Performing a Daily Listening Check Using the LMH 10

Performing a Daily Listening Check Using the LMH 10

Ensuring that our students who are deaf and hard of hearing have access to optimal sound quality is a top priority at CCHAT. One way this is done is by conducting daily listening checks with each student in our program.

By testing children’s responses to the Ling-Madell-Hewitt (LMH) 10 Sounds, CCHAT can gather information, discover trends, troubleshoot equipment and work toward best serving our students with hearing loss. 

What are the LMH 10 Sounds?

The LMH 10 Sounds are a set of sounds that cover a range of frequencies. Many people are more familiar with the Ling Six Sounds. In recent years, four additional sounds have been added to the lineup to cover additional sound ranges. The sounds are:

  • /mm/ (as in “yum”) 
  • /sh/ (as in “shape”)
  • /ss/ (as in “snake”)
  • /ah/ (as in “hot”)
  • /j/ (as in “jump”)
  • /oo/ (as in “boo”)
  • /zzz/ (as in “buzz”)
  • /ee/ (as in “free”)
  • /h/ (as in “hello”)
  • /n/ (as in “no”)

Performing a Listening Check

At CCHAT, every child, from Toddlers to Primary grades, starts his or her day with a listening check. In this activity, a teacher or speech therapist will remove one of the child’s hearing devices or cochlear implants (if the child wears two) to test the listening of the amplified ear.

The test administrator will hide their mouth by standing behind the child or using an audio hoop. From there, the administrator will voice each of the LMH 10 sounds (in differing order each day, to avoid predictability). Common practice is to produce each sound three times in quick succession (“mm-mm-mm”) and at the same volume. Depending on age and present level skills, the child will verbally repeat the sound back to the administrator, or point to a corresponding picture that symbolizes each sound.

Ideally, the test will be completed on each side, and then with the child wearing both devices, and results will be charted for evaluation.

What Answers Does the Test Provide?

This simple routine provides critical information for staff and families. First, it is a simple tool for the child to practice listening comprehension, sound perception and speech development.

The LMH 10 check can also alert personnel to malfunctioning equipment – if a child is unable to mimic the sounds, it could point to an issue with the hearing-assistive technology. This could be moisture or ear wax within a hearing aid, or a broken piece of equipment (ex. cochlear implant coil or processor issue). 

The test also can show what frequencies a child is able to capture with their current technology settings or degree of hearing loss. A child may have trouble processing higher or lower frequencies, and the LMH 10 test can encourage an audiologist to change hearing-assistive technology programs to increase the child’s listening capabilities (if possible). 

The importance of documentation comes into play to show patterns. A missed sound one day by a child may be easily explained – tired, distracted, loud sounds in the room, etc. However, a sound that is missed for an extended period of time may point to a deeper issue that can be addressed.

Regardless, it is always smart to err on the side of caution. If a child who typically performs strongly with their listening test is missing sounds, it is best to explore possible reasons. Some issues can be quickly corrected, allowing the child to return to a full range of sound access.

The Goal of Listening Checks

Your goal as an educator or parent is to make sure your child who is deaf or hard of hearing is picking up sounds to the best of their abilities. A listening check is an easy way to measure this. Performing a quick listening check each day, when you sense an issue in sound acquisition from your child, or after you install new batteries or parts can help you determine if your child is hearing at optimal levels. If serious concern persists, it is always best to follow up with your child’s audiologist to get more definitive answers.

Links to more information on the LMH 10 Sound test:

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