Many parents of young children with hearing loss often wonder whether or not their child will be able to fully appreciate music. While for some the appreciation comes sooner than others, music remains an excellent way to promote listening and language skills. Here are a few ways you can incorporate it into your day.

River School’s Amanda Wittman joined us to discuss why Music is Amazing!

Start with your VOICE:

New Listeners: Children with cochlear implants will often have difficulty separating instruments from voice at first so singing with voice alone is a great way to start to develop their appreciation for music. Make up songs to sing when your child wakes up, gets dressed, takes a bath, etc. and repeat them daily.

Experienced Listeners: Sing familiar song, but change your voice to sound like a ‘daddy’ or a ‘kitten’ or a ‘lion’. This allows your children to explore how the quality of voice changes, but the words of the song stay the same.

Introduce one INSTRUMENT at a time:

New Listeners: Explore the sound of an instrument such as a shaker. Then shake it to the beat of a familiar song to give your child practice with discriminating between the sound of the instrument and the melody of your voice.

Experienced Listeners: After exploring the sound and name of a variety of instruments, sing a familiar song and pair it with one instrument (concealing the instrument). Have your child take a guess as to which instrument was used. Pictures of instruments can be used to give choices.

DANCE to the RHYTHM:

New Listeners: While singing or listening to songs, hold and dance with your little one…bouncing to the beat and swaying with the music. In between songs, stop dancing and comment on how the music stopped.

Experienced Listeners: Pick two different songs (one with a fast, strong beat and one that is slow and mellow). Talk about how you are going to listen to the music and move your body to the sounds you hear. Play a game of “Freeze Dance” to promote listening to the presence and absence of sound.

Take Home Tips: Make a Music Box!

Looking for a fun music activity to do with your little one? Make a Music Box by selecting a collection of toys/objects that represent different songs you sing with your kiddo. Take turns pulling an item out of the box and singing the song it represents! See the image at the top for ideas…
Music and Children with Hearing Loss:

Here are a few resources for development of music appreciation in children with hearing loss:

TED Talks with Charles Limb: Building the Musical Muscle

The Listening Room from Advanced Bionics

TuneUps from Hearing Journey & Amy McConkey Robbins

Listening Fun with Music & Song from MedEl

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