fireworks = 150 dB
As you can see, normal conversation levels are somewhere between 50-65 dB at a distance of three feet. For a child with hearing loss, that same conversation decreases in clarity and intensity when there are competing sounds present. Try to imagine what it’s like for your child when they’re trying to process language that’s mixed with sounds in the home that are louder than the normal conversation level.
Now that you understand why it’s important your home is an optimal listening environment and how background sound can make it difficult for your child to listen, here are some changes you can make to help your child hear better at home.
A quiet environment improves the LSL experience. Take advantage of quieter times of the day to foster meaningful interactions like feeding time or when you’re changing their diaper.
Take notice of your home routines and their noise levels, especially during times of the day when your child is alert, active, and ready to listen. Consider running the dishwasher in the middle of the night, and try to wash clothes or vacuum after your child’s bedtime. You can also download a Sound Meter Level app to calculate noise levels of specific areas of the house.
Turn off the radio or TV when it’s not being listened to or watched. Avoid background noise like music when playing or sharing books with your child. If you can’t turn it off, try finding a quieter space for play or reading time.
Our homes can be noisy places! Become aware of all the background noise in your home and try to reduce them as much as possible. Placing carpets or area rugs over hard flooring, and using more cushions, curtains and wall coverings can help absorb noise.
Listen as Hearing First CEO, Dr. Teresa Caraway, CCC-SLP, LSLS Cert. AVT shares tips for creating an optimal listening environment.
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