As with the visual system, it is crucial for our hearing (Auditory) system to distinguish between novel and routine sounds, and to understand if the sounds are a threat or can be ignored. If a child is over responsive to auditory stimuli, they may not be able to filter out irrelevant information that they are hearing. If a child is under responsive to auditory stimuli, they may miss vital pieces of information in a busy classroom environment. If a child is over or under responsive to sounds, this will have an impact on hearing, listening and understanding.
Auditory Processing Disorder (APD)
Parents may suspect that their child is not hearing or listening well at a younger age; however, it is often when the child starts school that the difficulties become more obvious. Children with APD have normal hearing but they have problems with processing and interpreting sounds and spoken language. Children with APD will present with more difficulties in noisy environments like a busy classroom or shopping centre, and may also have trouble reading with background noise.
Ideas to help support Hearing in the classroom
- Wearing ear defenders during targeted learning times or noisy times of day e.g. assembly or sport. Make sure the instructions are heard before ear defenders are put on.
- Smaller quiet spaces for targeted learning times.
- Get the child to repeat instructions back to ensure they have understood what you have asked of them.
- Offering written or visual instructions to support understanding of the request.
- If you have any concerns about a child’s hearing, it is recommended they be assessed by an Audiologist.