The Ling sound check: An everyday, easy way to determine a child’s access to sounds

These days, technology in listening devices can tell you many things about what a child should be able to hear.  But sometimes you may not have all the needed information, or perhaps you don’t know how to interpret it.  You can always use the Ling sound check to help figure out if a child is able to hear all the sounds of speech.  A child needs to consistently hear all the sounds of speech to learn spoken language effectively.

The Ling sound check is a quick and easy tool to do with children daily.  It’s best if the same person performs this check, but anyone is able to do it-even a substitute teacher.  A good point person is the school nurse, first-hour teacher or SLP or TOD if one is available.  We recommend keeping track of how the student responds.    Over a few days or weeks, look for consistent unexpected changes in the child’s responses and report them to parents and pediatric audiologist right away.  You might discover the student’s battery is dead, or perhaps he doesn’t have a battery at all.  Furthermore, the student may have something temporary such as an ear infection or more permanent such as a change in hearing.

Check out the video below to see how to perform the Ling sound check.  Download the procedures to share with parents or other school staff.

Jennifer Manley served as a classroom teacher for students ages 3 to 12 at CID – Central Institute for the Deaf. She currently works in professional development giving presentations on auditory development and is co-author of CID SPICE for Life, an auditory learning curriculum and author of the 2nd edition of CID SPICE.

3 replies
  1. Ashley Machovec
    Ashley Machovec says:

    I think this post is really important for people to read to really understand that this check is very important to perform everyday. I have heard some people day, “I don’t do it, if I see the light on then their device is working” or “if their hearing aid squeals, that means its fine”, but that isn’t true at all! It can technically be working but they might not be able to hear certain sounds with it. Maybe it needs to be remapped because their hearing has changed. I worked with a baby once, and we did the Ling sounds with him everyday and if we noticed that he was not responding to the /s/ sound, that meant he was getting an ear infection. It was a great tool to use because the parents could address it quickly and not wait for it to get worse. There is so much important information that you can get from doing this quick simple test everyday, and it’s so important! I also think this video is a great short recap and easy to watch 🙂 Thank you for sharing!

  2. Nurul Akmar
    Nurul Akmar says:

    I conducted listening checks with my first grader when I was student teaching last year and it was fun for him. However, I noticed that he somehow ‘regressed’ when there was a few days’ gap between one listening check to another. I was not sure what could be the cause, or even if sound identification is a skill to be remembered that it can be forgotten if not reinforced. Overall, listening checks make students aware of their own listening quality and this can serve as a reference for them to monitor their own listening.

  3. Stella
    Stella says:

    I think this is interesting because I’ve mostly worked with older elementary students who most adults have come to assume would tell them if their hearing was different. But I think it’s important to stress the need for daily listening checks because some children don’t know how to report their hearing differences, can’t tell the difference because it’s happened gradually, or just for some reason go on with their lives despite noticed changes. I just started doing listening checks with the kids I am student teaching, and it’s so easy and fast, and the kids enjoy it!


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