Looking for a way to continue your listening skill development? Here are a few practice activities you can do at home.

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No matter how long you’ve had your cochlear implant, some people still find listening challenging in some environments. For some it’s having a conversation in a noisy café or restaurant, attending a music concert with friends, or participating on a group conference call with work colleagues.

We talked to cochlear implant recipients to share their advice about activities they have tried at home – both alone and with their families – that have helped them to build listening skills.

“I think practicing listening is the best thing you can do,” says bilateral cochlear implant recipient, Jack.

Husband wearing a Nucleus Sound processor playing cards at a table with his wife

Tom, also a bilateral cochlear implant recipient, agrees: “There are a lot of things you can do at home to help your hearing. It’s the simple things that can make all the difference.”

If you’re home-bound, here are some simple activities so you can put your time to good use:

Practice focused listening while watching the TV news

Jack says catching up with current affairs is one way to incorporate focused listening in your daily routine: “I turn on a news program and stream it directly to my sound processor. That way you can actually see the person’s lips moving, so you’re doing your own lip-reading along with listening to what’s being said.”

Play games

Games can provide some light relief in stressful times and also help to make listening practice fun, especially if they involve friends or family. Games also provide many opportunities for natural conversation to occur. Not only do they require you to learn how to play the game (if you don’t already know), but also to actively listen and communicate with the other people you’re playing with.

Ideally, the game should require you both to listen and communicate, consider games such as Celebrity Heads, Taboo1, Trivial Pursuit2, Rummy, or Go Fish.

For Tom and his wife, that game has been cribbage: “That forced me to learn some of the words she was saying. She would count her cards and little things like that that were very helpful. We made a point to play games every day.”

Practice with someone

Try practicing with a partner to build skills in recognizing commonly heard phrases. Get your partner to say the sentence. Without lip reading, try to repeat as many words as you can. If you are not sure, you can fill in the missing words with your best guess. Get your partner to tell you which words you got correct and encourage you to use strategies to clarify parts of the sentence you may have gotten wrong.

Using phrases, such as “can you repeat?”, “did you say…?” or “can you say it a different way?” are all recommended.

Remember to use words, phrases and sentences you’re likely to hear every day so they’re more familiar. You can also practice phrases which are relevant to your personal life be that social or work activities. “My wife and I would go through my work rosters and read out the names and towns where my people worked,” says Tom. “I can read lips very well, so my wife would put a piece of paper up in front of her lips so I wouldn’t cheat!”

Reading aloud, audiobooks, and YouTube

Listening to someone reading aloud from a written passage or listening to audiobooks while following along with a printed copy of the book in front of you can be a good way to re-learn the rhythm and pattern of sentences and individual words. It is also helpful for identifying words in connected speech.

Use music and lyrics to help you recognize words

Tom, like many others, finds reading lyrics and listening to music a great way to recognize words: “Listening to familiar music helped a lot. I love music from the 1970s – that’s my era, so I downloaded music with lyrics of music I knew from the 70s like the Eagles or the Rolling Stones, Lynyrd Skynyrd.”

You can also boost your music appreciation skills with Cochlear’s Bring Back the Beat™  app, available from the Apple® App Store 3 or on Google Play 4.

If you are looking for additional resources for improving your listening skills at home, we’ve compiled a list of individualized, innovative and motivating approaches.  Download Cochlear’s Adult Individual Hearing Therapy Tips Guide today.

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  2. © 2020 Hasbro. All rights reserved. All audio, visual and textual content on this site (including all names, characters, images, trademarks and logos) are protected by trademarks, copyrights and other Intellectual Property rights owned by Hasbro or its subsidiaries, licensors, licensees, suppliers and accounts.
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Anna Martinez
Anna Martinez is the Services and Marketing Specialist and has worked for Cochlear since 2016. She is responsible for facilitating recipient services content development and approval. Anna is a Colorado native and enjoys being outside in the beautiful weather with her husband and daughter.