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Sound Sensitive? Sensory issue or Behavior- you decide!

July 18th, 2021

Is your child anxious in loud environments? Do they cover their ears or cry in noisy places? Have you considered, or do they use the big over-the-ear muffs? Do they like them? Do they really ? Did it take them time to adjust to wearing them?

I am exploring my own sensory issues lately and those of my son, Zachary’s, and his “avoidance” issues when he’s in louder environments. He has a lot of non tolerance to loud noises, parties, and situations in which he covers his ears or doesn’t tolerate them! He often “elopes” (the academic term for “bolting”) when he is overstimulated. As parents of a child with a disability we always have to ask ourselves is this a behavior or a sensory response? I am realizing more and more that there are a lot of sensory responses that aren’t Zach being “naughty” but really he is communicating that he is “done” (by leaving) because it is too loud, busy, overstimulating etc…

So I am thinking out loud here (via written words) about ways that can help our kiddos (and ourselves) with being less stimulated. It really boils down to having personal ear protection to lessen the decibel level of the situation. Concerts, parties, sporting events are loud and we should listen to our bodies and our kids' actions because it is too loud and we can have tools to protect ourselves from noise. That is ear protection. This hearing protection doesn’t necessarily need to be in the form of over-the-head “headphones” or “earmuffs”.

What about trying PepPlugs , ear plugs that are inconspicuous and fit easily into the ear?

I have heard, “Oh my kid won’t wear those…” but we hear that about all kinds of things, “my kid won't eat that” or “my kid won’t tolerate that kind of clothing” or “My kid won’t wear a mask” but look, in this past year probably many of us have gotten used to wearing a mask. It took some getting used to, but we have all purchased and “embraced” wearing masks to protect ourselves from COVID and so now let's explore using hearing protection to protect ourselves from noise induced hearing loss.

Please write to me your thoughts and comments regarding acclimating our children and ourselves to using personal ear protective plugs (pepplugs) and I’d like to hear about our special needs kiddos and their hearing sensitivities. Thanks for reading, Radha Joy

Stay tuned for Sensory Saturday/Sunday topics surrounding family and folks with sensory needs, including our children with Down Syndrome.

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