Activities for Aural Rehabilitation
The onset of hearing loss early in childhood or at birth can also disrupt speech and language development in significant ways. Early recognition of hearing loss and timely use of sound amplification offers some of the best outcomes related to both the hearing loss and language acquisition. Speech therapists often work with individuals to build total communication skills and specific language development in this context through a process known as aural rehabilitation.
Often with children, aural rehabilitation services would more appropriately be called habilitative rather than rehabilitative. Rehabilitation focuses on restoring a skill that is lost. For children, the skill may not be there in the first place, so it has to be taught—hence, the services are habilitative, not rehabilitative. The 3 key focuses of aural habilitation are listening, articulation, and spoken language (Smith, 2020).
Listening activities often target auditory perception: the brain's ability to interpret sound and give it meaning. This can include differentiating sounds (auditory discrimination), remembering sounds (auditory memory), and breaking sounds into separate parts (auditory analysis). The following activities focus on several of these auditory perception skills:
Reading Aloud: Reading aloud for 15-20 minutes a day with different tones, speeds, and voices can boost auditory discrimination and memory.
Sound in a Bag: Teach animal sounds through playing with toys or pictures. Then, play a game where you take turns taking an animal or picture out of a bag. Without showing the picture or toy, make the sound yourself and have your child try to guess the animal by pointing at different options.
Sound Jars: Find 6 jars that you can't see inside. Fill two each with different materials (for example, 2 with dry macaroni, 2 with beans, and 2 with sand). Have your child shake the jars and group the matching pairs together.
Have more questions about aural rehabilitation? Reach out to a Sidekick therapist today!
L., Smith .(2020) Aural Habilitation for Children. Aural Habilitation for Children | Sidekick Therapy Partners (mysidekicktherapy.com)
ASHA (n.d.) Child Aural/Audiologic Rehabilitation (asha.org)