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Hypersensitive Hearing

People who have hypersensitive hearing are unable to tolerate specific frequencies and levels within the range of sound which is audible for us. This can occur even in people who have NORMAL hearing or have some level of hearing loss. Continuous exposure to loud noise is a source of irritation to people with hypersensitive hearing.

Dr. Temple Grandin once said:

“My ears are like a microphone that picks up and amplifies sound. I have two choices: (1) Turn my ears on and get deluged with sound or (2) Shut my ears off Mother told me that sometimes I acted like I was deaf. Hearing tests indicated that my hearing was normal (but) I can’t modulate incoming auditory stimulation.”

Taken from When is DTT Unreasonable? When AIT Eliminates a Behavior!

Some children are particularly hypersensitive to certain specific frequencies within the range of 1,000 to 8,000 Hertz (while perception of other frequencies are all within normal range). When exposed to these frequencies the child becomes anxious and stressed.

AIT can help normalize the child’s hearing response across all frequencies to within the normal hearing range.

Common Behaviors

Hypersensitive hearing is not easy to determine as not all children show classic signs of covering their ears or plugging their ears with their hands and fingers.

Some common behaviors that can show signs of hypersensitivity:

  1. Difficulty focusing
  2. Easily distracted from the task on hand
  3. Cries or is irritable or agitated when exposed to certain sounds (ex. Cries when exposed to a new toy that makes a sound or when teacher plays a certain kind of music, hits siblings when they cry)
  4. Runs away from certain sounds (afraid of the rain i.e. thunder, firecracker, blender, rooster, ringtones)
  5. Tries to turn off the source of the sound or says “Off”.
  6. Insists on hearing only a certain kind of music all the time.
  7. Will turn the TV or radio on loud, even if they don’t seem to be watching or listening, and gets upset when the TV or radio is turned off.
  8. Complains that ordinary sounds are too loud.
  9. Is able to identify certain sounds beyond normal hearing i.e. hearing the sound of a car/ airplane before others do, hearing a TV commercial several rooms away.
  10. Covering of ears
  11. Makes humming sounds.