Senior black woman walking with grandson and family in woods

Outdoor Adventures for the Ears Inspire Kids … and Kids at Heart

In today’s bustling world, active listening can become a casualty of the seemingly nonstop noises competing for attention. Nature walks, however, help people lean into the art of listening, and children often can be the biggest beneficiaries, discovering, identifying, and celebrating wondrous sounds that fill the senses.


National News Coverage, Local Expertise

Our own expert Dr. Brian Fligor, audiologist-in-chief and president of Tobias & Battite Hearing Wellness, spoke to CNN about kids’ wonderful ability to tune in to the world around them. Though being so attuned can make for more distractions, it’s also an asset. Connecting to the environment through sound can inspire exploration and build early memories that last a lifetime.

“We have this blank slate when we’re born, this wonderful hearing ability to attend to the sounds of Mom’s voice and hear the way she says things,” shared Dr. Fligor in the CNN story. “That’s an example of how finely tuned our hearing is that we detect the minute variations in the way things are said, not just how.”

That blank slate offers an opportunity for the young — and young at heart — to tap into the joy of listening. A good nature walk makes it even easier. From the crunch of leaves underfoot to the distant call of deer foraging beneath a verdant canopy, there’s often quite a bit to take in on the trail. For the ears, it’s an adventure in experiencing the familiar and the new all at one exciting time.


Nature Access That’s Closer Than You Think

You might guess that a fun nature outing requires getting in the car for a public park, national scenic area, or other destination many miles away. Nope. It’s as accessible as a backyard — or even simply under a tree. In the CNN article, a Portland, Oregon, professor and founder of a university’s early-learning school for kids through grade 2 created an outdoor class beneath a majestic Douglas fir.

Another example involved the article’s author, who explained that she takes her son to various local wetlands, including “the community retention pond that ebbs and flows with street runoff after summer storms.” Pointing out the sounds of frogs, insects, a bicyclist, and other cues he recognized, the little boy not only delighted in the adventure but inspired his mom, too.


Helpful Hints for Creating Your Own Nature Walk

Rather than a one-size-fits-all approach, listening walks with the kiddos can come in many different forms. It’s all about building a bridge to the remarkable nature sounds that can otherwise get lost in the hubbub of everyday life. Some key tips, however, can help make any listening outing successful.

Finding a spot with fewer human-generated noises is ideal, per the CNN story, which also provided these helpful hints:

  • For night sounds, avoid using a flashlight — except for safety — because it can prove distracting
  • Let the children set the course of exploration, driven by the sounds they’re experiencing
  • “Sit in stillness” amid a group of trees or an open space at some point in the walk
  • Allow the ears to take control, helping immerse you in a hearing experience


Next Steps for Hearing Nature’s Sounds

Listening for the diverse sounds of nature can be a lot tougher with hearing loss. Plus, hearing difficulties can go hand in hand with withdrawal and isolation, potentially making those merry outdoor outings less likely to happen. With so much at stake, it’s important to understand some of the signs of hearing loss.

If it’s been a while since your last hearing checkup or you suspect an issue, it’s time to get tested for your own peace of mind. And if you’ve noticed any of these potential signs or symptoms of hearing loss, take action now:

  • People around you seem to mumble or speak in muffled tones.
  • You’re experiencing ringing or buzzing in the ears (tinnitus).
  • Loved ones are commenting on your TV volume, complaining that it’s too loud.
  • You often ask others to repeat themselves or have stopped asking and simply smile and nod.
  • Your friends or family members say you seem like you’re not hearing well.
  • You think you hear what’s being said, only to find you’ve misheard several important words.


So how about that nature walk? Together let’s help ensure the whole family can hear every moment of it. Most hearing loss can be effectively and discreetly managed with hearing aids. The first step, however, is scheduling a hearing check. Don’t wait. Contact the knowledgeable team at Tobias & Battite to book your hearing evaluation today!