Auditory Processing (Sound Sensitivities)

Auditory processing and sound sensitivities are two related issues that can greatly impact a child's ability to process sound. 

These challenges can be quite complex and often misunderstood leading to difficulties in getting the proper support and help for those who struggle with auditory processing disorder. 

Auditory processing is the way in which the brain recognizes and interprets sounds. It is a process that involves not only the ears but also the brain and how it processes the information received from sound. 

This is so important for a child's development, communication, language and learning too.

Children who have auditory processing disorder (APD) challenges have difficulty processing and making sense of the sounds they hear, even when their hearing is normal. This can result in difficulty following instructions, understanding speech and distinguishing between different sounds. People with auditory processing disorder may also struggle with noise sensitivities too. 

Sound sensitivities known as hyperacusis or misophonia are sensitivities to certain sounds or noises. These sensitivities can be mild or severe and can be often very debilitating. It is estimated that up to 20% of children experience some type of sound sensitivities. 

Different sounds can trigger negative responses for many children like as anxiety, pain or frustration. This can impact a child's life making it difficult to take part in a lot of activities that involve loud noises or loud sounds. 

When a child is struggling with auditory processing and sound sensitivities, it is so important for them to have treatment. This would include a comprehensive assessment by a qualified audiologist or speech language pathologist. 

There are listening devices that can be used to help individuals with sound sensitivities. These devices include noise cancelling headphones, frequency-modulated (FM) systems, and sound-masking devices. These can help to reduce the impact of loud sounds and noises. 

It is so important to create an inclusive environment for children who have auditory processing disorder. This can include noise control measures in public spaces, providing accommodations and educating others about these challenges. Sound sensitivities can be a significant issue that can really impact a child's life.

Symptoms A child with Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) 

1. Has difficulty listening for extended periods of time in school and “zones out”.

2. Does not respond to or has difficulty following verbal instructions.

3. Cannot communicate well in noisy environments.

4. Exhibits sound sensitivity and becomes easily stressed in noisy environments.

5. Has difficulty remembering information received verbally or through the written word.

6. Is over stimulated by or distracted by random noises.

7. Delayed speech.

8. Lack of attention and concentration.

9. Problems following verbal communications and directions.

10. Limited vocabulary.

11. Sound sensitivities. 

12. Agitated and easily distracted by noise.

13. Delayed reading skills.

14. Difficulty reading aloud.

15. Specific confusion with consonants and similar sounding words. 

16. Difficulty with colors, shapes, numbers, alphabet, etc. 

17. Letter and number reversals or transpositions.

18. Difficulty remembering facts.

19. Lack of mental flexibility and ability to learn new skills.

20. Other academic problems.

21. Problems grasping abstract concepts like the concept of time.

22. Slow development of fine motor skills and handwriting.

23. Underdeveloped balance and proprioception. 

24. Injury prone. 

25. Difficulty communicating their needs.

26. Disassociation and lack of empathy.

27. Frustration with other children.

28. Does not understand body language and facial expressions.

29. Difficulty making friends. 

30. Impulsive behavior.

Sensory Auditory Processing Tools & Toys

Toddler Headphones Wireless Kids Headband Headphones
Volume Safe Soft Earphones with Wired Plug Adapter & Travel Bag for School Home Car Airplane
Since 2015, CozyPhones has sold over one million headband headphones. We've listened to our customers and made CozyPhones 3.0 the best CozyPhones yet by incorporating five major improvements in features. Read on to learn more about the features and benefits of CozyPhones 3.0.
The auxiliary cable comes with in-line controls for volume and audio control functions. This allows you to easily control volume and other functions without having to remove the headset.

Electronic Auditory Stimulation effect (EASe) audio CD products were the original evidence based, auditory stimulation program, developed in 1994 and used by tens of thousands of parents, therapists, teachers, non profit organizations, and school systems to treat hundreds of thousands of children in listening therapy programs all over the world. 

EASe music products have been studied by researchers at Brenau University since 2012 and found to be effective at reducing Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) in children on the autism spectrum, and in 2021 found to be useful in reducing distress in those with Misophonia.

Snug Kids Earmuffs/Hearing Protectors – Adjustable Headband Ear Defenders for Children and Adults
Little ears need protection from the high frequency and loud noises that come with crowds, sporting events, fireworks, monster trucks, or even everyday household items like a lawn mower, edger, or vacuum cleaner. Snug ear muffs muffle any intense sound around.
Unlike some ear muffs that don't rotate or adjust, Snug ear muffs hug little ears with a soft padded headband and a skin-friendly breathable plush ear pad. These ear defenders give all-day comfort without feeling squeezed. Fits on a wide range of ages, may fit on some adults.

Made kid tough for rough and tumble play. Snug ear muffs are bendable and can handle dropping and twisting. Smart design adjusts and swivels to different ear angles. Don't take a risk with others, utilize the snug 5-Year durability promise! 
Hamilton Buhl HG26B NoiseOff Lightweight Hearing Protection
When it comes to reading a favorite book, studying, focusing on important work, or simply looking to unwind, turning off the noise as well as the hustle and bustle can help create the ideal environment for the task at hand.
Ideal for on/off situations where noise comes and goes, NoiseOff enables strain-free conversations in noisy environments without the need to remove the unit to hear. Beyond reducing noise, NoiseOff creates a peaceful environment, reducing stress levels and helping increase concentration and focus. NoiseOff Is The Essential Device For Kids With Special Needs And On The Autistic Spectrum. 

Blue Toobaloo Auditory Feedback Phone - Accelerate Reading Fluency, Comprehension and Pronunciation with a Reading Phone.
Ease reading, speech, comprehension and pronunciation challenges with the Toobaloo. Created by a teacher, the Toobaloo is an educational tool designed to provide auditory feedback which helps children learn to read, increase fluency and comprehension and meet special needs such as autism, APD, stuttering and dyslexia.

By speaking into the Toobaloo, children hear themselves (auditory feedback) and can make adjustments to fluency, pronunciation and even increase comprehension. 

WhisperPhone is a hands-free, acoustical headset that helps children and adults focus and hear the individual sounds of words more clearly as they learn to read, spell and process language aloud. This hands-free, acoustical voice-feedback headset helps children hear phonemes, the sounds that compose words. Phonemic awareness is a key predictor of literacy success, according to the National Reading Panel. Reading has a strong auditory foundation. That is why students learning to read "sound-it-out" and read aloud. A 2003 test conducted by two universities showed the signal-to-noise ratio increased 10-fold with the use of WhisperPhone. This means that students hear their own voices 10 times more clearly against background noise than they normally would. WhisperPhone is proven to help students with reading, writing, spelling, learning a new language, memorizing, concentrating, discovering a singing voice and memorizing lines for theater. This tool is great for all activities that require increased comprehension and concentration.

Forbrain Auditory Feedback Headphones with Bone Conduction Technology - Tool to Enhance Speech Memory and Attention - Used by Singers Vocalists Kids with Autism ADD ADHD Speech Delays
FORBRAIN headphones leverage high frequency vibration to help the user create and process sound. The patented electronic dynamic filter blocks out environmental noise—isolating and amplifying the user’s voice, giving the nervous system a solid sensory workout. It also enhances long vowels and other sounds critical to the construction of language. The resulting sound is delivered through the bones and bone conduction, not the ears or air conduction, to the nervous system and brain.
What are the benefits of Forbrain?
Attention: Forbrain's dynamic filter trains the brain to be more attentive improving not only attention but auditory processing and sensory integration.

Muted Designer Hearing Protection for Infants & Kids - Adjustable Children's Ear Muffs from Toddler to Teen
Children's hearing protection that is not just functional, but fashionable too. Our earmuffs are rated up to 27 decibels and meet ANSI requirements. Adjustable head band and cushioned ear cups ensure a perfect fit. Ideal for sporting events, concerts or everyday loud noises in a stylish pattern that any child would love to wear. Muted's unique patterns and colors will match even the most demanding kids' style. 

Muted Designer Hearing Protection for Infants & Kids - Adjustable Children's Ear Muffs from Toddler to Teen
Children's hearing protection that is not just functional, but fashionable too. Our earmuffs are rated up to 27 decibels and meet ANSI requirements. Adjustable head band and cushioned ear cups ensure a perfect fit. Ideal for sporting events, concerts or everyday loud noises in a stylish pattern that any child would love to wear. Muted's unique patterns and colors will match even the most demanding kids' style. 

DISCLAIMER: I am not an Occupational Therapist. I am an adult who has Sensory Processing Disorder, a sensory parent and a Grandma. The information on this website is not medical advice and does not replace the information that your child's therapists gives you. These are just ideas and information that I have learned myself over the years of being a parent and an adult living with SPD. If you are concerned for your child, please always seek medical attention through a family doctor, pediatrician or therapist. This website is for suggestions and informational purposes only. Each child is different and what works for one child may not for another because all children have different needs. Please always consult with a professional.

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