What is ListenUp!?

Greetings and welcome to ListenUp! I’m Sonya, and ListenUp is a video outreach program that I initially created for my own daughter, who was born with a unilateral hearing loss. ListenUp videos encourage the community to “listen up” to the needs of deaf and hard-of-hearing children, while providing resources for facilitating listening and effective communication.

I initially came up with the idea for ListenUp because I would notice times when my daughter couldn’t hear well. As a parent, this was often obvious to me, but other people tended not to notice that she couldn’t hear. It saddened me to watch her miss out on communication with people who really care about her. I started to wonder what I could do to more effectively explain her needs to others. I wanted to create a resource that was engaging, positive, and easy to distribute. With this in mind, I created a short video that used audio simulations, a few teaching points, and a lot of cute kid photos to help people better understand Lekha’s hearing, and ListenUp was born!

Since then, I have been working with lots of other wonderful families to create ListenUp videos that are made specifically for their child. All audio simulations are made specifically for each child based on their audiogram and type of hearing loss. We work closely with parents and professionals to create educational content that is catered to a family’s specific needs. Some ListenUp videos teach daycare providers how to use infant hearing aids, others focus on how to best implement accommodations in a classroom setting, while others focus on how cochlear implants work. It’s all about creating resources that are most relevant to a particular family. By sharing this video with their friends, family, caregivers, and teachers, families are empowered to educate their community about their child’s hearing impairment and optimize their communication.

I am so thrilled to expand the ListenUp program through the Children’s Communication Center at UCSF, and look forward to working with more families in the future. If you have a child with hearing loss and are interested in participating or finding out more, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Making a video is free, easy, and available to any interested family regardless of where you get your medical or audiologic care. We will talk to you about your child's hearing, your concerns, and what you would like to include in the video. We have a number of age- and hearing-specific script templates that we can base your audio voiceover on, and we would need a copy of your child's audiogram to use for our hearing simulation. After we settle on a script, we will meet, take some videos and pictures of your child doing something fun, and record your voiceover. This usually takes about 20 minutes. If you speak another language, we will work with you to create a video that is language- and culture-appropriate.

Once the video is produced, it is yours to keep and share with your community. We will ask for your permission to include the video in a searchable web-based educational library of similar videos that we are compiling, so that other kids like yours around the world can see that they are not alone, and their communities can share in your experience and learn from you. Inclusion in this library, however, is completely optional.

Here are some videos that we have made for families. We hope that you will join us in educating our communities about our children's hearing and how to help them communicate.