For children with hearing loss who are learning to listen using hearing aids, cochlear implants or BAHAs (bone anchored hearing aids), it is important to understand the stages of listening that they will progress through. An understanding of these stages will empower you will the ability to provide your child opportunities to practice and develop their listening skills.


Sound Awareness: Children demonstrate awareness by turning to environmental sounds and/or speech sounds.
*You can promote awareness by drawing your child’s attention to transportation sounds in their environment like cars driving by, horns honking, and the garbage truck driving down the street. You can also highlight everyday sounds such as running water, a closing door, jingling keys, etc. Present the sound, point to your ear and say, “I heard that!” Present the sound again and see if your child responds to it. If so, point to your ear and say, “You heard that!”

Associate Meaning: Looking at or pointing to an object or picture upon hearing it labeled. *Throughout the day, label objects your child sees and actions you are doing with them. Provide repetition and give your child opportunities to practice by presenting a sound and/or word. Watch to see if he/she looks at the object. For example, “I hear the car. Look. There’s the car. The car is noisy. Beep Beep!”

Imitation and Expansion: Imitating a word or sound and beginning to spontaneously use spoken language.
*Set up opportunities/provide wait time so that your child is encouraged to answer questions, make requests, or comment on things they see/hear.

See below for a list of Learning to Listen Sounds and their corresponding toys! 🙂