Gathering accurate data on young children for research can be a challenge, but LENA technology provides an answer. Researcher Katrina d’Apice explains how her team used LENA in a recent study to gain unprecedented insight into children’s lives and acoustic environments. The study found a positive association between the number of words spoken by adults and the children’s cognitive abilities. It also found that children hear vastly different amounts of adult talk from one day to the next. “This suggests that children’s language environments are more like the tides of the ocean than the stillness of a lake. Developmental research that values naturalistic observations of substantial time periods is likely to increase our understanding of the complex interplay between children and their changing environments,” she writes.