I'm dreaming of a quiet Christmas

With Christmas quickly approaching children everywhere are on their best behavior trying to ensure Santa will bring them their most coveted toy. Parents often go to great lengths this time of year to find that one toy their child MUST have. But did you know this year’s hot new toy could potentially damage your child’s hearing?

Most people realize children (and adults!) should wear hearing protection at concerts or if they will be exposed to very loud sounds, such as power tools or gunshots. However, people often don’t realize toys for children can produce sounds that are as loud as a lawn mower! Depending on how close the speaker is to your child’s ear, the music or sound effects could get as loud as a rock concert.

Aside from getting rid of the toy or removing the batteries, putting duct tape over the speaker(s) will dampen the sound and keep it from reaching damaging levels. If there is a volume control, be sure to set it at the lowest level. There are organizations that review children’s toys every year and release lists of the worst offenders, so check these lists before buying if you’re concerned the toy you are purchasing may produce loud sounds. If you are concerned about a toy not on this list or one your child already owns, downloading a sound level meter app on your smart phone can help you determine if sound produced by the toy is safe or not. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has a great sound level meter app. Any sounds above 85 decibels could be harmful to your child’s (and your) hearing health.

The Sight and Hearing Foundation produces a list of noisy toys every year as do many other organizations. A colleague recently produced two infographics regarding noisy and safe toys adapted from the Arizona Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Be sure to check these lists or measure the sound from your child’s toys to protect your kiddos from noise induced hearing loss. And if you ever have concerns regarding your child’s hearing be sure to have their hearing evaluated by a licensed Audiologist.



noisy toys 2018.jpg
safe noisy toys 2018.jpg

Will my child grow out of their speech delay?

It can be difficult to determine whether or not evaluation is appropriate for your child and just what is “normal” when it comes to development of communication.

Though some children do grow out of a speech or language impairment, the wait and see approach is not recommended. According to the American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA), almost 8% of children in the U.S. have a communication disorder. That’s 1 in 12!

The data indicates that out of the 8% of children with communication disorders, 5% have speech problems, 3.3% have language problems, 1.4% have voice problems, and 0.9% have swallow difficulties. Studies report more than 1/3 of these children are aged 3-10.


The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) has an online checklist available for parents for those parents who are concerned about their child’s development and want to learn more about what’s considered typical.

As children move through their development, parents are anxiously awaiting each milestone. The first word, combining words, using verbs, pronouns, etc. When children seem to fall behind peers parents can start to wonder whether or not they should seek outside help. Speech-language pathologists are trained to identify speech and language deficits and disorders. Early identification and intervention is important as the earlier they are addressed, the less negative impact they will have on the child’s school, emotional, and social lives.

Did my baby just say their first word?

As new parents it can be difficult to determine whether your baby is using a word meaningfully, or you just thought you heard “mama” in their babble.

Let’s explore the definition from a developmental standpoint of a “word”!

A baby’s first word typically occurs anywhere between 11-14 months of age. The foundation for first words stems from your babies babbles. It can be hard to tell the difference between babbling and true words, because first words typically happen alongside babbling and jargon. Even though your child may be saying their first words, babbling can still continue to be part of their sound play after.

When babies use “quasi-words” they are making a consistent sound to indicate an object but there is no similarity to the adult form (e.g. “aba” for water). These are typically preceding words.

So what exactly is a “word”?
A vocal production is considered a word when it is produced consistently and is similar to the adult form of the word and is used with an understanding of it’s meaning (e.g. “wawa” to indicate water consistently).

Most children’s first words will contain speech sounds that are easy to see (e.g. produced in the front of the mouth) such as “m” or “b” which require little articulatory finesse and rely instead on an open close movement of the jaw.

First word shapes typically include Consonant-Vowel-Consonant-Vowel (CVCV) like “mama” or “dada”, CV word shapes like “no”, and VC word shape like “up”.

As well as babbling, quasi-words, and words, there are other communication cues we are looking for from your child. As a speech therapist looking for communicative intent, I am also observing:

  • grunts

  • mutual eye contact

  • eye gaze

  • prosody (variation in pitch)

  • imitation of facial expressions (smiling in response to a smile)

As always, if you have any questions/concerns regarding your child’s communication development, reach out to your pediatrician, or give us a call here at Sound! We offer free speech and hearing screenings and are happy to answer any questions you may have!

Thanksgiving tips for those with hearing loss

Thanksgiving tips for those with hearing loss

Thanksgiving is a time for being thankful for what we have, for eating (tons of) delicious food, and catching up with loved ones. For those with hearing loss, Thanksgiving can also bring added stress due to large group gatherings, background noise, and conversations that are fast and plentiful. We wanted to provide you with some tips on how to not only survive, but succeed this holiday season, with tips for those with hearing loss!

Read More

A Star Is Born's tinnitus troubles discussed by Bradley Cooper's real life otolaryngologist

A Star Is Born's tinnitus troubles discussed by Bradley Cooper's real life otolaryngologist

he most recent remake of A Star Is Born has captured our hearts here at Sound. You might be asking yourself, why is a speech and hearing clinic talking about A Star Is Born? One of the central storylines of A Star Is Born is the struggle Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper) has with hearing loss and tinnitus. Learn more about the condition in our recent blog post.

Read More