Listen, my children, and you shall hear.
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Do we have to listen to hear or hear to listen?
Hearing is a passive act; unless you are hearing impaired, the act of perceiving sound by the ear simply happens on its own. Listening however is an active conscious choice. Total concentration is required for your brain to actively take what you hear and make the words meaningful.
Communication involves both hearing, listening and speaking. The relationship between the three is so intertwined that the month of May has been designated as Better Speech and Hearing Month (BHSM).
In a recent poll, both speech therapists and audiologists identified excessive tech use as their number #1 concern. Speech therapists report a decline in communication and human interaction while audiologists claim loud volume damages our hearing.
Good news! Here are my recommendations:
- Set reasonable parameters of tech times vs. tech-free time
- Model balanced behavior by putting your cellphone/iPad away during dinner or playtime
- Carve out quality time with your children. Reading and playing games are two easy and effective way to encourage language development and active listening.
Worried that your child is having trouble hearing? Audiologist Dr. Leah Light shares four telltale signs. Ask yourself. “Does my child….?”
- Need to look to hear
- Accuse others of mumbling
- Put the ear against sound sources like speakers or refrigerator
- Say “What?” or “Huh?” repeatedly
My experience as a speech and language pathologist, I know that early intervention is the key for better speech, hearing and listening. Audiologists and speech and language therapists can work with babies, even newborns, to diagnose and treat for better hearing, better speech, better listening and ultimately, better communication.