Posted on

A Look Back At This Past Year And A Half

Now that it has been 18 months since the pandemic began, let’s look back at how Little Listeners has evolved to meet this challenge. Little Listeners has always had a focus on face-to-face care. It is partially a necessity as diagnostic tests can’t be run without the technology we have in office, and it is the most effective kind of care we can give. When the pandemic struck however, we knew changes had to be made fast. Both so that we could prevent the spread of the virus to our patients and so we could continue to provide the best care possible. First, we enacted a strict anti-virus policy for everyone coming into our office. This policy requires that masks are worn in the office, that we also check all our little listeners temperatures before starting any therapy sessions, and that we have everyone keep their hands clean with hand-washing/hand sanitizer. This policy does wonders for preventing the spread of Covid in the office, but it is far from the only changes we made. To reduce our reliance on in person care we have created multiple new options for performing our therapy at a distance. The best example of these programs is our new Teletherapy option. Teletherapy is where we conduct our therapy sessions over the phone each week. It comes with a bolstered Interactive Metronome and Hear Builder plan. This program allows for us to provide care for those who live too far away from the office to drive over twice each week and allow for our patients to get care while remaining quarantined. We are thankful for all of our little listeners who have stuck with us as we have grown and evolved. We are proud to say we have greatly improved our care over the past year despite the hardships. And, we are looking forward to continuing this growth in the years to come.

Posted on

October is National Audiology Awareness Month!

Hello Little Listeners! October is finally here and while I am sure that everyone is excited about Halloween, it isn’t the only important thing about this month. October is also National Audiology Awareness Month. The study of audiology is the vanguard for protecting people’s capacity for lifelong hearing. And hearing protection goes a long way to ensure that you avoid permanent hearing damage. So, make sure to remind your friends and family to protect their hearing this month. Some of the most effective methods of protecting your hearing are also the simplest. Like lowering the volume, moving away from loud noises, and wearing earplugs/earmuffs.

If you would like to learn more about protecting your hearing health, then visit the website of the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) at Noisyplanet.nidcd.nih.gov. If you would like to learn more about audiology in general, then visit audiology.org, or if you would like to learn more from your local experts, then visit our website at LittleListeners.com.

Posted on

Masks and APD

Masks can negatively affect the ability of children to understand speech. This is due to masks distorting speech and preventing lip reading. Both factors make speech perception harder for children with APD. The two main ways of mitigating the effect of masks are the use of transparent masks and hearing/speech therapy. Transparent masks allow for lip reading to be used even with masks on. Hearing and Speech therapy acts to support and improve speech perception skills to counteract the negative influence from masks. More studies will need to be done to fully understand the pandemic’s impact on the speech and language development of our nation’s children (Charney et al., 2020). Regardless of the effect that masks have on speech perception, masks are a necessary tool during the pandemic to reduce transmission of the virus. Covid-19 Survivors can retain permanent damage to their bodies. So please stay safe.

Reference:

Charney, S. A., Camarata, S. M., & Chern, A. (2020). Potential Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Communication and Language Skills in Children. Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, 0194599820978247.

Posted on

Black History Month: Halle Berry

As we celebrate Black History Month, we reflect on the contributions African Americans have made in so many different areas of society and the adversity the African American community is continually overcoming. Adversity is nothing new for model and actress Halle Berry.

Did you know that Halle Berry has hearing loss in one ear? That has not stopped her from pursuing her passion to become an actress and model! She is recognized as the first African American to win an Academy Award for best actress as well as the first African American to even be nominated for an Oscar for best actress. She’s also earned an Emmy and a Golden Globe Award for her performances.

Halle Berry has not let any obstacles she’s faced get in the way of the pursuit of her passions and dreams. Ms. Berry is a positive role model and reminds us that hearing loss should not preclude any career or personal goals from becoming a reality!

Posted on

We Love Our Planet!

Hello Little Listeners! We hope everyone is enjoying the summer themes so far! This week is Space Week since we think Little Listeners Is Out of This World! Because of our love for our Little Listeners World and Planet Earth, we wanted to encourage everyone to make some helpful changes to REDUCE, REUSE, AND RECYCLE!

The most effective way to reduce waste is to not create it in the first place. Making a new product requires a lot of materials and energy – raw materials must be extracted from the earth, and the product must be fabricated then transported to wherever it will be sold. As a result, reduction and reuse are the most effective ways you can save natural resources, protect the environment and save money.

Ideas on How to Reduce and Reuse

  • Buy used. You can find everything from clothes to building materials at specialized reuse centers and consignment shops. Often, used items are less expensive and just as good as new.
  • Look for products that use less packaging. When manufacturers make their products with less packaging, they use less raw material. This reduces waste and costs. These extra savings can be passed along to the consumer. Buying in bulk, for example, can reduce packaging and save money.
  • Buy reusable over disposable items. Look for items that can be reused; the little things can add up. For example, you can bring your own silverware and cup to work, rather than using disposable items.
  • Maintain and repair products, like clothing, tires and appliances, so that they won’t have to be thrown out and replaced as frequently.
  • Borrow, rent or share items that are used infrequently, like party decorations, tools or furniture.

Donation

One person’s trash is another person’s treasure. Instead of discarding unwanted appliances, tools or clothes, try selling or donating them. Not only will you be reducing waste, you’ll be helping others. Local churches, community centers, thrift stores, schools and nonprofit organizations may accept a variety of donated items, including used books, working electronics and unneeded furniture.

Recycling Basics

Recycling is the process of collecting and processing materials that would otherwise be thrown away as trash and turning them into new products. Recycling can benefit your community and the environment.

Benefits of Recycling

  • Reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills and incinerators
  • Conserves natural resources such as timber, water and minerals
  • Increases economic security by tapping a domestic source of materials
  • Increases economic security by tapping a domestic source of materials
  • Saves energy
  • Supports American manufacturing and conserves valuable resources
  • Helps create jobs in the recycling and manufacturing industries in the United States

Steps to Recycling Materials

Recycling includes the three steps below, which create a continuous loop, represented by the familiar recycling symbol.

  • Step 1: Collection and Processing
  • Step 2: Manufacturing
  • Step 3: Purchasing New Products Made from Recycled Materials
Posted on

June Excitement!

Hello Little Listeners! We have been having the BEST summer here so far! If you have been following along with our summer themes on social media, you know we have been having so much fun dressing up like super hear-o’s, decorating stars to hang in the lobby, and watching Disney movies! We have also seen some great progress with our Interactive Metronome Home and HearBuilder Competitions. So far, the front runners are making big jumps ahead, but there is nothing but time! If you think you need to do more, then jump on your IM Home or HearBuilder and get in the lead! In the office, our SRO Competition has been nothing but fun! Our winners have been Aubrey, Eli, Colin, and Emma. Their top scores have been in the 160’s which is incredible! However, do not think it is too high – anyone can top anyone’s scores! Hard work is key so keep getting excited to come in the clinic and do your absolute best so YOU can win a special trip to the SRO treasure chest!

With all this talk about Interactive Metronome, we wanted to talk about some of the incredible success stories we have heard about IM recently. In particular, one of our friends, who we will call Johnny. Johnny came in last week for a re-evaluation. He has been doing Interactive Metronome at home for a while now which his parents said has made ALL the difference in the world. They told us how his progress in school has sky rocketed along with his athletic skills. While improving baseball scores is not always our immediate goal, it is awesome to see kids be so excited that something they are doing at home is helping with their skills on the baseball field. His parents were very thankful that they did not think of originally had helped in so many ways.

This praise is not the first of its kind we have heard. One of our friends earlier this year saw such immediate results while completing IM in the clinic, he begged his mom and dad to get a home unit. His parents were ecstatic he enjoyed it so much since they could tell a huge difference as well. They thought it helped his anxiety and overall mood especially when he did it before school in the morning. As the school year quickly approaches, we urge parents to take the time to notice what kind of effect Interactive Metronome makes on their child to see if it is something that could be beneficial at the beginning of the day.

One of the most common things we hear from parents about Interactive Metronome is that they notice how much calmer their children are after doing it. Whether it makes their more even tempered, more organized, less nervous or anxious, etc. we always hear positive things about the effects of IM especially in the classroom which is why we believe it is such an amazing tool!

Well that’s all for now Little Listeners! Remember to keep up with our social media this summer for updates about summer themes and upcoming events like new ways to dress up or days that we will be closed. Also, whenever you are in the office make sure to look at the white board to see the winners of our SRO Competition!

Posted on

Super Hear-O Week Blog

Who are our super hear-os? Habits to keep up over the summer to make sure your ears and
progress stay in super hear-o shape?

Hello Little Listeners! We are so excited that it is finally summer time! This means it if
officially time for participating in our fun summer themes, competing in our HearBuilder, IM
Home, and IM SRO Competitions, hanging out at the pool, going on vacation, and most
importantly – having fun! This week is Super Hear-O week because we encourage all of our
Little Listeners to listen like Super Hear-O’s! With all this being said though, we have to
remember to keep up our good habits to keep our ears, listening, and progress in Super Hear-O shape!

Keeping our ears in Super Hear-O shape can be done in many ways. First, it is important
to make sure all that pool or lake water comes out of your ears after going swimming. When
water gets trapped in the ear, it is easy for an ear infection to form. To accomplish this, try
putting a little bit of rubbing alcohol in your ears after you get out of the lake or pool. The
rubbing alcohol will help this water evaporate along with possibilities of an ear infection!

To keep your listening in Super Hear-O shape, make sure you are keeping up with your
appointments in the clinic and HearBuilder. HearBuilder is such an amazing tool because it helps keep all the skills we work on in therapy in tip-top shape! By working on Auditory Memory, Phonological Awareness, Sequencing, and Following Directions, you can make sure that everything you worked on in the clinic does not fade away in the summer sun.

Progressing over the summer is also very important! Putting in a ton of work
during the school year is great, but we cannot let all that hard work get erased during the
fun summer months. To keep your progress on track, make sure you are keeping up with
your reassessment appointments here in the clinic. Also, keep working on skills you
learned in the classroom during the school year. This could mean working on math facts,
going over spelling lists, or reviewing science lessons. While this might seem like not the
most fun summer activity, you could incorporate this in games outside or car trips. For
example, try replacing five or ten minutes of “device time” with review from school. We
think you will definitely be happy you did once you get back in the classroom this fall.

To keep this summer theme fun going, next will be Space Week because Little
Listeners Is Out of This World! We hope everyone comes to therapy dressed up in their
favorite spacey outfits. Also get ready to decorate your very own star and hang it in the
lobby! Make sure you are keeping up with the white board to see any future
announcements like winners of the weekly IM SRO Competition. If you ever find
yourself forgetting what the theme is currently or in the future, please reference the
previous blog which outlines all the fun we will be having this summer OR our Instagram
and Facebook accounts. We want everyone to be well informed so we can all have fun
together this summer!

Well that’s all for now Little Listeners! We hope everyone keeps enjoying Super
Hear-O Week and is getting ready for Space Week!

Posted on

First Weekly Summer Blog… YAY!

Hello Little Listeners! It is that time again… SUMMER! For those of you who do not know, summer is our favorite time of the year here at Little Listeners. We make sure that summers are just as fun in the clinic as they are outside playing at the pool. To make this dream a reality, we have come up with different themes and arts and crafts for each week along with competitions! We encourage everyone to participate with the themes which could mean coming to therapy dressed up or ready to make a craft. Additionally, we will be holding competitions inside and outside of the clinic.

Our first week of summer, May 28th through the 31st will be School’s Out Week! We will be celebrating completing an awesome school year all week with some fun handouts.

June 3rd through the 7th will be Super Hear-O Week! Little Listener employees will be dressing up in their favorite super hero t-shirts, and we hope you will do the same! We also love when our friends come dressed up in full costumes, so sky is the limit!

June 10th through the 14th will be Space Week! We believe Little Listeners is ~out of this world~ and hope you do too. We will be decorating the office like outer space so come ready to do some arts and crafts with us to complete the look!

June 17th through the 21st will be Disney – Pixar Week because Little Listeners is the Happiest Place on Earth! Just like Super Hear-O Week, we will be dressing up in our favorite Disney gear so feel free to wear some fun accessories or dress up in your favorite character’s costume!

The last week of June, we will be gearing up for the 4th of July with Beach Week! This week is extra special because it is also Ms. Karen’s birthday week! For this week, we would love for everyone to come dressed up ready for the beach in their favorite sunglasses, flip-flops, and goggles. We will also be having a birthday party on Friday so get ready for some of Ms. Karen’s favorite treats!

Because of the 4th of July being such a fun and travel filled holiday, the office will be closed from July 1st to July 5th. Little Listeners will re-open on July 8th. (This is correct. Right?)

Once we are all back from having our Independence Day fun, we will be celebrating the 70’s by getting groovy from the 8th through the 12th of July. Feel free to come dressed up in your favorite tie dye and bell bottoms. We will also be doing a fun craft to recreate the 70’s vibes!

July 15th through the 19th is another very special week because it is Ms. Dawn’s birthday week! To celebrate her, we will fill the office with all of Ms. Dawn’s favorite things like sports, ice cream, and coffee. Come to therapy representing your favorite team and there might be an ice cream sundae waiting for you on Thursday for Ms. Dawn’s birthday party! Also, according to Ms. Lindsey, Monday, July 15th is a national holiday because it is COW APPRECIATION DAY! Everyone at Little Listeners will be dressing up as cows so come join in on the fun!

July 22nd through the 26th will be Safari Week since we are constantly on the lookout for the best Little Listener! We will be decorating the office like a jungle so come ready to create an animal face that might appear in the midst of the jungle.

July 29th through August 2nd will be Going Back to School Week for our kiddos and for Ms. Lindsey! We will be celebrating with pencil pouches filled with all sorts of goodies and all of Ms. Lindsey’s favorite things from ear wax to strawberries. We cannot wait to have you come celebrate with us!

To add a few more fun things into the summer madness, Little Listeners will be having some competitions inside and outside of the office! Weekly, there will be a competition to see who gets the highest number of Super Right On’s while completing their Interactive Metronome. For our kiddos outside of the office, we will also be counting to see who completes the most days of Interactive Metronome Home. Finally, we will also be checking who does the most days of HearBuilder over the summer. The HearBuilder competition is for our friends who come to any office or are home based clients. There will be special prizes for the top users so make sure to get your Interactive Metronome and HearBuilder scores up! All of these competitions will begin on Tuesday, May 28th and end on Friday, July 26th. The winners will be announced on Monday, July 29th! We cannot wait to see all of the amazing goals you all will accomplish!

Little Listeners is also very excited to introduce a new face around the office. Ms. Karen has been a vital member of the Little Listeners team since October of 2018. She has been helping out with therapies and office management tasks while getting ready to take over an even bigger role – Audiology Assistant! Ms. Lindsey will be leaving us at the end of the summer so she will be passing the swing (haha, get it?) to Ms. Karen! Karen has years of experience as an educator and months of experience at Little Listeners. She has proven to be awesome with our kiddos and know that she will be more than ready to dive in this summer for all the fun we have planned!

Posted on

Autism Spectrum Disorder Month

Autism or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) refers to a broad range of conditions
characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal
communication, according to AutismSpeaks.org. In 2018, the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC) increased the prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder by 15% to 1 in 59
children. While autism is considered common now days, it is important to remember that there is not one type of autism, but many subtypes. This is why autism is referred to as a spectrum disorder. Each person with autism has a distinct set of strengths and challenges.

The ways in which people with autism learn, think, and problem-solve can range greatly. Some people with ASD may require significant support in their daily lives, while others may need less support and, in some cases, live entirely independently. When considering the different needs of people with autism, it can be hard to know which direction to go in terms of intervention and support. Early intervention is recommended for all people with ASD since it can improve learning, communication and social skills, and brain development. However, where to go from there can often lead to uncertainty. Applied Behavior Analysis, Speech therapy, and Occupational therapy are often great options to pursue. One tool we use here at Little Listeners with our friends who have an autism diagnosis is Integrated Listening Systems (ILs). ILs integrates music, movement and language exercises for the purpose of improving brain function. ILs trains brain and body integration skills through a staged approach, starting with the fundamentals of sensory integration and then extending through more complex cognitive functions, including language, self-expression and social skills. Recently, Little Listeners has looked into numerous ILs case studies and found that the ILs protocols used by patients resulted in less aggressive behavior, staying on task at school, decreased anxiety, improvements in sleep, less rigid behaviors, better conversational skills, and many other positive behavioral changes. If Integrated Listening Systems might be something your child could benefit from, we strongly encourage you to contact us or check out their website.

Since April is Autism Awareness Month, we wanted to take the time to educate and
encourage all of our Little Listeners and their families. Since the prevalence of autism in the
United States is 1 in 59, we must know important facts about Autism Spectrum Disorder. Since 2014, research has led to many new conclusions about ASD such as the shrinking gender gap in autism. The prevalence of boys diagnosed used to be four times more likely than girls (1 in 37 versus 1 in 151) which has decreased by 0.5%. While this might seem like a small number, it is important to note that more girls are now receiving this diagnosis which means they can now access the intervention and services they need. Another important finding is that rates of autism vary drastically from state to state. Researchers believe this is due to access of education records and developing research of Autism Spectrum Disorder within states.

Little Listeners wanted to summarize 6 quick AUTISM facts to make sure everyone can
know as much as they can during this special month and the rest of the year:


A: A kid with Autism looks just like you and me; Autism just changes the way their brain works.


U: A kid Usually has autism from the time they are born.


T: You can learn a lot of cool Things from a kid with autism just as They can learn from
you.


I: The most Important thing to remember is that kids with autism are just kids like you and me

S: A kid with autism enjoys the Same things as me and you like playing, music,
birthdays, etc.


M: Kids with autism like having and Making new friends!


Well that’s all for now Little Listeners! If you have any questions about any of the
information in this blog, feel free to ask us or check out some of the websites listed below!

References:
https://www.autismspeaks.org/autism-facts-and-figures
https://integratedlistening.com/what-is-ils/
https://www.autismspeaks.org/science-news/cdc-increases-estimate-autisms-prevalence-15-
percent-1-59-children

Posted on

All About The Numbers!

As some of you might have heard before, at Little Listeners, we are all about the numbers. With so many numbers to keep track of though, it is very common that we are asked what do all these numbers mean? So, let’s break some of this down and dive right in to the numbers world of Little Listeners!

2013 – The year Little Listeners became a dream come true. Dr. Christa Reeves founded Little Listeners after her time at DeKalb Medical Center where she saw a particular need for Auditory Processing Disorder evaluation and therapy. With the help of Ms. Dawn and Ms. Kim, they have been growing ever since. 

930 – The estimated number of Little Listeners we have helped over the years. This total is astounding when thinking about the number of lives that have been changed. 

3 – Little Listener therapy sessions are comprised of listening training and rhythm training. For the listening portion of our sessions, patients listen to the Little Listeners PASE program recording tracks. There are 3 of them: Distorted Words (muffled speech), Words in Noise (think of sitting in a noisy restaurant and trying to listen to only the person across from you) and Competing Words (the patient hears one word in each ear so two words in total). These tracks are designed especially for Little Listeners therapy to help our patients strengthen their listening skills in situations they struggle with like a noisy classroom or hearing directions from a different room at their house.  

10 – Out of the three listening playlists (Distorted Words, Words in Noise, and Competing Words), there are 10 tracks of each. As the patient progresses in their therapy session, they move from tracks 1 to 10 and they become progressively more difficult. 

45-40-45 – How does a patient move from tracks 1 to 10? When a patient is listening to the words, they repeat them back to the Little Listeners staff member they are working with. If they get a word incorrect, it is marked so we can keep track of errors and correct them over time. For Distorted Words, patients are allowed to miss five out of 50 words to move on to the next track; hence, 45/50 correct. For Words in Noise, Little Listeners decided to allow patients to miss 10 out of 50 words since these are usually the most difficult words for our patients; hence, 40/50 correct. For Competing Words, patients are only allowed to miss five out of 50 words which brings us back to 45/50 correct. When a patient achieves these goals, they move on to the next listening track. 

0 – 100 – As mentioned earlier, the other part of Little Listeners therapy is rhythm training. During a patient’s initial Auditory Processing Disorder Evaluation, the patient will complete a Long Form Assessment (LFA) with the Interactive Metronome (IM) Unit. Interactive Metronome is an incredible program used for numerous things such as Auditory Processing Disorder, stroke victims, or those who have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder. If you would like more information about IM, we strongly encourage you to check out their website. When deciding what kind of training the patient should complete during therapy sessions, we use their millisecond averages from the complete during the Long Form Assessment. If their millisecond average is under 100 milliseconds, they start on a Hard Training Plan. This is very common for our adult patients.  

101 – 200 – If a patient’s IM LFA millisecond average was between 101 and 200, they start on a Medium Training Plan. This is common for our patients who are in middle school or high school. 

201 and up – If a patient’s IM LFA millisecond average is above 201 milliseconds, then they start on an Easy Training Plan. This is very common for our younger patients. As patient’s complete their training plan, they move on to a more difficult setting to strengthen their rhythm and timing skills even more. 

0 – 200 – while completing Interactive Metronome, the Little Listeners staff encourages patients to be in synchronization with the IM beat (the cow bell noise everyone hears around our office). When a patient is right on the beat, they earn an SRO or Super Right On. This number is then recorded and sets a new goal for the patient. It is so fun to see this number get higher and higher throughout therapy sessions. Sometimes it takes a while to get right on the beat, but when it does happen, it is especially rewarding for the patient! The highest number we have ever seen is around 150 which is very impressive considering there are only 200 beats in a task. During the summer, Little Listeners holds weekly competitions for the highest number of SRO’s. Stay tuned to learn about more details about this Summer’s competition!

6 – 12 – Part of the Little Listeners Therapy Model includes a reassessment 6 to 12 months after the chosen therapy option has been completed. Why is this reassessment so important? As you might have heard a Little Listeners staff member say before, we see a “setting in” phase for about 6 to 12 months after therapy sessions. During our intensive therapy sessions, the brain is trying to figure out what to do with the listening and rhythm training. However, during these 6 to 12 months, the brain can absorb and rewire the brain to use what has been taught during the therapy sessions. Therefore, it is vital for patients to come back after this 6 to 12-month period to see how much the brain has absorbed and how it is using what we taught it to do during therapy. The Little Listeners staff also wants to make sure that the patient’s skills are holding strong and/ or progressing compared to the testing norms from right when therapy ended. It is amazing to see how much the brain can still do after therapy is over, and we love to watch it work!

6 – the number of staff members Little Listeners is blessed to have. Between Dr. Reeves, Ms. Dawn, Ms. Karen, Ms. Kim, Ms. Lindsey, and Olly of course, Little Listeners is full of knowledge, passion, joy, and lots of tail wagging. 

1 – ONE office, ONE amazing team, ONE incredible community, all working towards ONE goal – helping anyone and everyone with their Auditory Processing and Audiology needs. 

Well that’s all for now Little Listeners! We hope you all enjoyed learning some of the meaning behind our number madness. If you have any questions about these numbers or any of this information, please do not hesitate to ask!