Toddler Communication Has Nothing to do with Hearing

I’ve been working like mad with Norton on toddler communication.  We’ve gone to see the speech pathologist.  We’ve endured special torture in the form of Strong Start.  I’m doing everything that I know to do to help Norton with his toddler communication.

I’m his mom.  It’s what I’m supposed to do.

When we were at the speech pathologist a few weeks ago, she referred us to get Norton’s hearing checked out.  She didn’t think that he had a hearing problem.  I didn’t think he had a hearing problem.  His ability to follow complex instructions without any form of gestures reinforced that.  But still, it was good to have it ruled out.  It makes sense to eliminate the usual suspects when dealing with a delay in toddler talking.

We went to the appointment yesterday.

I was pleasantly amazed with the set up.  Norton, being a highly inquisitive toddler who wants to explore everything, started poking into offices.  I would apologize, close the door, and move to the next one…  Fortunately, it was a small space, so there wasn’t a whole lot of offices.

A couple of the women who worked there were keeping Norton engaged so that I could fill out the paperwork.  That was a huge help.  I’m sure the fact that we were the only non-employees there had something to do with it, but still.  It’s nice.  And it wasn’t a very long wait.

When we were going into the room for testing (which is, of course, soundproofed… so it sort of reminded me of a padded bunker with the two five inch thick doors closing off the room), one of the techs came in the room with us to explain how it would go and help facilitate the testing.  The other tech was in a room on the other side of the glass to make the sounds go.

I remembered my hearing test when I was a kid, and wondered how on earth they’d manage with a toddler.  With me, it was head phones and raising a hand to indicate what ear I’d heard the sound in.  She explained that it wouldn’t be like this with Norton.  He’s obviously far too young for something like that at nineteen months.  Instead, she’d keep him someone distracted and entertained, and Norton was to turn his head when he heard a sound.  On each side of the room, there was a box with a toy that would kind of dance in the plexiglass-like box if Norton turned his head in the right direction of the sound.

I was amazed that he caught on so quickly… particularly since when they were explaining it, I had no idea what they were trying to get at.  It was all very vague.  The husband was rather dubious, too.  He also never expected it.

It turns out, though, that not only does Norton hear just fine… he hears better than I do.  It’s not helping with toddler talking, of course, but at least I know that hearing problems have nothing to do with our toddler communication issues.  So far, it’s looking like our toddler language delay is just a kid who isn’t interested in using words.  Which I can live with.

About Suzi

Suzi is an American ex-pat living in British Columbia. She's a cloth diaper addict, wife, mom of three, and President of the Prince George chapter of Cloth for a Cause.


  1. We just did this last week with my almost 3 year old. She barely talks and what she does say is a mixture of babble and hard to understand words. We wanted to rule out a hearing issue as well and luckily she passed as well! Good luck with your speech adventure!


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