International Listening Weekend

Well, here we are at International Listening Weekend: March 25-27.

Listening is a subject near to my heart because 2 out of 3 of my children were born with hearing loss. My daughter is deaf in one ear, hard of hearing in the other and my son is deaf. They both use technology to hear--cochlear implants and hearing aids--and are doing great.

When they were babies and young children, I was always thinking about strategies to help them listen and understand speech, help them understand what information they missed (recovery strategies), help them access information in other ways (reading captions, looking for facial expressions). My job was to pay attention, ask questions to find out what they knew and where the gaps were, repeat information or model how to ask someone else to repeat themselves, find other ways to get the information. Oh, plus keep the babies from eating their devices. How many times have I rescued hearing aids/implants from being devoured (or at least sucked on)?

Add the complexities of "Did you physically hear me?" to "Are you listening or tuning me out?" that we all have and it's complicated. We've all been there--"It's not time for a cookie, sweetie." The child keeps reaching toward the cookie jar. "Baby, cookies happen after nap time, not now." The child's hand is now opening the cookie jar. Is this a normal child-testing-parent situation? Oh yes. And in my case it might also be a dead battery in a hearing aid that exacerbates the situation.

I will be celebrating International Listening Weekend with gratitude to all the scientists, doctors and volunteers that have made hearing technology possible, all the researchers who have studied brain and speech development, all the D/deaf individuals who have enriched our lives and the amazing parenting stories I've learned.