Auditory defensiveness is an over sensitivity to sounds in the environment. Children with auditory defensiveness can present with some or all of the following symptoms:
- Seem unsettled or distressed in loud environments
- Frequently cover their ears to sounds that other children tolerate
- Are bothered by noises made by things like the vacuum cleaners, hair dryers, etc.
- Avoid activities that have loud environments such as parties, ballgames, and movies.
- Possible language difficulties
There are strategies are available to help children with auditory processing issues.
- Modify the environment (such as in a school) by considering the acoustics in the classroom. Changing seating arrangements may be beneficial and limiting extraneous noise from the hallway by closing the door or windows is also helpful. It may be necessary to cover the loud speaker with material to tone down the volume.
- Having rugs or carpet on the floor will decrease echo and extraneous noises.
- Whenever possible, children should be forewarned about bells, announcements, fire drills, etc.
- Have the child wear headphones or earmuffs that that cover the entire ear to filter out extraneous background noises.
- Play calming music such as Mozart in the headphones or as background music.
- If concentration is an issue, the child should chew gum, suck on sour candies, and/or eat fruit roll ups, or crunchy snacks.
- Therapeutic Listening® is a program that may help a child with issues such as auditory defensiveness, hypersensitivities, sensory modulation, and general organization issues. For more information, go to http://www.vitallinks.net/ and click on parent info.