Monday, October 26, 2009

Trusting your ears

I observe my daughter more as a speech language pathologist than a mom. I have no formal training in that capacity, but I've been the leading advisor to the educational team. I take the responsibility very seriously. She's achieved her speech goals and the time is coming when I'll have to let go of analyzing her listening/speaking skills. Just not yet.

I've stumbled on a a new problem that will probably self-correct, as many do. She is over-confident in her hearing. She hears something and that is what was said. She'll even argue with me now. "Mommy, I heard you, you said..." She lacks the experience to match up a half heard word to the list of possible choices.

This came to my top-of-mind awareness on Thursday when she met a little girl on the playground. I could hear my Julia say, "Harmen, that's an interesting name." The girl's name was Carmen. Julia is growing up in a new age where someone probably has named their child Harmen, but it occurs to me that maybe she doesn't question what she's heard because she still thinks any combination of consonants and vowels can be a word. She might not know what it means, but it could be a word.

Yesterday she was repeating the instructions on the GPS. "Turn right on Stupid, Bill, Bike," she said. "No sweetie, it's Steubenville Pike," I tell her. "Stupid Bill, PIKE," she says.

We're very fortunate that Julia's hearing problem is just a matter of volume. Her scores have always been perfect on the sound discrimination tests she takes at her audiologist visits. There is no distortion when her hearing aids amplify sound. The current issue seems to be more of a social conditioning problem.

So now I'll set out to gently draw her attention to situations when it's tough to hear all the sounds a person is saying. We'll continue to teach her to ask someone to repeat what she hasn't entirely heard. And I'll hope not to destroy her confidence in her hearing ability.


  1. This is very interesting to me. I taught school for 7 years pre kids. I'm now in a cooperative preschool and learning more and more about kids who need early intervention for speech etc. I'm excited to follow your blog! Check me out at:

  2. Hi! I'm here to follow you thru MBC!
    I have family sort of close to you in PA, Punxsutawney! I love PA!
    My best friend is hearing impaired and hers is better with a hearing aid. She is a champ at lip reading! She also has a tendency to half hear words and just puts the sounds together.
    I look forward to following you! Hope to see you come over and visit!

  3. Hi there. I am not sure of the extent of your daughter's hearing impairment. I have had a "bad ear" from birth, and my little boy is dealing with articulation issues. Sounds like your daughter is making great progress though!
    I am now following you from MBC. Hope you can come visit!

  4. I wonder if it is "a girl thing" with talking bac/insisting on what they heard! I want to have a son next. I am following your blog and really am enjoying.


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