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What causes overstimulation of child’s sense of hearing and how it affects child’s development

What causes overstimulation of child’s sense of hearing and how it affects child’s development

Which senses would you say children rely the most in their early years? Alongside touch and vision, hearing is one of the senses use to explore and understand the world around them. It is also the time when sense of hearing develops and the time when it is the easiest to stimulate and support it. 

Supporting the Sense of Hearing

When we offer children just the right amount and volume of audio input their sense of hearing is constantly challenged and has enough space and time to develop, digest and respond to it. Children love playing with sounds ad rhythm, they are very sensitive to sounds of nature and often pick up sounds that we adults do not pay attention to. When they speak they are able to use the volume, pitch and tone that is appropriate and acceptable, they are able to use their voice with awareness and paint it with their own emotions. They can even play with their tone, voice and pitch when they pretend to be someone else. This unique sensitivity helps them build positive relationships and trust.

Offering just the right amount of audio input positively challenges the sense of hearing.

The danger of overstimulation 

The problems begin when children are overstimulated and this has become a very common problem nowadays. Overstimulation may not only lead to medical conditions but may affect other areas of child’s development such as social-emotional development and communication.

What can cause overstimulation? 

1.Media exposure – Too much and too loud

It can happen easily if we allow children spend too much time in front of the screen or listening to music or audio on their headphones. Now, movies and games have rich and powerful sound effects that can easily create a wall of constant sound. 

2.Aggressive and loud parenting 

Shouting and being a verbally loud parent at home means a child is exposed to a constant volume and possibly negative energy. If there is no place for the child to escape just to rest and take a break then the overstimulation may occur from the very early life of a child and is more likely to affect the child in the long term. Quiet breaks are very important as they help the body, the brain and the mind to relax and regenerate. 

3.Noisy environment

Spending too much time in noisy and chaotic environment such as shopping centres and even  school or living in a place where there is constant noise from trains, traffic or construction can be very tiring for the sense of hearing and the mind.

How overstimulation affects the child?

Children love playing with sounds ad rhythm and offering them opportunities to do so helps them develop sensitivity to sound, volume, pitch, tone.

It’s not only the sense of hearing that will be affected. Overstimulation my lead to the following problems.

1.Anxiety and stress

Constant noise is very tiring for the body and mind and if there is no place or time to rest the child will most likely become stressed and nervous. They may try to get rid of the energy that accumulated in the body and as a result may become anxious, nervous and even aggressive.

2.Concentration problems

Children who are exposed to constant noise or high volume might find it difficult to focus and as a result their overall performance might suffer. They might need more time to learn and understand more complex ideas or even follow instructions. 

3.Desensitised hearing 

Children may become less sensitive to lower sound frequencies and volume. They may find it difficult to hear sounds from bigger distance or even whispering. They may start asking to turn up the volume when watching movies or listening to music even if it already is loud. 

4.Communication and relationship problems

The right stimulation of sense of hearing helps children build positive relationships

Children may become more agressive in general which might affect their ability to make and keep their relationships. They may also become verbally louder, more likely to shout or scream, their pitch may become higher and their voice, tone and the way they speak less pleasant for people. This as a result may lead to communication problems.

If we stimulate children properly and with sensitivity there will be no overstimulation, the child will not only have enormous pleasure using their sense of hearing every single day to learn a lot about the world and themselves. 

One of our favorite collection of vibrant children friendly world music.

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This article was initially published on The Educator, written by Natural Born Leaders.

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