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Home > Auditory Issues & Treatment Ideas > Auditory Defensiveness

Auditory Defensiveness

Signs of Auditory Defensiveness

Auditory defensiveness is an over sensitivity to sounds in the environment. These children hear sounds louder than normal.  They may have a flight or fright or freeze reaction to sudden sounds or loud sounds.

Children with auditory defensiveness can present with some or all of the following symptoms:

Seems unsettled or distressed in loud environments or crowds.

Frequently cover their ears to sounds that other children tolerate.

Are bothered by noises made by things like the vacuum cleaners, hair dryers, etc.

Avoids activities that have loud environments such as parties, ballgames, indoor music and movies.

Possible language difficulties are often evident as well. 

In OT sessions we will do vibration massage mats and neck massagers with sensory calming activities to help the child get used to vibration on their neck and near the ears to help with low frequency bone conduction defensiveness.  Therapeutic deep pressure brushing protocols will be used and shown for home use, for hair cell high frequency sound defensiveness.

These are other strategies to help children with auditory processing issues in the classroom.

  1. Limit extraneous auditory input from the hallway by closing your door or windows, cover the loud speaker with material to filter down the loud surprise factor. As much as possible, prepare the child for bells, announcements, etc.
  2. Use headphones that cover the entire ear to help the child filter out extraneous background noises, found on sensory websites like  Hunting headphones in child sizes work well.
  3. Use a white noise in the room often helps such as a fan or static on TV if the child likes this. Or play white noise, calming music, or Mozart.
  4. If an FM system or auditory trainer is available through SPED dept. then this can help tremendously.
  5. You can also play Mozart or Gregorian Chant music softly. Mozart is a neutral brain stimulant and stimulates more parts of the brain then any other music and Gregorian chant is calming and organizing and helps with the rhythm of reading as well.
  6. Preferential seating at the front of the room, directly in front of the teacher.
  7. Rugs, carpet, and even carpet or fabric on the walls and floors helps to decrease echo and extraneous noises.
  8. Chewing gum, sucking on water bottles, and crunchies all help to increase concentration on auditory.
  9. Request an auditory processing evaluation, these children often have Cental Auditory Processing Disorders!

A Therapeutic Listening Program with Sensory Integration Treatment in clinic and a home program is the best treatment!


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