Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Ways to Help Toddlers that Stutter

In the United States, over 3 million Americans who stutter.  Educators and peers may perceive toddlers who stutter as shy, nervous, anxious, withdrawn, self-conscious, tense, less competent, introverted and insecure.





Speech and language skills develop at a fast pace when children are toddlers. Toddlers learn new words almost every day. Toddlers are learning how to say the sounds in the words they know. They are also learning how to structure sentences in a way that a person understands and gets them what they want. 

Toddlers have a lot of information they want to communicate. However, they do not always have the skills to communicate all of the information they want to say to someone. Therefore, it is not uncommon for children between the ages of 2 and 5 to stutter. The stuttering may come and go or last for a couple of weeks. If stuttering disappears and then returns they may be going through another stage of learning language.  

Below are ways to help toddlers that stutter and when to refer to a speech language pathologist (SLP). If you have any questions please feel free to contact us directly at 972-608-0416. 

Ways to Help Toddlers that Stutter

  • Do not make a big deal about the stuttering. 
  • Remain calm when children stutter. Children become frustrated if you are frustrated. 
  • Create opportunities for talking that are relaxed, fun, and enjoyable.
  • Take the pressure off children.  Show them that you are interested in what they are saying and give them time to communicate information.
  • Model a slower rate of speech. When caregivers talk fast it puts pressure on children to talk at the same rate of speech. Toddlers do not have the ability to get their thoughts out as fast as an adult. 
  • Keep things simple. Ask one question at a time. This enables children to focus on one answer. Multiple questions can put pressure on a child to recall all of the questions and communicate the answers. 
  • Comment on what the child has said rather than asking questions. If a child says “Look at my car” a simple comment (e.g., “Wow, that’s a fast car”) will put less communicative pressure on the child than a question (e.g., “Is it fast?”)
  • Develop a successful communication environment without distractions or interruptions. Distractions and interruptions stop the thought process and will make it more difficult for the child to communicate information. 
  • Be positive about every communication attempt. Making comments like "Slow down,"  "Stop and take a deep breath," “Say it this way” should not be used.  They may be meant to help children, however, they can actually make children more self-conscious. If children become self conscious they typically limit the information they communicate. Children need to communicate to develop their expressive language skills
  • Set up successful talking situations. Don't put pressure on your child to entertain or interact verbally with other people when stuttering becomes a problem. Encourage activities that do not involve a lot of verbal interaction.


Refer to an SLP when a Child:
  • Repeats sounds of words such as c-c-c-c-carrot or ca-ca-ca-carrot.
  • Holds out sounds in words “mmmmy truck is red.”
  • Shows tension in the muscles of the face or body during stuttering moments.
  • Substitutes or deletes sounds and is difficult to understand.
  • Demonstrates language skills that are above or below their peers. Children with advanced language skills may have trouble communicating all of the information that they know. 
  • Exhibits hitting or biting. Children may hit or bite because they are frustrated due to not being able to communicate the words they want to say or are afraid of stuttering.
  • Has been stuttering longer than 6 months.
  • Began stuttering after age 3 ½. 
  • Has another member in the family that stutters.

Achieve Hearing & Rehabilitation is a speech and hearing clinic with locations in Plano and Dallas, Texas. We offer speech language pathology and audiological services to children and adults of all ages, and resources to help you target your specific speech therapy needs.  If you or someone you know demonstrates any signs stuttering, please call us at 972-608-0416 to discuss how Achieve can help. 

Achieve a Balanced Life

Friday, March 4, 2016

Not that loud. Turn it down.

Don’t allow your hearing to go up in smoke.

You probably know someone dear to you who wears hearing aids, ear plugs, headphones or at least earbuds.  All three can be extremely beneficial when used properly.  Over the last 5 years people have been looking for the best earbuds and headphones.   You probably use earbuds yourself.  Perhaps you use earbuds to listen to your favorite book or your favorite music while jogging.  As a student, earbuds can help you escape a room filled with background chatter.  And for those who want to cross communication barriers, headphones are used as a way to learn a new language.

The truth about noise and hearing loss.
Earbuds and headphones help us keep our hands free to do other tasks, but they can also lead to noise-induced hearing loss if not used correctly.  Studies suggest that misuse or overuse of personal audio devices will lead to cognitive overload and result in impaired performance.  For those of you who dislike little buds in your ears or headphones, that’s fine, but you are not exempt from experiencing noise-induced hearing loss, especially if you attend loud recreational activities like rock concerts, NASCAR races or Monster Jam motorsport events.  Very loud noise can cause permanent hearing loss. Listening to loud noise for long periods of time can damage the hair cells in the inner ear. Noise-induced hearing loss usually develops gradually and painlessly. A single exposure to an extremely loud sound such as an explosion can cause a sudden loss of hearing. This is called acoustic trauma.

Gas Monkey Garage | Monster Jam 2016 | AT&T Stadium | Texas


Noise-induced hearing loss can affect many aspects of life. In young children, it impairs language acquisition. Learning disabilities, anxiety and attention-seeking behaviours are also common in children exposed to loud sounds.

The impact of chronic noise exposure in children is reflected in lowered academic performance and outcomes as well as reduced motivation and concentration.

If you must listen, make sure you listen safely.
The healthy hearing threshold is generally taken as 0 dB (11); a whisper is around 30 dB and normal conversation approximately 60 dB (124). Some common sounds and their intensities (dB) are indicated below.  Ears are designed to process the moderate levels of sound that exist in our normal environment (e.g. quiet conversation). Common recreational activities (e.g. rock concerts, listening to personal music players), however, often involve exposure to much higher sound levels for extended periods, and scientific evidence is accumulating to demonstrate that these recreational noise activities are potentially harmful to hearing. The factors that determine the level of risk are the intensity and duration of noise exposure.  Hearing protection devices can be broadly classified as either earplugs, which are inserted at the entrance of the ear canal, or earmuffs, which cover the outside of ear

Wearing ear plugs.
Ticketmaster, the ticket sales and distribution company for Monster Jam says, “We highly recommend ear protection, particularly for children that are sensitive to loud noises. At any live sporting event, children or adults may be sensitive to the noise level. Ear plugs and headphones are sold at Monster Jam merchandise stands. You can also bring your own ear protection.”  The Monster Jam website says, “Our concessions staff does sell Monster Jam Tire novelty ear protection and disposable ear plugs while supplies last at each event.”

When visiting discotheques, bars, sporting events and other noisy places or participating in rifle shooting, use of hearing protection helps to avoid damage to hearing. Many countries have legislated, to a varying degree, on the use of personal hearing protection in the occupational setting. However, there is little in the way of legislation, guidelines or recommendations for use of hearing protection for recreational noise exposure.

How can noise-induced hearing loss be treated?
There is no medical or surgical cure for noise-induced hearing loss: damaged hair cells cannot regenerate . Once hearing loss begins, however, its progression can be halted by avoiding further exposure to loud sounds.  At present, there are only limited management options – such as hearing aids and counselling – for individuals with even a low degree of noise-induced hearing loss.  Current treatment methods for noise-induced hearing loss focus on people in severely noisy environments such as the military.

Google Search | Hearing Loss Data





At Achieve Hearing & Rehabilitation we believe that education leads to a person's success. That's why we spend extra time with our patients to make sure they understand the results of their evaluations and personalized care plans. Achieve Hearing specializes in advanced digital hearing technologies, diagnostic audiological testing, transitioning individuals from hearing loss to successful hearing aid use, and central auditory processing.  Most adults acquire hearing loss gradually over time. Thus, many people with a significant hearing loss avoid getting help because they do not realize they have a problem.  If you or someone you know demonstrates any signs and symptoms of hearing loss please call us at 972-608-0416 to discuss how Achieve Hearing can help.


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References: 
WHO World Health Organization | Hearing loss due to recreational exposure to loud sounds
Causes of Hearing Loss in Adults | Acoustic Trauma
Ticketmaster | Monster Jam
Monster Jam | Do you supply ear protection?
Gas Monkey Garage



Friday, February 5, 2016

Prescription Drug Use Resulting In Hearing Loss



Being a parent means having talks that are not necessarily fun, but definitely necessary. Now that I have two teenagers, I seem to be having more and more of these talks, although I started them when the girls were really little… especially when it comes to substance abuse.

As soon as the girls could talk, we started talking about drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes. I wanted them to know that they can always talk about these things to me and Pete, and what was acceptable and not in our family. We set expectations from the very beginning and we continue to add to our talks as they get older.

Source: Tips To Talk To Your Kids About Drugs & Alcohol

Did you know?
Certain medications can damage the ear, resulting in hearing loss, ringing in the ear, or balance disorders. These drugs are considered ototoxic.

There are more than 200 known ototoxic medications (prescription and over-the-counter) on the market today. These include medicines used to treat serious infections, cancer, and heart disease.

Hearing and balance problems caused by these drugs can sometimes be reversed when the drug therapy is discontinued. Sometimes, however, the damage is permanent.

For cases in which the drugs cannot be stopped or changed, the patient and the audiologist can take steps to manage the effects of the hearing loss that results.  Most adults acquire hearing loss gradually over time. Thus, many people with a significant hearing loss avoid getting help because they do not realize they have a problem.

Hearing loss can affect relationships, education, productivity, and most importantly, emotional well being. For the estimated 30 million people in the U.S. who have a hearing loss, selecting the most suitable hearing solution can be a critical factor in achieving a balanced life.

Achieve Hearing & Rehabilitation is a speech and hearing clinic with locations in Plano and Dallas, Texas. Achieve Hearing offers speech-language pathology and audiological services, as well as hearing aids for children and adults of all ages. The Achieve Hearing staff includes an Audiologist and Speech-Language Pathologists that are licensed in the state of Texas and certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Loud Super Bowl and Crowd Noise

NFL Conference Championships | New England Patriots vs. Denver Broncos (18 - 20 Broncos)


For diehard football fans, nothing beats screaming your lungs out in the stadium alongside tens of thousands of other fans.

There is, however, a downside: hearing loss.

With the battle among fans to be the loudest crowd getting almost as competitive as the NFL itself, hearing experts say it's time for a serious conversation about the damage caused by crowd noise.

Source: Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close: Fans Risk Hearing Loss

Family and friends will gather at tailgate parties during the Super Bowl while others search high and low for one more chair to somehow squeeze into an already crowded living room.  There will be man caves bulging with testosterone around the world.  Some lucky football fans will have the opportunity to experience this mega event in epic proportions – cheering for their favorite Super Bowl team at Levi's Stadium.  This all sounds great until you lean how the loud Super Bowl screaming and continuous exposure to crowd noise can be really bad for your ears.


Did you know?
Decibel levels exceeded 118 dB during this seasons NFL playoff game between the Denver Broncos and the New England Patriots.

Noise-Induced Hearing Loss Long or repeated exposure to sounds at or above 85 decibels can cause hearing loss. NIHL can be caused by a one-time exposure to an intense “impulse” sound, such as an explosion, or by continuous exposure to loud sounds over an extended period of time.

So when we look specifically at the degree of hearing loss we are talking about the severity of the loss. Example: Mild hearing loss range is 26 to 40 dB HL (decibel hearing loss).

Hearing loss can affect relationships, education, productivity, and most importantly, emotional well being. For the estimated 30 million people in the U.S. who have a hearing loss, selecting the most suitable hearing solution can be a critical factor in achieving a balanced life.  Achieve Hearing & Rehabilitation helps patients overcome different types of hearing loss. If you or someone you know demonstrates any signs and symptoms of hearing loss please call us at 972-608-0416 to discuss how Achieve Hearing can help.

Achieve a Balanced Life