Listen and Talk Blog
“ Ha y Be er eech an a in mon !”
Let me say it again after I finish chewing:
“Happy Better Speech and Hearing Month!”
Did you understand what I said at the beginning? How long did it take you to figure it out? For those of you who like solving puzzles, did you enjoy the exercise? But what if you have to figure out sentences like that all the time, all day along; wouldn’t that be exhausting?
Children with hearing loss are constantly required to fill in the blanks to figure out what is being said. While amplification technology has come a long way in providing better access to speech sounds, individuals with hearing loss still face challenges in fully perceiving speech. This is particularly true in difficult listening conditions, such as in a restaurant, gym, or anywhere there is a high level of background noise and/or reverberation.
On April 19th, many of the professionals at Listen and Talk attended a presentation by Dr. Karen Anderson, a heralded Listening and Spoken Language expert, and the Director of Supporting Success for Children with Hearing Loss. She talked about how listening in noise is like reading black fonts on a dark gray background. As the shade of gray becomes darker, it gets harder to make out the letters. Similarly, Dr. Anderson demonstrated that reverberation is like smeared, overlapping letters that make it difficult to tell the words apart. During the exercise, we were asked to decipher a message on the screen. With the dark background masking the letters, and the overlapping letters smushing the words together; it took a lot of extra concentration and energy to make out the message! This is similar to the challenges our children with hearing loss are faced with daily. Just like trying to read the words that are smudged or lost in the background, children with hearing loss need to expend extra energy in making sense of what was said to them. Understanding verbal communication is a natural process for those without hearing loss, but for people with hearing loss it is like a mental workout everyday. No wonder they may feel so tired at the end of the day!
Fatigue is known to be associated with moodiness, reduced ability to focus, slower processing time and impaired judgement. Here are 5 tips to help lessen the impact of listening fatigue on children with hearing loss:
- Use well-fit amplification technology (hearing aids, cochlear implants) consistently
- Use remote microphones/digital modulation systems in difficult listening situations - These systems reduce the effects of background noise, poor acoustics and distance by delivering the speaker’s voice right into their ears through their amplification technology
- Reduce background noise and reverberation - Improve their listening condition by turning off the TV and radio and finding a quieter place to talk and play. Also reduce the hard surface that causes reverberation by putting a rug on the floor and curtains on the windows.
- Face them when you talk - Facial cues help fill in the missing pieces of information. Facing them under good lighting helps them to see the facial cues.
- Take periodic listening breaks from noise - When they are around a high level of background noise, like a birthday party, find a quiet corner and have them look at a book for 10 minutes to take a rest from the bombardment of sound.
SEATTLE, Washington – April 16, 2018 – Listen and Talk, a specialized program for children who are deaf and hard-of-hearing in Seattle, announced Maura Berndsen will lead the organization as Executive Director.
Maura began her career at Listen and Talk in January 1997 as the first teacher/Auditory-Verbal Therapist hired by founding director, Star Leonard-Fleckman. Maura previously was the Educational Director for Listen and Talk where she established relationships with public and other non-profit partners supporting the overall growth of the organization, which serves over 200 children each year. She has been a key member of statewide efforts to increase access to specialized services for families and their children who are deaf and hard-of-hearing. Maura also took on the role of Interim Director during times of transition.
Maura’s passion to help children and families discover the power of language through teaching and hearing sciences has led her to be a household name in the industry as her work is highly regarded across other organizations.
“Maura is already a nationally recognized leader in the deaf and hard of hearing education community. The board is grateful and excited that she has agreed to take the leadership role as executive director of Listen and Talk,” says Board President Dave Reese.
Looking forward, Listen and Talk seeks to expand its quality services to more families in the region.
“As we continue to learn more about child development and as technology continues to advance, this is an exciting time for families and their children who are deaf or hard of hearing. It is an honor to lead Listen and Talk as we fulfill our vision that no child is limited by hearing loss,” says Maura Berndsen.
For questions or inquiries, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (206) 985-6646.
About Listen and Talk
Listen and Talk- Education for Children with Hearing Loss, 8610 8th Avenue, NE, Seattle, WA, 98115. 206-985-6646 (voice) 206-985-6687 (fax) email@example.com (email) www.listentalk.org (website). Maura Berndsen, Executive Director. Family-centered program teaches children with all degrees of hearing loss to listen, speak, and think in preparation for inclusion in neighborhood schools. Services include Birth to Three (0-3 yrs), Listening and Spoken Language Therapy (3-school age), Blended Classrooms (3-5 yrs), Statewide Outreach and Consultations, and Audiology Services. A summer program is offered in addition to services provided during the school year.
Our Senior Birth to Three Specialist, Kim Hamren and Educational Director Maura Berndsen will present Improving Equity in Services at the Washington Speech Language Hearing Association Convention on October 13. Learn more about this event at the WSLHA website.
About the presentation: There are stark disparities between families of color and white families accessing services and achieving great outcomes. We work to change this. Kim will describe our equity journey, reflect on organizational practices and demonstrate ways in which we are evolving our culture to improve access and outcomes for all families. Participants will develop action steps to improve equity in their organizations.
Kim Hamren, M.Ed, CED, LSLS Cert. AVT, is the Senior Birth to Three Specialist and Maura Berndsen, MA, CED, LSLS Cert. AVT is the Educational Director at Listen and Talk in Seattle and have worked at Listen and Talk since 1997. They mentor the Birth to Three and Classroom staff that provide services for families who have children with hearing loss.
"In what country is Mount Everest located?"
The answer is... Nepal!
Thousands of schools in the United States participate in the annual National Geographic Bee using materials prepared by the National Geographic Society. The contest is designed to encourage teachers to include geography in their classrooms, spark student interest in the subject, and increase public awareness about geography.
Earlier this year, Will (a Listen and Talk alum in the 8th grade) and two dozen of his schoolmates were challenged with questions about geography, history, and the world around us. These regional competitions were held in schools with fourth- through eighth-grade students throughout the state to determine a School Champion.
After several rounds of tense competition, Will was the last student standing and was crowned champion of The Overlake School in Redmond. Hooray!
As the School Champion, Will was selected as one of the elite students who will compete at the Washington State National Geographic State Bee this Friday, March 31 at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma. The State Champion will win some cool stuff ($100 and the National Geographic Concise Atlas of the World, 4th Edition) and a trip to our nation's capital to represent our state by competing in the National Geographic Bee Championship in May, where the winner will receive a $50,000 college scholarship and the title of National Champion.
Everyone at Listen and Talk is rooting for you, Will!
Do you have what it takes to be the next National Geographic Bee Champion? Learn more about the Bee, take a mini-test, or download their app by visiting Nat Geo's website.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY
The National Geographic Society is a leading nonprofit that invests in bold people and transformative ideas in the fields of exploration, scientific research, storytelling and education. We support educators to ensure that the next generation is armed with geographic knowledge and global understanding. We aspire to create a community of change, advancing key insights about our planet and probing some of the most pressing scientific questions of our time. Our goal is measurable impact: furthering exploration and educating people around the world to inspire solutions for the greater good.
GlobalGiving is the first and largest global crowdfunding community that connects nonprofits, donors, and companies in nearly every country around the world, making it possible for nonprofits all over the world (including Listen and Talk) to access the tools, training, and support they need to be more effective and make our world a better place. We are excited to announce 5 new GlobalGiving projects that you can help support!
From all of us at Listen and Talk, we send the warmest wishes to you and your family for a happy and healthy new year.
There is much for which to be grateful and as 2016 comes to a close, we are humbled and honored to serve the children and families who seek our help. We will continue to strive toward our vision that no child be limited by hearing loss and seek ways to expand and enhance our programs. We have several exciting initiatives to share with you:
The Gift of Music
Music to Help Children Learn to Listen
This project will provide support to Listen and Talk's music program for children who are deaf or hard of hearing. Music is a powerful tool in enriching a child's listening skills as they learn to listen and talk. Musical instruments, song books, and specialized materials available in our music program can help families make music an integral part of their everyday lives. #music #discovery #artsandculture
The Gift of Sound Access
Help them Hear! Hearing Device Loaner Bank
Listen and Talk will establish a hearing technology loaner bank serving 200 families/year. Children attending Listen and Talk use high-tech hearing devices to give them access to sound. Specialists help them develop the ability to listen when using their hearing devices. The loaner bank will allow for learning to listen even when a personal device is in repair. #soundaccess #hearingdevices #uninterruptedlearning
The Gift of Knowledge
Building Capacity in Underserved Regions
There is a shortage of qualified providers in many regions of Washington State. The goal of this project is to advance the skill development of birth-to-three providers serving children who are deaf or hard of hearing and their families, in underserved areas of WA. #knowledge #mentorship #outreach
Please consider making a year-end contribution to Listen and Talk or specifically to one of these projects and please encourage your friends, family, and colleagues to do the same. All donations are tax-deductible for U.S. taxpayers to the full extent permitted by law.
With deep gratitude,
Suzanne Quigley, PhD, CCC-A
OH, THE PLACES WE’LL GO! – 2017 BENEFIT AND AUCTION
Saturday, March 11, 2017
Join our Newsletter mailing list to ensure you receive a digital invitation! We will be delivering an e-vite in December, with a link to buy tickets online.
Can’t attend? Make a 100% tax-deductible donation today!
Click here for more details!
"Hunter and Riley wanted to come back and visit the students at Listen and Talk. It was tough to logistically get them here today, but we knew it was worth it, so we made it happen... Our daughters received early intervention services and attended preschool here. When they entered grade school, they were right on par with their peers...the school was impressed at how well Listen and Talk had prepared the girls! It really confirmed our decision to bring them here. Our whole extended family has so much appreciation and respect for Listen and Talk. Hunter and Riley are happy, well-adjusted, and brilliant kids and because of Listen and Talk, their potential knows no bounds."
"This was the FM system I used 20 years ago when I was a child with hearing loss. It's amazing how hearing technology has changed. Back then, it wasn't as simple as connecting a receiver to a hearing aid or implant. Now, it's better, more efficient, more reliable. Here's a polaroid of me as a preschooler with my educational audiologist. I had her support until I graduated from high school. Now, I'm a Teacher of the Deaf. And when I am working with a kiddo who is frustrated with their FM, I like to share this story. I hope it gives them some perspective about how far hearing technology has come."
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