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Too Loud! Turn it Down! Hearing Sensitivity in Childhood

Jun 7, 2022

Sirens, movie theatres, fireworks, vacuums, toilets, and more… TURN IT DOWN! Some sounds are just no fun for kids. Hearing sensitivity in childhood can be very uncomfortable, which can cause your child to react in concerning ways. Covering ears, screaming, and fleeing all seem too appealing when they’re faced with particular loud noises. Does this sound like your little one? 

When Sound Becomes the Enemy 

Our senses are designed to expose us to a world of new experiences, many of which are enjoyable. For kiddos dealing with hearing sensitivity issues, some sounds stir up unpleasant feelings as some noises seem so very loud. What causes hearing sensitivity? Sensory processing disorder (SPD) and hearing sensitivity can go hand in hand, but SPD can also involve more than one sense. Hearing sensitivity can also be accompanied by other conditions such as anxiety, ADHD, and autism. Of course, if you have any concerns about your child’s development, always consult your pediatrician.

Hearing Sensitivity

Way Past Loud & Hearing Sensitivity

For a child dealing with hearing sensitivity, loud noises are sometimes more than just surprising. It’s painful. While a flushing toilet may seem like nothing to fuss over, your child may be singing a different song. The brain is processing the information with greater intensity. What may sound normal to you, could sound earth-shattering to your child. If your little one struggles with hearing sensitivity, they may press their hands over their ears. Kids can also cry or refuse to engage in certain situations or activities that involve the unwanted noise. It’s important to remember that your child is not acting out to upset you. They are responding to a sensory experience that is truly overwhelming. Imagine that you hear an ear-piercing fire alarm. You’d definitely love to get away from that noise! As their knight in shining armor, you can help them overcome and realize there’s a lot to enjoy in all that we hear. 

Hearing Sensitivity

Love Those Hearing Senses

How can we help our child deal with such a loud, loud world? First things first. Keep in mind that an out-of-the-ordinary reaction to a loud noise usually isn’t anything to worry about. It’s the frequent, consistent, and right-on-time reactions to loud noise that need addressing. If hearing sensitivity issues interfere with the daily life of the family, this is a cause for concern. What’s a parent to do? 

Help Your Child Take Back Control

When we’re in situations that we feel we have no control over, it can make situations even worse. Help your child understand that they can turn off the vacuum if it is too loud or leave the room if they need to do so. Another thing to try is to play the sound on your phone through an app or video. Play the sound at the lowest volume possible so that your child can get used to hearing the specific noise. Gradually increase the volume with each listening session. 

Create a Safe, Quiet Space

If you know your child is struggling with loud sounds, make sure they have a safe, quiet space to go if they need to leave. It’s always good to reinforce the idea of taking a deep breath and remaining as calm as possible when dealing with any sensory discomfort. Should you be out and about or with company, teach your child a signal or gesture to use when they’ve had enough. This way, you know how to redirect the experience if need be. Even if noisy events are fun for you, they may be too much for your child. If the idea is just to have fun, it’s perfectly okay to leave a loud space and try out a different activity that may be more fun for everyone.

Ask for Help

When loud noise avoidance gets in the way of the enjoyment of activities, consider occupational therapy. From hearing to our vestibular senses, our occupational therapists are skilled at helping kids overcome sensory discomforts. This way, life becomes much better for everyone. You may even get to see them excited for the fireworks show and energetic crowds this 4th of July. Loud never sounded so good!

Hearing Sensitivity

When hearing sensitivity becomes a big bummer, sound the alarm! Our team of great listeners is here to help. Give us a shout.

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