Why is my child sensitive to loud noises?
We all know that the world is a blaring place for tiny ears. It is not unusual for little kids to be sensitive to these sounds. Although it can affect persons of all ages, including adults, it is mostly common in young children who are under the age of six. It is true that noise sensitivity is common in children with certain medical conditions. It is also seen that the average kid may shy away from it or become uncomfortable when confronted with loud noises. Little babies may cry or make a fuss and toddlers may try to cover their ears with the help of their hands or try to bury their faces forcefully into an adult’s lap to avoid the sound reaching in their ears. Moreover, children with sound sensitivity have normal and not supernormal hearing.
The sounds which children commonly find troublesome include that of hand dryers, fireworks, bells, traffic noise, vacuum cleaners, children screaming, sirens and alarms.
Is sensitivity to loud noises a sign of autism?
Studies tell us that from 30 to more than 90 percent of people who have autism either ignore or overreact to ordinary sights, sounds, smells or other sensations. Researchers say that no one single type of sensory problem is “consistently associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder.” (R1)
How can I help my child with sound sensitivity?
- When your kid becomes distressed because of a sound, make sure to move them away from the source of the sound if possible, then try and comfort and reassure them. Remember to be super careful not to overreact to their response. This might lead them to step up and escalate their reactions to the sounds next time.
- Sit with them and calmly try to explain the particular source of the sound.
- A baby’s fear reaction will usually be decreased if they try to exercise a little control over the sound.
- Try Repeated gentle exposure. Try to expose them to the noise gently which will help your child reduce their anxiety. Eventually, it will desensitize the auditory aspect of sensitivity towards that sound. You may record the problem sound and make them listen to the same recording at a comparatively lower volume. While increasing the volume over a period of a few days or some weeks. You can make them practice listening to various sounds during their play. This will help break the fear and sound cycle!
- Don’t let your child be forced to stay in something that is causing them such distress as this may increase their apprehension and in turn make them associate that situation with painful experience.
- Avoid silence!
- Last but not the least, use ear plugs only in extreme circumstances, or in the short term. It is obvious that exposure to normal and tolerable sounds is important, if the brain and the ear are to develop standard sensitivity. If the use of ear defenders are long-term, the sensitivity might increase.
Mostly, there is no medical treatment required for sound sensitivity in children. Typically, as kids grow and develop, so does their tolerance and patience for loud noise.