If you walk into a toy store this holiday season, chances are you may be bombard with repetitive tunes, mechanical voices and motorized movements. Toys that make sound are all the rage these days, and may times children are attracted to them.
But are noisy toys a good option for children with hearing loss?
As a parent of a child with hearing loss, you were most likely recommended to provide as much sound, speech and language stimulation to your child as possible. So, it might seem to make sense to choose an electronic toy this holiday season. But, before you gift one of the new, hot toys, it may be more beneficial to think about going the traditional route.
A recent study in JAMA Pediatrics shows that besides being battery drainers, electronic toys do not live up to their promise of increasing language. Toys that talk do not promote stimulating interactions and are too passive, according to the report.
“Play with electronic toys is associated with decreased quantity and quality of language input compared with play with books or traditional toys. To promote early language development, play with electronic toys should be discouraged. Traditional toys may be a valuable alternative for parent-infant play time if book reading is not a preferred activity.” – Association of the Type of Toy Used During Play With the Quantity and Quality of Parent-Infant Communication
Good news… Old fashioned books are best for language learning.
Books stimulate interactive communication. They also provide conversation between the child and parent or care giver, which is key for language development.
Traditional puzzles and blocks also make for good gifts, as they provide quality interaction between the parent and child during pay time. However, there is often a little less amount of communication opportunities.
So, when Grandma asks what kind of present to get your little one, make it easy on them. Have them remember back to their favorite books they read with you. Give them the chance to create new, but familiar and interactive memories with your hearing impaired child, and help develop language skills along the way.
What were your favorite books as a child? Do you have any other tips for choosing the best toys for hearing impaired babies?