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Sensitivity to noise

(15 Posts)
jerikaka Thu 19-May-05 19:10:23

Wondered if anyone could relate to this problem. My DS (20 months) has always been quite sensitive to noise, which i thought he would grow out of, but it's becoming a real issue. He becomes really upset at the noise of other children (mainly younger babies, but can be older children too). It doesn't have to be crying noise, any squeak that they make, he cries, and is in floods of tears. I really don't know what to do with him. I have tried ignoring it, I have tried comforting him, I have tried distracting him (as recommended by the health visitor), but nothing helps. I really persevered for about six months with a music group, and toddler group, but he just wants to leave all the time (heads for the door all the time).
I am now trying to place him with a child minder so that I can go back to work, but he cried all morning, this morning, and she said that she'll only try one more time as it upsets the other children. He cried so much that it upset the 8 month old, which made him cry even more. This child minder has been looking after kids for 20 years, and said that she's never come across a child like this. Is there anything I can do?
I did think he had a problem with his ears, but the doctor said that she can't see anything wrong. The biggest problem is that I am now expecting, and can't imagine how hellish our life is going to be if I can't sort this out before then.

Jimjams Thu 19-May-05 19:19:04

How is he with other loud noises? (or quiet noises come to that). It's quite common for young children to be sensitive to noise, but there's also a condition called hyperacusis which can be treated with something called AIT (auditory integration training). He might be a bit young for it- but could work if he's generally compliant/ will wear headphones...

If it's only children's noise it might be groups of children he doesn't like rather than the noise....

jerikaka Thu 19-May-05 20:23:49

He hates the hoover, which I thought was quite normal anyway. With other loud noises he tends to get used to them over time, i.e. my dh's motorbike. I think he does have an issue with groups of children. He is a lot more relaxed when it's just one other child of his own age of older. It's like he thinks that the baby is going to hurt him. Does this make sense? It's really hard to explain. He hates anything on or round his head, so I'm not sure if the earphones would work, but will try and look into this.

Jimjams Thu 19-May-05 20:36:39

sounds like it might be worth you reading The out of synch child and see if anything applies. It's on Amamzon, and paperback (so cheap) and pretty good.

coppertop Thu 19-May-05 20:42:27

I have 2 boys who have hypersensitive hearing. Helping them to cover their ears to muffle the sound can help a little, depending on the circumstances. Ds2 (2.3yrs)likes hats that cover his ears. Ds1 (4yrs) likes to wear anything with a hood. He also likes wearing big headphones in the house if he's having a bad day. I avoid noisy places when I can but , as you already know, it's impossible to avoid them altogether.

I too was wondering whether it was the groups of children he found difficult to tolerate rather than just the noise they make.

coppertop Thu 19-May-05 20:44:08

Oops. Missed the bit where you said he hates things on his head. What is he like when he has his hair washed? Ds1 also had a very sensitive head and used to scream if bubbles popped on the top of his head.

jerikaka Thu 19-May-05 21:06:27

He hates having his hair washed, screams the place down. He used to scream all the way through his bath as well, but we have managed to get him to the point where he will stand in the water without crying. He can't wait to get out though. I really feel like I don't understand him at all sometimes, but on the other hand he is the most affectionate little lad.
I will try that book, what's it about?

coppertop Thu 19-May-05 21:14:24

Some children can have sensory difficulties where their senses are either too sensitive or not sensitive enough. My ds1, for example, feels little or no pain in his body whereas ds2 is so sensitive that he hates wearing clothes and will strip off at every opportunity. Ds2 will also only stand up in the bath, never sitting down. The book gives information about ideas to help with sensory problems. A lot can be done to help. My ds1 is a different boy since he started sensory integration therapy.

jerikaka Fri 20-May-05 09:39:26

How is your son at nursery, does he have problems there? I am wondering if he will settle in child care, or whether I should give up the idea of going back to work. I don't want to traumatise my ds! How was he also when you had your younger son, did he have problems coping with that? I am really worried about how ds will cope when the next one comes along in January!

coppertop Fri 20-May-05 09:57:15

Ds1 is in Reception now at a mainstream primary school. He's doing well there and his teacher is pleased with his progress. He has extra help as he is autistic (sensory problems can exist without autism though). He used to hate it when other children sat too close to him but will now tolerate it most of the time. His school has a sensory integration programme that they use for children with all kinds of needs and this has worked miracles with ds1.

I was worried that there would be big problems when ds2 was born. Amazingly ds1 adored his little brother right from the start. He didn't like the noise ds2 made when he screamed (still doesn't) but just put his hands over his own ears rather than screaming and kicking off. I keep waiting for the jealousy etc to kick in but so far there's been nothing. They miss each other when they're apart and are very close. Obviously all children are different though so the same won't necessarily be true for everyone. They do still have 'fights' though. This is usually when one's having a bad day and lashes out at the other. They're far from perfect but generally get on very well.

Ds2 is at a playgroup a couple of days a week and he has settled in really well. We still don't know what kind of help he will/may need when he starts at proper pre-school/nursery but so far it's looking good.

jerikaka Fri 20-May-05 20:28:57

What age did you start to realise there was a problem? And how did you approach it with your doctor or health visitor? Whenever I have tried to talk about problems I have with him with my health visitor, she makes me feel like I'm being paranoid!

coppertop Fri 20-May-05 20:59:26

With ds1 I think I started having concerns when he was about 15 months but I kept getting fobbed off by everyone around me. I worried that he was deaf because he didn't answer to his name and didn't flinch at sudden loud noises (including the time a firework went off a few feet away from him). The HV told me that he was fine because he'd already passed his hearing tests. The HV really only started to listen when ds1 failed his 2yr development check. He had no words and spent most of the visit tuning her out. The HV focussed on ds1's lack of speech and referred him for speech therapy. It was the speech therapist who really got the ball rolling for us and referred him to both the Child Development Unit and the Early Years group. I had no idea how much his sensory problems had been affecting him until the Early Years worker pointed them out to me. I hadn't even noticed that ds1 was only using his fingers to pick things up rather than his whole hand. We were told about the portage service and were allocated a portage worker who was brilliant. She was shocked at how useless our HV was. Personality-wise our HV is lovely but really not much help to us at all.

With ds2 I noticed straightaway that he was sensitive to noise but he seemed okay in other ways so I assumed he had the sensory stuff without the autism. By the time he was 14 months I guessed that it was something more. This time we got into the system via ds1's portage worker and bypassed the HV completely.

If the HV isn't being particularly helpful you could try seeing the GP if yours is any good. Another option is to contact the portage service. I think you can find their number by googling "portage" and the name of your local council. In some areas they assess your needs first to see if you are eligible but here they seem to give help to anyone who asks. Ds2's portage worker is lovely. She visits every 2 weeks to give us ideas to help ds2 and also lends us toys and information books. You can contact them directly and don't need the HV or GP to refer you to them.

jerikaka Sat 21-May-05 13:57:45

Thanks for that, it's nice to know that I'm not imagining this.

mckenzie Sat 21-May-05 14:05:57

Jerikaka - I've been exactly where you are now with my son (he's now nearly 4 and over it completely). It would be much easier to speak about it rather than type. If you'd like to do that please CAT me and I'll give you my telephone no.

jerikaka Sun 22-May-05 21:40:55

bit new to this, don't know what CAT means! I have an email address which is the same as my nick name but with yahoo.co.uk on the end. if you email me there with your number, I will call you. Thanks

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