Friday, June 8, 2012

The Ling 6 Sound Test - An Overview

Have you ever heard of the Ling 6 Test?  It's a quick listening test devised by Daniel Ling, who was one of the foremost authorities on teaching children with hearing loss how to listen and speak.  The 6 refers to 6 speech sounds ranging across the speech spectrum, meaning that the frequencies of these sounds span the audiogram from low to high frequencies, 250 Hz to 2000 Hz.

Why is it important?  Well, if you are trying to teach speech to a child with hearing aids or a cochlear implant, you will need to make sure that their amplification device is working properly and that they can hear the sounds in speech.  No point in teaching them speech if they can't hear you, right?  I can't tell you how many times I have done this quick test only to discover that the batteries are dead.  It could even indicate a problem with the mapping of a cochlear implant.   It also provides an opportunity for younger children to practice play audiometry, which is crucial for them to be able to get their hearing aid appropriately adjusted or their cochlear implant properly mapped.

You can expect to be able to do this test in less than a minute after the child is trained.  You will have to start at the detection level - meaning the child simply has to respond that they have heard something, usually by putting a block or bead in a box or a cup each time they hear a sound.  Then as soon as you can, move on to the identification level, by having the child repeat the sound they have heard.  This way you know that not only are they hearing something, but also that they are hearing it accurately.

And now, I'll tell you what the sounds are, in order from lowest frequency to highest.

/m/
/oo/
/ah/
/ee/
/sh/
/s/

Here is a video of me doing the Ling 6 test with my two year old friend:
video



By the way, he's not looking at me - he's looking at his mom, which is fine as long as mom doesn't have any 'tells' that let him know he should respond.  Which she doesn't.  But you can also place a stuffed animal or poster or something in front of them for them to look at while they are listening.

Other considerations when conducting the Ling 6 Test:
- Do not let the child see you
- Speak at a normal loudness level
- Vary your distances, start close and go to 3 feet, 6 feet, and 9 feet
- Do not present the sounds in a rhythmical fashion, or else the child will begin to anticipate the sounds and may give you false responses.
- Present them in a mixed order each time
- I recommend that every parent who has a child with hearing aids or a cochlear implant administer this test on a daily basis.  Just make it part of your morning routine.

For fellow speechies:  Do you work with children with hearing loss?  Do you have hearing specialists in your districts? Do you only work with children with hearing loss if they have a speech disorder, like a lisp or something?  Our district has hearing specialists but I always was confused on how their role differed from mine.  We always seemed to be working on the same things. And many of my co-workers didn't realize that I do work on listening and language, not just articulation.  I would love feedback in this area.


13 comments:

  1. Excellent!!! I learned a lot and enjoyed reading your blog..Thanks for the advices.. Great job!!!

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  2. THANK YOU SO MUCH..MY CHILD WILL BENEFIT

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  3. I am a speech-language pathology student currently learning about this test. Thank you SO much for posting this and everything else you have posted on your blog. You have been to helpful and encouraging to a potential SLP!

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    1. Thanks for your comment! I'm so glad you found it helpful! Good luck in school!!! It's totally worth it!

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    2. I agree, just taking aural rehab now and happened to stumble upon this post. Thank you for the explanation and demonstration Michelle!

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  4. Hallo Michelle if you may I have a question

    My litttle brother has a profound hearing loss, and the doctors told us that he might have ANSD, which does not let him recognize what he hears.
    however he is using a hearing aids and his hearing is now between 20-30 degree.
    and he seems to hear well .
    so we are thinking that he does not have ANSD.
    my question is that we did the ling 6 sound test, and not only that he heard them but he also repeats all of them correctly. so is that a solid proof that he actually hears well ?

    thank you so much,
    sorry for troubling you.

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    1. It is a good thing that he can hear and identify the sounds from the Ling 6, but it doesn't necessarily mean that he doesn't have ANSD. That is a great question for you to ask your audiologist. They know way more about it than I do! Good luck and thanks for reading!

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  5. ok, thanks for your fast replay

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  6. hallo, how are you ?
    can you please help me, I am going to the US for my brother sake he has a profound hearing loss and could have ANSD so we need a proper diagnose, that's my goal
    do you know any good place so that we could have a solid diagnose there ?

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  7. Hi Michelle, thanks for sharing this great video. Can you tell me how old this child is in months and how you conditioned his response. The reason I ask.. I am a teacher and see two 24 month olds with hearing loss. I have tried to use this strategy with limited success.

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    1. Hi Lucy - I am pretty sure this child was 30 months old at the time of this video. 24 month olds can be tricky but they can definitely learn how to respond appropriately. Usually at first you have to hold the child's hand and respond for them. Make it a big deal - when you present a noise, say "Ah!!! Did you hear that??? I heard it!" Then manually move their hand from their ear and drop the block in the bucket (or whatever it is that you're doing). It helps if you have a parent holding the hand while you present the sounds. Also make sure the sounds are close and loud while you are training to avoid any confusion. After doing this a couple of times, the child should pick up on it. If there are developmental delays involved then it can definitely be frustrating. But keep trying! They'll get it!

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  8. Hi Lucy - I am pretty sure this child was 30 months old at the time of this video. 24 month olds can be tricky but they can definitely learn how to respond appropriately. Usually at first you have to hold the child's hand and respond for them. Make it a big deal - when you present a noise, say "Ah!!! Did you hear that??? I heard it!" Then manually move their hand from their ear and drop the block in the bucket (or whatever it is that you're doing). It helps if you have a parent holding the hand while you present the sounds. Also make sure the sounds are close and loud while you are training to avoid any confusion. After doing this a couple of times, the child should pick up on it. If there are developmental delays involved then it can definitely be frustrating. But keep trying! They'll get it!

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  9. Hello,
    I am an audiology student looking into this test. Is there normative data for this evaluation?
    Thanks!

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