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Jump Start to Listening!

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Jump Start to Listening! is a free counseling program for families of children with hearing loss.

Together, we share information about early childhood hearing loss. This is important because children learn language quickly during their first three years. Identifying a child's hearing loss during this time is critical for successful treatment. With balanced information, parents can make the best communication choices for their child.

Families want to make the best choices for their child and family. Some children do best when communication methods are mostly listening to speech. Some children work better watching sign language. Some children do best with sign language and talking together. Jump Start to Listening! provides clear, neutral and current information to help families with their decisions.

Jump Start image in Spanish

The Jump Start to Listening! program:

  • Gives correct and neutral information about hearing loss and communication outcomes for children.
  • Provides emotional support for families.
  • Answers questions about hearing loss and communication approaches.
  • Links families with other families who have children with hearing loss.
  • Helps families find materials and groups for helping childhood hearing loss.
  • Helps families and children in making choices and moving ahead.
  • Helps families see the positive outcomes for the future with their child.
View our chart showing the communication approaches, expected outcomes and some goals for children with a hearing loss or deafness.

What are these devices, what do they do?

A hearing aid (HA) is a device worn behind the ear or in the ear. The HA makes sounds louder. Children usually wear hearing aids behind the ear.

A cochlear implant (CI) is a device that helps people with severe to profound hearing loss hear speech sounds. The cochlear implant has several parts. The ENT places one part near the inner ear. The other parts are worn around and above the ear.

An earmold is a soft mold worn in the ear. The earmold helps louder sounds go from the hearing aid into the ear. Tubing connects the hearing aid to the earmold.

An assistive listening device (ALD) is a listening device that is not a hearing aid. The ALD helps you listen in noisy places. Some of these devices include FM systems, infrared systems (IR) and induction loop systems.

An FM system (frequency modulation) works like a radio. It sends sound waves over the air.

An infrared listening system (IR) sends out sound by invisible light beams. The IR system changes the sound into infrared light. A special light carries it to the infrared headset. The headset receiver changes the light back into sound.

An induction loop sends out sound to hearing aids and cochlear implants using a magnet.

A tele-coil is a small copper coil inside a hearing aid or cochlear implant. It acts like an antenna. It connects into a sound system. This helps the listener hear better in noise.

Who are these people?

Audiologists work with hearing and balance problems. They do testing and make suggestions when people have those problems. They help people with hearing aids, cochlear implants and other equipment for listening.

An ENT is a doctor who specializes in ear, nose and throat problems. The ENT does surgery on the ear, nose and throat. The ENT also does surgery for cochlear implants and bone-anchored hearing aids (BAHA).

A neuro-otologist is a doctor who takes care of patients with ear and balance problems. This doctor also does surgery for ear and balance problems.

A speech-language pathologist (SLP) works with people who have problems communicating. The SLP might work with reading disorders, feeding and swallowing disorders and voice disorders such as hoarseness. They may also treat speech and language disorders. Some SLPs have special training to work with children with hearing loss.

Listening and spoken language specialists (LSLS) are speech-language pathologists, audiologists or teachers of the deaf. They have special training to teach children with hearing loss how to listen and talk. They also teach parents how to work with their child at home. This special training is called auditory-verbal therapy (AVT) and auditory verbal education (AVEd). Some have certifications in AVT or AVEd.

Teachers of the deaf (TOD) have specific training and certification in working with children who are deaf or hard of hearing. TODs may:

  • Teach in special classrooms for children with hearing loss, using sign language or an auditory-oral approach.
  • Work in general education classrooms helping children with hearing loss.
  • Work with babies and families in their homes.
  • Use some or all of the communication methods: sign language, total communication and spoken language.

What do these words mean?

Amplification devices are hearing aids, cochlear implants or any pieces of equipment that make sound louder.

Auditory, audition and audiological has to do with hearing.

Audiogram is a graph showing the amount of the hearing loss from a hearing test. Decibels (dB) measure the amount of the hearing loss in loudness. Hertz (Hz) measures different pitches. After the hearing test, the audiologist draws the audiogram of the person's hearing.

Auditory brainstem response (ABR) is a test that measures the hearing function in infants and young children. When the child or baby is asleep, we tape electrodes to the head. The test measures how the hearing nerve is working.

Decibel (dB) is the unit that measures loudness.

Frequency is the unit that measures pitch. Frequency is a single tone or note and can be high, low or medium. Hertz (Hz) describes frequency.

Language is how people interact by expressing and communicating with others. Using language, we let other people know what we are thinking. We express our ideas and emotions. We solve problems and learn about different things.

Mapping is setting the levels for a cochlear implant.

Otoacoustic emission (OAE) is testing that measures how we hear soft sounds. The inner ear makes these sounds. We measure OAEs with a sensitive microphone placed in the ear canal.

Signing or sign language uses hands to express language.

Speech or talking is how someone uses his or her voice and says words.

Speechreading is understanding speech by watching someone's mouth. People can fill in information by what is happening, what someone knows or experiences or reading lips.

Spoken language uses listening and speaking to communicate.

Threshold is the softest possible sound that we can hear. An average threshold is 0 to 20dB HL.

A tympanogram measures how the eardrum moves. The eardrum is the tympanic membrane in the middle ear.

Verbal is the words that you say out loud.