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Why "Songs for Sound", Why "HEAR THE MUSIC"? Importance of MUSIC & Therapy Techniques

Everyone watching the ACM Awards last night in Las Vegas were engaged in one common theme...HEARING MUSIC. Lyrics and music are not only words and sounds which evoke emotions, but they help us heal, learn and love. 

When I rocked Lexi and sang lullabies to her in her first year, I couldn't understand why she wouldn't connect with me. Why wouldn't she put her head down on my shoulder? Instead, Lexi turned, squirmed and cried. Little did I know, we would eventually find out Lexi was born deaf and had been missed. We would eventually watch Lexi gain access to whispers, giggles and her favorite...MUSIC... because of her cochlear implant surgery. We would eventually watch Lexi make a dance team and learn to love the impact music plays in all of our lives. We would eventually watch Lexi, HEAR THE MUSIC. 

Music and lyrics help us HEAL. Music and lyrics help us connect with each other. We get to dance, laugh and love through MUSIC. 

But did you know MUSIC can be an incredible tool for auditory & speech therapy?

Here are some options and ways you can rehabilitate your hearing and speech after gaining access to sound through cochlear implants and hearing aids:

1. SPEECH DEVELOPMENT - A couple years ago, we started using music to develop Lexi's understanding and use of complex language. 

- Pick her favorite song

- Print the lyrics

- Have your child read the lyrics while listening to the music a few times

- either you or your speech pathologist walk through the lyrics with your child and have her underline the vocabulary she doesn't understand. Talk about that vocab and help her by expanding on it. Talk about the importance of phrases in speech and how powerful impact words can be when we are writing.

Soon, she'll have a higher cognitive perception of not only vocab, but also writing, speech and communication in general.

2. LISTENING IN NOISE - one of the most difficult things for someone who has hearing loss is learning to listen in noise. While technology is amazing with multi-directional microphones, you still need to teach your brain to LISTEN in noise. 

- print lyrics

- read and study lyrics while listening

- if that's a bit difficult, make sure you start by listening to classical music and hearing the different sounds before advancing to lyrical songs

- finally, remember to start with familiar songs (if any) and work to more difficult songs over time

- don't beat yourself up and take hearing breaks! this will be hard, like training for a marathon

For some of the best research and information on Music Therapy, follow the following individuals and the amazing CI Music Research team at the University of Iowa HERE.