Like all individual people, children have a range of sensitivities when it comes to their hearing. What causes extreme distress for one child may not phase another. It’s just part of being a unique and wonderful human being.
If your baby or child is sensitive to loud or very loud noises, you may have spent weeks or even months trying to pin down what was causing him or her to fuss around this auditory stimulation. Having a child who is sensitive to loud noises can make it difficult to enjoy popular activities that may be too loud for your young one.
That being said, activities are still a very important part of your child’s social development and self-actualizing. Here are some great activities that can be done with minimal emotional distress or discomfort from loud noises.
1. Reading at the public library
Most local libraries feature book times for babies and toddlers. This time is kept in line with their usual noise policy and other participants are generally as enthralled by the storytelling and pictures as your little one will be.
Without any loud microphone or amplification system, you’re likely to find the experience similar to reading to your child at home, but with the added benefit of a social element. Your baby will begin to see and understand shared experience and learn.
He or she will also hear stories you don’t have in your house, reducing the chance of “story book fatigue” for mommy and daddy.
2. A large park
Spending time outdoors at a park is a great way to get some fresh air, and expose your baby to the beauty and great feeling of being outside!
A park with lots of trees has three benefits. First, it provides shade your baby can spend time under if he or she is getting uncomfortable. Second, it’s visually interesting and an and opportunity for education. Finally, trees can prevent loud intrusive noises which can break the calm quietness.
Your baby will feel refreshed and you won’t need to worry about the loud noises that can often fill indoor and urban spaces.
3. Taking a nature hike
Like a park, bringing your baby into nature is a great way to acquaint him or her with the various sensory elements of quiet nature. He or she will see so many new, wonderful things which will undoubtedly elicit smiles and laughter as he or she realizes how full of wonder the world is, when it’s not painfully loud.
You may also find yourself falling in love with the silent beauty of a woodland trail or a quiet beach as well. Being able to silently observe and soak in nature isn’t just for babies or young children. Stopping to recognize the quietness of the natural world around us is a valuable activity for people of any age.
4. Children’s theater
Children’s theater has a similar effect as storytime. It provides a stimulating and entertaining presentation that prevents other attendees from becoming uncomfortable sources of noise, while also contributing the social element.
In cases, increasing exposure to intrusive noises can help reduce the high level of sensitivity as your baby grows up. Activities that alternate between quiet and interactive/distracting can help ease them into louder activities without pain and discomfort.
When you plan activities with your baby or toddler, you are doing more than giving him or her something to do. You are potentially creating some of the most early and formative memories he or she will have.
Knowing which activities you can do that won’t irritate or trigger sensitivities will ensure that your child grows up appreciating unique experiences without associating them with discomfort.
If your baby is highly reactive to any type of noise, it could be a sign of more than just sensitivity. White noise machines help mitigate the intrusiveness of noise, but in any event you should consult your pediatrician to make sure that potential problems are treated as they arise.