Do you have a child who is sensitive to loud noises? They hear a crash, a buzzer, or another sudden loud noise and scream, cry, or stop in fear? You may wonder why this is happening, and what you can do about it.
You may have a child who is just sensitive to loud noises, and will grow out of it, or you may have someone with a sensory processing disorder.
Sensitive Vs. Sensory
At a young age, many kids are highly sensitive to loud noises. Their brains are still developing, and they may not be able to handle a loud noise like an adult can. They may be sensitive to sights, sounds, and other senses too. It may just be a common sensitivity that they will grow out of. However, it may be a sensitive processing disorder.
If your child is sensitive to many sounds, it could be the sign of a sensitive processing disorder. Their reaction can also determine whether or not they have it. If they wince up, they may just be a sensitive child. If they cry, scream, and have an adverse reaction, it could be something more.
If they have a sensory processing disorder, they may have autism as well. If you suspect that your child has a sensory processing disorder, you should take them to a therapist. The earlier you can treat it, the better your child can cope with loud noises. You can help your child live a better life this way, and you can treat a child’s other disorder as well.
Now, let’s take a look at some ways you can help your child, whether they have a sensory processing disorder or are just sensitive.
- Warn Your Child
One reason kids are sensitive to noises is that the noises are so sudden. Your child may be playing in the gym, and the buzzer rings while they aren’t noticing. Your kid may be in the bathroom, and the hand dryer screams at them.
Give your sensitive child a fair warning, and it may help them be able to process everything.
- Give Them Earplugs
If they have earplugs, or noise canceling headphones or earbuds, this may be the best option available. They can help muffle out a loud noise if you know that it’s coming. Just make sure that the earbuds or headphones feel comfortable, and they help to muffle sounds. You don’t want your child not to hear anything! That could end up being a disaster.
- Play Some White Noise
One way you can be able to reduce a loud sound’s impact is to play some white noise. White noise includes a fan, static, rain sounds, or anything else that provides a calming drown-out to the sounds around them. This may be a good way to help them with their sound sensitivity.
What About Sirens?
One loud noise that can terrify your sensitive child is the sound of sirens. Sirens can blast around town, and while they’re there to help people, your kid may panic. This can especially be a problem if you and your family need assistance, only for your child to run away at the sound of them.
Teach your child about the sirens and give them a plan if they’re scared of them. For example, you may encourage your child to put on earphones and instead look for the lights or other signs that they have to get out of there.
You should talk with the sensitive child’s teachers about other ways they can help during a safety procedure. For example, fire drills are so important, and yet many children with hearing issues will lose it if they hear the sudden fire alarm.
The staff at the school should be able to warn the child beforehand and give them strategies to handle the fire alarm and get out while the other kids are getting out. This can help them should a fire drill be too overwhelming.
About New Experiences
A new experience can be a challenge for your child. For example, if they’re in a new city, the sounds can set them off. You need to introduce your child slowly to these sounds, and if they can’t handle it at first, it’s okay.
Patience is key, and so is checking ahead of time. Going to the city at first and seeing if there’s anything that may set them off is a good idea. Try it out and see if you can help your child prepare beforehand.
Boundaries Are Important
One challenge of having a child sensitive to sound is having friends who aren’t. They may not understand that the child hates noise, and may play games with loud sounds. It’s important you teach your child that it’s okay to say no, or to ask if the sounds can be turned down. Talk with the friend’s parents beforehand as well. If there are any problems with that, they may not be the best friends for your child.
We cannot stress this enough. Your child may grow out of the sensitivity with time, and they can handle noises just as well as the other kids. However, if they are having a hard time with loud noises, you may want to talk to a counselor or a therapist. They can help to diagnose your child if there is something more to it. They could help your child come up with unique coping strategies to help them get past their fear of loud noises.
While this advice is good, some children may still have problems even with earphones, warning beforehand, and every other strategy. A therapist helps by teaching them more ways to cope and can diagnose sensory processing disorders in case there is more to it. Your child may just have sensitive hearing, or be a highly sensitive child in general. However if they have a processing disorder, your child’s doctor or therapist can help diagnose this and put strategies into place that may help.
- Is sensitivity to loud noises a sign of autism?
Sensitivity to loud noises can be a sign of autism. If loud noises seem to alter how your child sees the world, it would not be a bad idea to get them checked out for autism. Having an autistic child is not a bad thing, with proper care and attention your child can grow up to be a successful adult. Just make note if you think your child may have autism, get them checked out right away. It can explain some of their behaviors and they can get help learning to cope with these issues.
- Is it normal for toddlers to be afraid of loud noises?
Toddlers and other young children may be afraid of loud noises, which is okay. It is a common occurrence in babies and toddlers, so it is generally nothing to worry about. However, as they get older, if this issue persists, you may want to get them checked out by a doctor just to make sure there is nothing wrong. It is important to teach them, as young children, that loud noises are okay and will happen, so they do not need to worry. Also let them know what loud noises mean for certain things. This way when they hear certain noises they may not get upset if they know what they are for.
- What is auditory hypersensitivity?
Highly sensitive children may suffer from auditory hypersensitivity, which is a type of sensory sensitivity to sounds. When a sensitive child reacts to loud noises, they may have a sensory processing disorder if it affects them to an extreme that it would not normally affect other children.
You can see this by how they react towards various loud sounds. Even sounds that are not loud to you may sound like someone screaming at them, which would mean you have a child with sensory issues. This may be a sign of autism, but it can also be a sign that there is a problem with their ears. They may have a medical condition or a structural inside ear problem which causes them to have strong reactions to sounds.
- What causes sensitivity to sound?
Sensitivity to sound can be from many different causes, such as an ear condition where there is a structural problem or other related medical conditions. However, it may also be a sign of autism, which you would need to get checked out as soon as possible, regardless if it is autism or an ear condition.
- What does sensory overload feel like?
Sensory overload feels like a heavyweight on your senses, where all you can do is try and breathe and calm yourself down. For adults it might be a tad bit easier, however children may have trouble coping with sensory overload. Either way, they are not fun to go through, regardless of age.
- Are children’s ears more sensitive?
Babies, toddlers, and young children will have more sensitive ears because their ear canal is much smaller than adults. The pressure they get from sound can be amplified, unlike an adult’s ear that is much bigger. Loud sounds can be even more loud for children.
- Can anxiety make you sensitive to noise?
Anxiety, specifically misophonia, can cause adults to suffer from loud noise sensitivity. It feels like a “driving you crazy” sort of sound, that you cannot get to stop unless you leave the room it is coming from. Additionally, misophonia may cause rage or panic is the person who is suffering from having a sensory processing disorder. You can have both issues as well, which can be treated by a physician.
- What is hypersensitive hearing?
Hypersensitive hearing, or hyperacusis, is a condition where the patient suffers from various sounds, regardless of its range. Those with this condition can develop it from tinnitus, a head injury, or chronic ear infections. People who have hypersensitive hearing have a hard time with loud noises and a tendency to hear everything regardless of how far away they are from the sound.
- Is it normal for a 4 year old to be scared?
Children of all ages may have certain fears that scare them, A 4 year old is no different from this. It is completely normal for a child 4 years or younger to be afraid of loud noises, change, and strangers. Nothing abnormal about it, it is just a normal fear that kids eventually will grow out of.
A child with a sound sensitivity isn’t causing drama or needs to grow up. Many children have sensory issues, and empathy and compassion need to be shown if the child wants to succeed. Always talk to your kid about their issues and come up with a way to get past it. It never hurts to help your child overcome any fears they may have, including loud sounds. No matter what their age, make sure you sit down with them and discuss anything that is scaring them.
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