Help the development of the site, sharing the article with friends!

Phonemic hearing (phonemic hearing) is the ability by which we distinguish phonemes, which are the smallest elements of speech, such as words, syllables and individual sounds. A person who has disorders in this area may have problems unlike, for example, "k" from "g" or "s" from "sz", and this translates into difficulties in writing and reading. Many children need special exercises to help develop phonemic hearing. Learn how to check if your child can hear words well and how to support phonemic hearing.

Phonemic hearing , orphonemic , is one of the three types of hearing that we can distinguish in humans. The first and the basic one is physiological and physical hearing, that is simply hearing - perceiving sound waves generated in the environment. The second is phonemic hearing, which consists in the ability to decipher speech, and the third - musical hearing, characteristic of a few units, thanks to which they distinguish higher and lower sounds, their timbre and loudness. This is called musical intelligence.

Phonemic hearing develops in early childhood, between the ages of 1 and 2. This process ends when the speech is fully formed, i.e. between the ages of 6 and 7.

Properly developed phonemic hearing enables not only speech understanding and correct pronunciation. When the child has no problems, for example, with catching the differences between words that sound similar but have different meanings, such as "szale-sale", "nose-night", "kasa-kasza", "choir-chickens", "asy- wasps ", and probably won't have any problems learning to read and write.

And vice versa - deficits in phonemic hearing may, first, cause speech development disorders, and later lead to difficulties in reading and writing (such as dyslexia, dysgraphia, rearranging or skipping sounds and syllables).

A child with poorly developed phonemic hearing may have:

  • speech delay,
  • not very diverse vocabulary,
  • pronunciation defects.

Then, at school, problems may arise with:

  • understanding the content of commands, remembering;
  • with persistent spelling;
  • failure to combine sounds into a word;
  • writing short stories;
  • short storyoral;
  • distinguish between softenings, such as "ć" and "ci", "ź" and "zi";
  • distinguishing voiced and voiceless sounds, nasal and oral sounds;
  • dropping word endings;
  • learning a foreign language;
  • memorizing the order of the days of the week, months, and even learning the multiplication table.

That is why it is so important to catch these shortcomings as soon as possible. Appropriate exercises will help to overcome them.

Subjective and objective hearing tests

Child's hearing: does your child hear well?

Hearing problems in children: causes and prevention

Phonemic hearing - what is it?

It is the ability to distinguish speech sounds, e.g. "a" from "u", "m" from "b", voiced sounds from voiceless, e.g. "z" from "s", "w" from " f ", correctly divide words into syllables and sounds, catch the order of sounds in a word, etc.

Understanding speech is the hearing center located in the temporal lobe, called Wernicke's center. It is not fully known why phonemic hearing in some people is impaired. One of the causes is simply a hearing loss, but there can also be hereditary or environmental factors.


One of the indicators of the child's achievement of school maturity is properly developed phonemic hearing, as well as the level of auditory analysis and synthesis.

Already in kindergarten, children learn the rhythm of words, divide words into parts, syllable (help each other by clapping) or vote.

Thanks to this, the teacher is able to notice any deficiencies at an early stage and send the child to speech therapy classes.

Developing phonemic hearing - exercises

Phonemic hearing can be trained. There are numerous games that sensitize people to sound, such as:

  • there is a sound - there is no sound;
  • showing where the sound is coming from;
  • recognition of voices of various animals, natural phenomena, sounds of musical instruments, machines, vehicles, etc.;
  • recognition of long and short, soft and loud sounds;
  • showing pictures or items starting with a specific sound;
  • sorting pictures in terms of appropriate sounds;
  • creating words from the given sounds;
  • search for words beginning or ending with a given syllable;
  • matching rhyming names for pictures;
  • listing individual sounds or all vowels in the names of pictures;
  • arranging words, names from scattered letters;
  • play back heard rhythmsby applauding them;
  • guessing heard imitative noises and repeating them in order;
  • memorize poems and songs, etc.

Phonemic hearing test

If your child has a delay in speech development, first of all a hearing test should be performed. But hearing loss can be diagnosed in the first 24 hours of life thanks to screening tests.

  • Hearing tests

Three out of every thousand children are born with a hearing loss, and the sooner it is discovered, the better, because malfunctioning and unrehabilitated physical hearing delays the development of phonemic hearing, while a well-chosen hearing aid can significantly help in its development.

If it turns out that the child has no hearing loss, the level of phonemic hearing can be tested using special tests, e.g. those developed by a speech therapist and neuropsychologist, prof. dr hab. Elżbieta Szeląg.

Help the development of the site, sharing the article with friends!