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Your playful preschooler is developing new skills and their independence.
At this age, between three and five years old, they're well on their way to positive Listening and Spoken Language (LSL) outcomes. Keep up this exciting pace by staying focused on the LSL journey and making sure your child can hear all the sounds of speech every day.
Find out what you can do to support your child with their devices, audiology appointments, and intervention sessions.
Your child's hearing devices should be on and working during all hours they're awake, or at least 12 hours a day. Remember: eyes open, ears on!
Make sure your child's teachers and caregivers are carefully trained and comfortable managing your child's devices. Encourage them to talk to you if they have concerns about your child's hearing.
If your child is more active, you can use hats or headbands to help keep devices on. Many bicycle, ski, and sports helmets today are compatible with hearing devices. In our Family Support Community (FSC), you can connect with other parents and learn what has worked for their active preschoolers.
Around this age, your child will be independently putting their hearing devices on, replacing coils when they fall off, and letting you know if their hearing devices aren't working the way they should. Continue to grow the self-advocacy skills that you started to build when they were a toddler. Take time to teach your child the parts of hearing their devices, what lights mean on cochlear implants, and show them how to change batteries on their devices.
As your child becomes more independent at putting hearing technology on, it's very important for you to check their devices every morning to make sure they're working appropriately.
Complete daily device and listening checks to make sure your child's devices are in good working order. When this is done at the beginning of each day they'll be ready to hear everything happening around them. If your child uses a remote microphone system, check it after you've checked each hearing device.
Make sure they're charged and replace them if the battery is low.
Use the equipment provided in your child's device care kit to listen and make sure the devices are working.
Confirm your child is hearing and identifying the sounds you're saying. As you say each of the Ling Six sounds, have your child repeat each sound as you say them. It's also important to do the check at different distances, including 6, 12, and 24 feet away.
These checks are important to make sure the devices are working and your child is noticing and listening to the sounds around them.
Our handout explains more about daily listening checks for children.
Remote microphone (RM) systems solve any problems created by background noise and distance from the person talking. RM systems can help your preschooler hear whoever is speaking more clearly, which means using one can increase the number of words your preschooler hears. It can also improve the quantity and quality of the information that reaches your child’s brain.
Traditionally, they've been used for school-age children in a classroom setting. Now, you can use them at home, in the car, at the playground, or anywhere you're concerned may have too much background noise or distance between you and your child.
Most hearing devices can easily accommodate an RM system. If you haven't used one before, talk to your pediatric audiologist to see if your child's hearing aid or cochlear implant comes with a mini-mic accessory, and ask how and when to use both devices together. Bring the remote microphone system to every audiology appointment so it can be checked along with your child's devices.
An RM system will be important when your child starts preschool. Make a pediatric audiology appointment before school begins to make a plan that best suits your child's needs and to ask any questions about teachers using it in preschool. Take time to talk with your child's teacher and show them how to use it in the classroom. Consider others at school who may need to understand how it works, like librarians or classroom aides. Don’t forget that an RM system will be important for any after-school activities, like sports or music.
Between age three and five, your child should be meeting their speech and language milestones. Talk to your child's LSL provider and teachers or caregivers about what to expect at this age.
Closely monitor what your child hears at home and at school. Observe and write down sounds and words your child has a hard time hearing or that you think they may be missing. This could be that they're misunderstanding, not following directions, or mispronouncing new words. If your child is consistently missing sounds, parts of words, or parts of sentences, it may indicate a problem with their hearing or devices.
Check in with your child's teachers and caregivers regularly to see if they notice a difference in the way your child responds. Report concerns to your child’s LSL team and address them immediately to keep your child on track.
Continue to work closely and regularly with your pediatric audiologist to monitor your child's hearing status. By this time, you are scheduling audiology appointments on a consistent schedule. Routine hearing tests with a pediatric audiologist occur every six months until age four or five. Your audiologist will let you know when your child is ready to transition to yearly appointments.
In addition to their regularly scheduled appointments, call your audiologist any time you're concerned about your child's hearing or their devices. Concerns may include changes in your child's:
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Remember, you’re not alone on this journey. Thousands of parents have been in your shoes. Find other parents who can share from experience, offer encouragement, and help your family reach your LSL goals.
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Outstanding Website: HearingFirst.org
Best Advocacy Website: StartsHear.org