Whether you love singing or wouldn’t be caught dead singing in the shower, singing is a terrific way to help your child with hearing loss learn important listening and spoken language skills. You don’t have to be an award-winning singer to build your child’s brain through music.
Why is music so helpful for all children, but children who are deaf or hard of hearing in particular?
Music helps you slow down. When you sing, your rate of words per minute goes down, which helps children catch on to new words and concepts. Think about what would help you if you were learning a new language — fast or slow speech? It’s easy to speed up when you’re speaking, but keeping the rhythm of a song helps you remember to slow down. Slowing down also helps you elongate your words, making them interesting to listen to and emphasizing the speech sounds.
Music repeats without being boring. Children need to hear new words many, many times to learn them, but it’s incredibly boring (and not conversationally appropriate) to just repeat, repeat, repeat. With songs, the lyrics repeat naturally in a meaningful way. Think about singing, “The Wheels on the Bus” — how many times do you hear the words “bus,” “wheels,” and “round” in context? It’s a great way to learn!
Music helps children relate to others their age, their culture, their religion. Sing the songs that your child’s hearing peers would know, sing songs that are important in your country or your culture, sing songs that are important to your religious faith. There’s a reason why all of the cultures around the world have music — it is a powerful way to express our very deepest emotions. Thanks to hearing technology, your deaf child can be a part of that, too.
Music helps with breath support, intonation, phrasing, prosody, and more… It’s not just about you singing to your child, your child should be encouraged to sing, too! Singing builds a range of very important skills that transfer to everyday speech and conversations.
Remember: To your child, your voice is the most beautiful sound in the world. So get singing!