Auditory Learning in Preschoolers: Tips for Professionals

By Berkowitz, Lynda | Volta Voices, May/June 2012 | Go to article overview

Auditory Learning in Preschoolers: Tips for Professionals


Berkowitz, Lynda, Volta Voices


When it comes to auditory development, hearing and listening are not the same. Hearing is simply the act of perceiving sound. Listening is what the brain does with that sound. Listening requires attention and effortful processing, a much more demanding task than perception (Cole & Flexer, 2011). Advances in hearing technology have led to improved access to sound for children who are deaf or hard of hearing. Although this access to sound is the foundation for auditory development, the goal is to achieve auditory learning, the ability to gain new information through listening alone. Children, especially preschoolers, learn much of what they need to know about their world through listening. They learn to negotiate play, make requests, gain new information, and have their needs and desires met by listening to the adults and peers around them. While much of what preschoolers learn is spoken directly to them, they also learn from what they overhear.

Typically, we learn to listen and talk if our brains have access to sound and if they have thousands of hours of listening experience in the first 5 years of life (Dehaene, 2009). But how do we help children who are deaf or hard of hearing learn to listen as early as possible so that they can learn new information through listening? What does it take to help them learn to listen - not just hear? This article describes three factors that must be present in order for preschoolers who are deaf or hard of hearing to acquire these critical auditory learning skills: audiologic management, auditory training and naturally-occurring opportunities for listening.

Audiologic Management

A monumental achievement in the life of a child with hearing loss is to progress from being a new hearing aid or cochlear implant user to attaining the ability to learn by listening. Auditory perceptual development - the process of engaging the brain to listen to and think about sounds - requires guidance from professionals highly qualified in the development of listening and spoken language.

First, pediatrie audiologists must ensure appropriate individualized hearing technology for young children. Digital hearing aids and cochlear implants provide high quality acoustic access to children who are deaf or hard of hearing. Listening and spoken language professionals must work closely with audiologists to provide daily checks of these devices. Without appropriate and adequately maintained devices, auditory development cannot proceed. In addition, preschool teachers must maintain as acoustically appropriate a learning environment as possible for executing structured auditory development tasks. This includes providing classroom acoustic treatments (such as carpet, drapes and other soft wall treatments), limiting background noise by closing doors and eliminating fans, and monitoring students' hearing status through daily listening checks (Estes, 2010).

Auditory Training

Listening skills need to build on one another from the simplest skill (detecting the absence or presence of sound) to the most complex (gaining new information through listening). These skills are established through daily auditory training - highly structured teacher-directed listening activities that follow a prescribed curriculum. Auditory training tasks are based on a hierarchy of auditory skill development that begins with detection (Was there a sound?), proceeds to discrimination (Is this sound different from another sound ?), continues to recognition/identification (What made this sound?), and culminates in comprehension (Is there meaning to this sound?) (Hirsch, 1970; Pollack et al., 1997; Sindrey, 2002). Daily auditory training tasks must be practiced in an environment with minimal background noise.

An auditory training curriculum, such as the Speech Perception Instructional Curriculum and Evaluation (SPICE), provides professionals with an assessment tool for determining present listening levels as well as a hierarchical, step-by-step curriculum useful for setting auditory goals, planning lesson objectives, tracking students' progress and reporting to parents (Biedenstein et al. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Auditory Learning in Preschoolers: Tips for Professionals
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.