When you control the listening environment and place emphasis on the sounds, words, and spoken language your child hears, you Make Listening Easier.

Make Listening Easier by controlling the listening environment and placing emphasis on the sounds and words your child hears. Help your child learn to listen by minimizing background noise, leaning in, moving closer, and being a drama mamma or dramatic daddy.

There are specific techniques that will help you either reduce the noise or change how you interact so your child can hear you clearly above the noise. For every activity or routine, think about the noises going on around you. What can you change so your baby can hear all of what you have to say?

What It Looks Like

For every activity or routine, listen to the noises going on around you.

  • Control the Noise. There are different ways to cut down on background sounds and help your child focus on what they need to hear.
  • Change How You Say It. Try adding emphasis, like singing the word or whispering it, to help your child hear more clearly.
Icon for Make Listening Easier LSL Strategy

When you use Make Listening Easier, you're focusing on auditory attention and promoting knowledge of spoken language.

Control the Noise

Your home is naturally filled with noise. While you may be able to tune it out, a noisy environment could be preventing your child from having clear access to important sounds and language. Because your child hasn’t fully developed their spoken language skills yet, they aren’t able to fill in any missing sounds or words. As a new listener, your child needs a quieter environment with background noises at a minimum.

Make Your Home Quieter

When it comes to making an LSL-friendly house, the less noise the better.

Take A Walk

Walk around your home at different parts of the day to observe and listen to the sources and locations of noise. This will help you decide what changes to make.

Quiet Meets Quality Time

Go to a quiet room for some of your routines, like changing a diaper or feeding. This allows for a quieter interaction with your child.

Change Up Your Routine

Consider running the dishwasher, washing clothes, or vacuuming after your child’s bedtime. If chores have to be done during listening hours, try closing the door between your child and any noisy appliances you’re using.

Consider Sound When Purchasing

When buying certain appliances, such as a fan or dishwasher, ask about its noise rating. Some ratings are given in “sones” and the lower the sone number, the quieter it’ll be.

Turn Off and Tune In

Avoid background noise such as radio or TV when you’re not actively watching or listening.

App-solutely Enlightening

Download a Sound Meter Level app to calculate noise levels of specific areas of the house.

Absorb the Noise

Place carpets or areas rugs over hard flooring. Use more cushions, curtains, and wall coverings to absorb noise.

Make Listening Easier at Home

Even if you control the noise in your home, your child may need more help. An assistive listening device can give better access to the sounds around them. Ask your audiologist if your child needs one.

Your pediatric audiologist can recommend which device your child needs to make listening in noisy places easier. Remote microphone systems are a popular option. With this device, your child can hear your voice as if you were very close.

More on Assistive Devices

Download Transcript Dr. Teresa Caraway, Hearing First CEO, CCC-SLP, LSLS Cert. AVT, talks about these tips for creating an optimal listening environment.


Change How You Say It

When talking with other adults, like family and friends, you’re usually speaking at a conversational level – not too loud or too soft. If your child has trouble hearing, raising your voice may seem like it will help but loud voices actually make listening harder. The best way to talk to your child is at a normal speaking volume, which allows them to hear better and more clearly.

The further away you are from your child's ears and hearing devices, the harder it is for their brain to receive full auditory information. Staying close is easier when your baby is a newborn because you hold them close to care for them. As your child gets older and moves around, stay close, within three feet, when you are talking. This is especially important in noisy places.

Acoustic Highlighting

Acoustic highlighting means changing the way you make a sound or say a word to emphasize a part your child may not have heard. After you do that and your child responds, then you’ll reinforce the learning by saying it again as you normally would.

Here are some ways to highlight sounds or words:

Change pitch of key word/s (sing-song voice)

Sing “child’s name, Mommy’s over heeerree.”

Pause before key word(s)

“Listen, I’ll have the” [Pause...] “chips.”

Lean in closer to their microphone for key words

“Listen, I want the” [Lean In] “frog.”

Say key words slightly louder without exaggerating mouth movements, especially when the sounds are soft sounds

“It’s a big spoon.”

Use a slightly slower rate on key word/s.

“I see the block on..the..chair.”

Whisper to give them better access to soft sounds

“I want the sheep.” If your child doesn’t respond, try it again in a whisper


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