Name that Sound – a listening game for Children who have hearing loss

Name that Sound – a listening game for Children who have hearing loss

What does the doggy say?   Bark bark!

What does the cow say?   Moo!

That is a typical game to play with our toddlers. But have you tried reversing the game?

Our 2 year old daughter has hearing loss and wears a BAHA hearing aid. Our Sign Language teacher suggested helping our daughter to be aware of the sounds in her environment. It’s extra work for her to learn to pay attention to sounds, recognize what they mean and respond accordingly. Example: when I hear a car coming, I know to get out of the middle of the road. My toddler is not allowed to play in the street, but I do want her to recognize sounds which mean “danger!”

I read an article which suggested flipping the game. Instead of asking “what does the doggy say?” I play a barking sound on my phone. Hopefully my daughter responds, “Doggy,” points to a picture of a dog, and maybe even signs “dog.”

IMG_9168I made a play-list of sound effects on youtube. It’s a little ghetto, but good enough for now. I printed matching pictures off the internet. On the back of the pictures, I put the sign language instructions. Then I laminated the cards using clear packaging tape. Very profession-looking flash cards. Haha. In hind-sight, I recommend leaving the back of the card blank, because my kids keep flipping the cards over, which makes it hard to find the right picture when they are looking at the sign language instructions.

Playing the game, I pictured a beautiful little preschool-class, with children sitting in a semi-circle facing me. Instead it was, “Sit down please. No sit. Stay. Don’t push your sister. Sit next to her, not in front of her. Stop pushing each other. Come back. Sit down. Don’t hit your sister.”

Once everyone was at least holding still-ish. I showed them the picture of the airplane and said, “airplane,” and showed them how to sign “airplane.” My 4 year old at least copied the sign language. My 2 year old just wanted to hold the flash card. Then I played the sound on my phone. Instantly my girls went wild, fighting over who got to sit on my lap and see the phone and hit the button. They don’t get screen-time ever, so it’s a pretty big deal, apparently. 

I tried to teach more signs and sounds. But my children alternated between hoarding all the flash cards and trying to steal my phone. In the end, I let the 2 year old be in control of the phone, and play the sounds, while the 4 year old found the matching picture. My 4 year old loved the game, but she already knows all this.

IMG_9174Later, while Big Sis was playing with Dada, I tried again with just ONE child. My 2 year-old got herself stuck in the baby seat, which was perfect. “Sit. Stay. Good child.” She had just taken a bath and didn’t have her hearing aid on, so I turned up the volume extra loud.

I showed her 2 flash cards: Dog and Firetruck. Then I played the siren sound. She said, “Er uck” and pointed to the fire truck. Impressive. It turns out she was paying attention earlier.

I showed her: Cat and Airplane, and played the “meow” sound. “Goggy,” she said, pointing at the cat. Ok, close enough. We went through all the cards and she picked the right ones most of the time. I didn’t try anything too tricky like “airplane vs helicoptor” or “cat vs dog,” because apparently we don’t know the difference between Cats and Dogs yet.

Now my plan is to trap the 2 year old in her high chair. Then let my 4 year old choose 2 cards and show both to her sister. Then I play the sound and little sister points to the matching card. Then Big Sis gives her the card, and shows her how to sign the word, because Big Sis knows more sign language than Mama anyway.

So far we have Dog, Cat, Doorbell, Garage Door, Water/faucet, Train, Fire Truck, Airplane, and Helicopter. Also Garbage Truck, but I don’t have a sound effect for that yet. I’m thinking we can play “Name That Sound” with all animals. And I would love suggestions of other environmental sounds.

Becky TheBahaMama

Becky TheBahaMama

I spend my time making Custom Softbands and Accessories for Ponto, AdHear and Baha hearing devices. I am also a published author. I wanted our daughter to see herself represented in a story - a little girl who has facial differences and wears BAHA hearing aids. The book grew to include some of our friends who are all so wonderfully different. My first book, “Wonderfully Different, Wonderfully Me” features a diverse group of children and celebrates each child’s unique strengths. All children can see themselves in at least one of the characters, whether they look similar, or have the same interests or personality. "Wonderfully Different, Wonderfully Me" is the children's book that belongs in every household and classroom, to promote inclusion, acceptance, and friendship. Order your copt at:

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