Noise sensitivity can occur in infants, toddlers, and little children. What it looks like is an infant burying his or her face in your shirt, or toddlers or children covering up their ears when they hear a loud noise.
It commonly occurs with loud, sudden noises, such as lawn mowers, fire alarms, or the flush of the toilet in a public restroom. But it can also be encountered for more common things, such as the typical volume in a movie theater or a concert.
Noise sensitivity is normal, but it can make children quite uncomfortable. It’s a good thing to try to protect them from noises as much as possible. An easy thing to have with you at all times is noise decreasing foam earplugs. They simply pinch closed and helps decrease the overall volume that children hear.
For children who might be exposed to loud noises more frequently — children who go to movies or concerts a lot and have parents who are musicians, for example — may want to invest in noise reduction headphones.
While noise sensitivity is normal, we want to make our children as comfortable as possible by protecting their ears and making them feel safe and secure. As children age, so does their tolerance for noise. By the time they’re in early childhood, noise that once bothered them should seem normal.
Reviewed by Dr. Sara Connolly, April 2019