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Listening / Auditory Training

Mom with son pointing to her ear

"Michael got really quiet when his hearing aids were put on. It might have been the first time he really heard anything. It was exciting!" - Julie

Most children who are deaf or hard-of-hearing have some hearing. This is called "residual hearing". Some parents of a child with residual hearing may choose to use a building block called listening (auditory training). This building block is often used in combination with other building blocks (such as hearing aids, cochlear implants, and other assistive devices).

Listening might seem easy to a person with hearing. But for a child with hearing loss, listening is often hard without proper training. Like all other building blocks, the skill of listening must be learned. Often a speech-language pathologist will work with the baby and family.

Residual Hearing: This refers to the amount of hearing a child with hearing loss has, despite their hearing loss.
Cochlear Implants: A cochlear implant is a surgically placed device that can help a person with severe to profound hearing loss. It gives that person a way to hear when a hearing aid is not enough. A cochlear implant sends sound signals directly to the hearing (auditory) nerve.

Hearing Aid: Hearing aids make sounds louder and clearer. Hearing aids are be worn by people of any age — including infants. Young babies with hearing loss can better understand sounds using hearing aids. This gives them the chance to learn speech skills right from birth.

There are many styles of hearing aids. They can help many types of hearing losses — mild, moderate, severe, and profound. Your baby's audiologist will help you pick the best type for your baby's hearing loss. A young child is usually fitted with behind-the-ear (BTE) style hearing aids because they adjust better on growing ears. Behind-the-ear hearing aids come in skin tone as well as many bright colors.

Mild Hearing Loss: A person with a mild hearing loss may hear some speech sounds but soft sounds are hard to hear.

Moderate Hearing Loss: A person with a moderate hearing loss may hear almost no speech when another person is talking at a normal level.

Severe Hearing Loss: A person with severe hearing loss will hear no speech of a person talking at a normal level and only some loud sounds.

Profound Hearing Loss: A person with a profound hearing loss will not hear any speech and only very loud sounds.

Assistive Listening Devices: There are many devices that can help children and adults with hearing loss. You can talk to your audiologist about which one (or ones) is best for your child. Some of these devices include:

  • Hearing Aids
  • Cochlear Implants
  • FM Systems
  • Captioning
  • Telephone amplifiers
  • Flashing and vibrating alarms
  • Audio loops systems
  • Infra red listening devices
  • Portable sound amplifiers
  • TTY or TDD (Text Telephone or Telecommunications Device for the Deaf)
Speech Language Pathologist: A speech language pathologist is a professional trained to know about how children learn language and to teach children how to use speech and language.

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Contact Us:
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

    National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities

    Hearing Loss Team

    1600 Clifton Road
    MS E-87
    Atlanta, GA 30333
  • 800-CDC-INFO
    TTY: (888) 232-6348
  • Contact CDC-INFO The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention   1600 Clifton Rd. Atlanta, GA 30329-4027, USA
800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) TTY: (888) 232-6348 - Contact CDC-INFO