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HealthWiki > Helping Children Who Are Blind > Chapter 11: Helping Your Child Know Where She Is (Orientation) > Hearing

Hearing is especially important for a child who cannot see well because it gives her information about things that are not close by. Sounds help a blind child know what something is, where it is, and how far away it is. As often as you can, bring your child close enough to touch the object that is making the sound.

To help your child identify and locate sounds

Play a game where your child names everyday sounds at home and in the community — like a door closing, a chair scraping against the floor, or a sewing machine.

an older boy speaking to a child as a woman opens a creaking door.
What's the sound you just heard, Juanita?
an older boy and a child speaking as a woman prepares food.
Who's making that chopping sound, Sylvie?

Play a guessing game in which your child identifies family members and animals by the sounds they usually make.

a man speaking to a child as 3 children play musical instruments nearby.
Azlina, that sounds like your cousins playing music. Can you go and find them?

You can also ask your child to move toward the sound.

an older boy clapping his hands while speaking to a child who stands nearby.
Come and find me, Carmen.

Have your child listen to the sound of your footsteps as you walk toward her and then away from her. See if she can tell which way you are walking. Or clap your hands as you move closer and then farther away. Then stop and ask her to find you.

Teach your child to listen for how the sound of her footsteps (or her cane) changes when she is near a house or wall, and when there is open space. With practice, she can learn to tell how near things are by these sounds. These skills will help her when she is walking by herself in the community.

a man speaking to a child as they walk past a house.
Listen to the sounds of your sandals, Lucianne. See how loud they are when we are near the house.
the man speaking as he and the child walk in a field.
Your sandals sound different out in the field, Lucianne.