University of Edinburgh

A Musical Approach to Developing Communication for Children with Hearing Loss and/or Language Delay

Presented on Tuesday, 5 December 2017


Singing to infants is universal across cultures, yet most parents are not musicians. Research has shown the positive effect of music and singing on a baby's developing brain and how just as infants become specialised for speech sounds in their language, brains specialise for music.

Participants learned more about the research and what children need to be able to hear to enjoy music. They considered what prevents parents and children from singing, came up with some solutions and explored how and why you can use familiar songs to build children's knowledge of words and concepts, setting appropriate goals for language and communication. They looked at how to include problem solving in activities to make them effective for learning and developed ideas.

Participants said:

"Time and encouragement to be more creative with songs. Suggestions of appropriate songs. Creative ideas for using music."

"Ideas and strategies - just having time and space to generate ideas and get creative. Excellent day."

Target Audience

Teachers of the deaf, speech and language therapists, mainstream teachers, and all other professionals who support deaf students.


Suzanne Harrigan, Specialist Speech and Language Therapist, The Ear Foundation


10.05 am The power of music and singing

11.15 am Songs for interaction

1.15 pm Songs for information

2.55 pm Case studies and resources

3.45 pm Course Evaluations and close