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extreme sensitivity to ertain noises/hyperacusis - could ear defenders make it worse?

(10 Posts)
hazeyjane Wed 30-Dec-15 18:49:52

Ds (5.6 - genetic condition - various developmental and health issues - sensory issues), has always been sensitive to sudden noises, and particular noises - laughing, wind, car horns, heavy rain

Over the last few months it has got worse - he gets upset at some traffic noise, coughing (especially sudden ones), cafes and crowded places.

He wears ear defenders when he gets upset, and sometimes if he is anxious about something, he wants to wear them all the time.

We had an incident recently with some arsehole teenagers banging a blown up bag by his head, when we were on the school run, and now he wants to wear his ear defenders on the way to school every day.

At school they say he doesn't need the ear defenders - although recently, as he has become more sensitive he has missed out on some things (like father christmas coming and noisier assemblies) so I am going to talk to them about this.

I have just started worrying, about wearing ear defenders, could it make the sensitivity worse? Does he need to 'get used' to sudden noises? We are just waiting for a new OT, and I hope she may give us some advice about sensory stuff, but wondered if anyone had any experience

thankyou.smile

Ineedmorepatience Wed 30-Dec-15 20:42:16

You will probably get mixed views on this hazey , my personal view is that if ear defenders help children with sensitive hearing to cope then they should be allowed to wear them!

Dd3 only wears them occassionally for specific reasons usually fireworks or rainy nights in our tent or caravan but our friends little girl used to wear hers all the time but is wearing them less as she gets older.

Dont be surprised if school staff dont really get it! Many of them think that inclusion means making all children look the same!

Good luck whatever you decide flowers

hazeyjane Wed 30-Dec-15 21:02:25

thankyou, Ineed. Ds is in a resource base for complex needs in a ms school, so I hoped they would approach this sort of thing in a more open minded way, but they seem to have a very black and white approach to things (eg their attitude to makaton and ds's AAC device is a constant battle!)

I understand if they worry about him being able to hear in class, but there are definitely occasions where his anxiety would be lessened.

I only thought about the increased sensitivity thing when I googled hyperacusis - I have never heard of the term before, but saw it on here and it seemed to fit ds's increasing problem with sound. On a support website it said to avoid wearing ear defenders, and I thought, 'oh god we'd never leave the house!'

We have had occasions where we have not got the defenders, and have ended up with ds's head buried under a coat with his and my hands so tightly clasped round his ears that they are bright red and soaking wet afterwards.

Sometimes I am talking and he suddenly puts his hands over his ears, as my voice has got louder (not in a shouty way, but in a 'right come on everyone time to get shoes on way') - he is constantly on edge about it.

Lesley25 Wed 30-Dec-15 21:14:25

We thought ds might have hypercusis and was referred to the auditory processing clinic. Ds doesn't have it but they now use white ear noise ear plugs whilst children sleep to help with this. The apd Doctor briefly mentioned it, but as it didn't apply to us he didn't go into it. but it maybe an option for you. You can get a referral through your pead or the school nurse detailing the difficulties your child faces with noises in school in a letter and referred that way, which is what I initially did. The wait was 9 months though for an apt!

moochy1 Thu 31-Dec-15 12:45:37

Hi could you tell me more about the White noise ear plugs for sleeping Lesley? My dd 5 is suffering with a severe phobia about the noise of wind at night time when she's trying to sleep and wax or silicone ear plugs are still not enough to shut it out when it's blowing a gale outside. She's getting hysterical about it at the moment to the point of just sobbing, screaming and hitting herself because she can't bear it and we can't block it out 😔

Lesley25 Thu 31-Dec-15 13:01:45

I don't know a great deal about it tbh just that they exist, the dr didn't go into it- just that some children who had specific phobias of certain sounds like hand dryers did benefit from it. I also saw a thread about it on here so you could try the search option

PolterGoose Thu 31-Dec-15 13:12:44

hazey I would celebrate that ds can identify when he needs them and makes his needs known. What might be worth trying eg in class when he needs to block some background noise but still hear the teacher talking is noise cancelling/reducing headphones, I use them for work and they are quite odd but may be worth a try. They produce a slight buzz and muffle some sounds but don't completely block.

moochy have you tried just running a fan? Ds had a fan blowing just outside his room for years to make a background noise and muffle noise from outside. You can also get white noise apps which you could try playing.

Schrodingersmum Thu 31-Dec-15 23:04:48

Dd has Misophonia and wears white noise generators but specialist audiology advice is that wearing the generators or ear defenders too much can cause make things worse long term, also theyre not at all comfortable to wear

Dd has a pillow with built in speaker available at night with her ipod attached that plays coloured noise into her pillow (white, pink and brown are soothing)

Perhaps ask for a referral to your local paediatric audiology dept who will have an audiologist who specialises in hyperaccusis and can assess and advise

BlackbirdSingsInTheDeadOfNight Fri 01-Jan-16 17:05:32

DS has SPD and is very sensory fearing when it comes to sudden unexpected sounds that he can't control. Our experience of ear defenders is that they are great for DS's anxiety as well as just reducing the noise around him, as he's a lot calmer if he isn't anxiously waiting to be frightened by a sudden sound (iyswim!). Recently he was standing in his bedroom watching a rather beautiful sunrise, and DH asked him why on earth he had his ear defenders on (it was early morning and the house was pretty much silent) and he said "just in case!". Just in case, what, I have no idea! confused

ProudAS Sun 03-Jan-16 07:27:56

I have hyperacusis myself and think that noise avoidance (e.g. wearing ear defenders all the time) can make it worse.

If your DS is stressed he should wear them on the school run though.

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