From the time I was 12, I spent virtually everyday of the summer hanging out, or lifeguarding once I was old enough, at the high school pool. Even now, the smell of chlorine at a pool brings back fond memories.
If you’re an underwater swimmer, you know that sounds are very muffled under the surface of the water.
One mom that I spoke with recently shared that she always believed that the way her son heard was like listening underwater. Can you imagine the effect that this would have on someone’s speech and learning?
This boy’s hearing has been tested every year and is always normal, but his speech is extremely unclear and his reading and comprehension are extremely delayed. He had continuous ear infections through the age of 3, causing him to literally be listening through fluid.
In spite of the fact that his ears are working and he can hear, his ability to process what he hears (auditory processing) is extremely weak. As a result, his brain is not “hearing” or processing the sounds in words clearly and accurately, causing his speech to be unintelligible and leaving him with a reading problem that won’t be resolved with more reading practice.
If someone is trying to speak to you underwater, the best solution to the problem of not understanding is for both of you to come out of the water. The best solution to “hearing through water” because of an auditory processing problem is stimulating and developing the brain’s auditory processing system.
The auditory system is a dynamic system that can be stimulated and retrained. It’s amazing to see what happens for students when the brain is getting clear, complete, and accurate information to think with. With auditory stimulation and specific instruction in listening, speaking, reading, and/or comprehension, children and adults with these challenges can become articulate speakers and readers.
As you look forward to pool time this summer, think about what it would be like to listen through water. If you think that an auditory processing problem is affecting you or your child, there is hope.
Learn more about auditory processing and permanently correcting learning problems:
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