We have all been stuck in our homes for the past several weeks now, and our audiologists have been catching up on some reading! Check out the book review below, from our Audiologist Sarah Caldwell. You can read the review, or watch her review on YouTube. Happy reading to you all, and we hope you are staying safe during this pandemic.




Book Review: Thirty Million Words by Dana Suskind, MD

Dr. Suskind, a pediatric cochlear implant surgeon and college professor, discusses how the power of language works to build and empower a child’s brain from the moment they are born. She writes, “The most important thing we can do for our children is have conversations with them.” Hearing well, or having access to language, is of course essential for this operation to occur, which is why it is crucial for an infant born with hearing loss to receive intervention services as early as possible in order to facilitate optimal brain growth and development. 

Dr. Suskind explains how fundamental parent-child talk influences a child’s language development, with their brains being most sensitive during the first three years of life (known as the “critical period”). She also explains that parent-child talk is not only important for language learning, but it is also essential to strengthen a child’s access to lifelong learning across many subjects such as mathematics and engineering. In addition, she discusses how parent-child talk influences the development of social skills including independence, leadership, generosity, and self-control. Lastly, Dr. Suskind provides guidance for parents on how to talk to their children in order to build optimum language environments by following the “Three T’s” –Tune In, Talk More, and Take Turns.

Overall, I think that Dr. Suskind provides an excellent account of how the human brain works and responds to language, how the brain is influenced by its surroundings, and what parents can do to provide their children with a rich language environment. While some sections were a little technical, I would recommend this book to new or expecting parents, as well as parents with infants diagnosed with hearing loss. While Dr. Suskind’s recommendations are appropriate for BOTH children with hearing loss and children with normal hearing, I think that she is able to clearly explain why early intervention and access to language for infants diagnosed with hearing loss is critical for brain development.