When a child has an ear infection, there is extra fluid in the inner ear. Therefore, all of the sounds that he/she hears are dampened. Also, it sounds a little like listening under water. All speech sounds are not only muted, but also muffled. Therefore, if your little one is just learning language, then a whole new set of challenges have been introduced. Here are some ways you can help your child during this time:
- Speak at a slightly louder volume, but don't yell.
- Try to speak to your child facing him/her. It will help for your child to see your mouth while you talk - the more information he/she can get, the better!
- Talk a bit more slowly than usual, but still at a normal speed (too fast or too slow are both hard to understand).
- Don't over enunciate your words and move your mouth in weird ways. It doesn't help to over emphasize your mouth movements... just talk normally.
- Try to cut out as much background noise as possible. It's already hard for your child to hear - don't make him/her filter out the TV or radio while you are talking to him/her.
- Try not to give instructions or have lengthy conversations in the car. You can't face your child and the road noise will be a distraction.
If your child is deaf or hard of hearing and you have chosen an oral communication approach, then these practices should become part of your daily life.