There are ways to maximize your child's use of technology to help them reach their Listening and Spoken Language (LSL) goals.

Pediatric hearing technology can do so much for your child with hearing loss. Learn what you can do to make sure their brain will benefit from their devices as much as possible.

Wear Time

Parents often ask how long their child should wear hearing devices each day, as most technology isn't meant to be worn 24/7. Parents should aim to have their child wear their devices during all waking moments.

Why? Because you don't want your child to miss a single moment of listening and brain building. In their first year, your baby has an average of 7-10 hours of awake time every 24-hour period to listen to all of the sounds and information carried by the speech of others around them. Every minute counts toward hearing 40 million words!

Just Remember: Eyes Open, Ears On!

Eyes Open, Ears On means that when the child’s eyes are open, the hearing aids or cochlear implants should be on and functioning appropriately. Hear Dr. Teresa Caraway and Dr. Jace Wolfe discuss how this reminder can help families achieve positive outcomes so their child can develop age-appropriate speech and language.

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Keeping Technology On Little Ears

It's not uncommon for little ones to try to remove their hearing aids or cochlear implants — or their hats or socks or shoes — especially at ages when motor skills are advancing and they begin to discover their ears and body. Make a commitment to keep the devices on your baby during all waking moments, and ask all of your baby's caregivers to do the same. Eventually your child will barely notice their devices, and may even start asking for them when they wake up.

Three Tips to Keep Hearing Devices On During All Waking Hours

  • Distract: Draw their attention away from the device and to an activity
  • Adhesive: Medical or wig tape may help keep the device on when used appropriately
  • Hats: Use a hat or cap to discourage touching — special caps made for hearing devices are available

Most babies go through a phase of pulling their hearing aids off. If your baby pulls their devices off frequently, there could be an underlying problem. Talk with your LSL professional and your pediatric audiologist about any questions or concerns. Don't delay!

Monitoring Technology

Making sure your child's hearing technology is always working properly is just as important as making sure they wear it during all waking moments. Since your little one can't tell you whether their devices are working, you'll need to monitor their technology with daily device checks and daily listening checks.

Remember to take five every morning. The first five minutes of the day can make a big difference in your child's progress. Get your child ready for a day full of listening and learning by making sure devices are working, batteries are charged, and devices go on as soon as your child wakes up.

Daily Device Check

Your child's pediatric audiologist or the manufacturer of your child's devices can provide you with a care kit to help complete the daily device check. Follow these steps during your daily device check:

Visual Inspection

Make sure all the parts and pieces are there and connected properly. Look for any debris or damage and ensure any settings are correct.

Battery Test

Check the battery has sufficient charge to power the devices. Whether you have disposable or rechargeable batteries, you should check them every day.

Device Listening Check

Listen to your baby's hearing devices yourself to make sure they are working. You'll need some extra equipment, which should come in your child's device care kit. For hearing aids, you'll hear the signal. For cochlear implants, you'll listen to the microphone and the sound picked up by it. During your test, you'll:

  • Say sounds (like shh and ahh), speaking normally into the device microphone, about six inches from your mouth, listening for a clear, consistent sound with no intermittency (i.e., sound going on and off), no static, and no buzzing or clicking noted.
  • Manipulate all the buttons and switches to ensure they are functioning properly.
  • Squeeze the device and manipulate all of its movable parts listening for possible intermittencies when doing so.
  • Open and close the battery door or disconnect and reconnect the battery to make sure that the device turns off and on appropriately.

Daily Device Checks

It’s important you check your child’s devices every day to make sure they’re working well and your child can hear all the sounds of speech around them. Our handout can help you as you perform your daily device check.

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Daily Listening Check

A listening check is when you make sure your child is hearing and noticing the specific speech sounds you say to them, right after their hearing aids go on. You’ll become the expert on how your child responds. During this check, take note of sounds that your child isn't responding to and share with your professional team right away.

Ling Six-Sound Test

Learn how to perform the Ling Six-Sound Test. You'll produce specific sounds to see how your child reacts without being able to see your mouth. This quick at-home check will confirm they're hearing, responding, and identifying the six sounds that cover all the speech frequencies. If your child responds to all the sounds, they're ready for the day. Use a normal conversational voice when you say these:

  • /m/ as in me
  • /ah/ as in hot
  • /oo/ as in boot
  • /ee/ as in feet
  • /sh/ as in shoe
  • /s/ as in sun

With babies, you'll look for a response to the sound. Older children may be expected to perform an action, like dropping a block in a container, clapping, or placing a ring on a post when they hear one of the sounds. As your child grows and is able to speak, you can ask them to repeat each sound as you say them.

Use this test to help monitor your child's distance listening. Present the Ling Six sounds at varying distances between you and your child. Observe how close you need to be for your child to detect and identify each sound, and share this with your LSL professional.

Listening Checks by Age

Daily listening checks can look different depending on your child's age. We have a handout that explains listening checks for babies and for children so you can learn more about what your child needs.