Hyperacusis in Toddlers - Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment

Sensitive Ears in Young Children

Hyperacusis, or extreme hearing sensitivity, can be tricky to diagnose, mostly because the symptoms are more behavioural than physical. Little wonder an understanding about the signs and symptoms of this condition can hold you in good stead. Go through our points and be an informed parent.

Is the sound from a vacuum cleaner, car horn, or the rattle of pots making your child go in a tizzy? Unless of course your child has an innate sense of dislike for loud sound, the behaviour could hint at hyperacusis or hearing sensitivity. Because this condition has more behavioural than physical hints, we’ll help breaking it down for you.

Sensitive Ears in Toddlers and How to Read the Signs

  • What is Hearing Sensitivity in Toddlers?

    Hyperacusis, also called hearing sensitivity, is a condition where one develops increased sensitivity to a range of sounds that otherwise seem normal to most people. This leads to pain and discomfort. The condition is often seen in children suffering from autism, cerebral palsy, or Asperger’s. Other ways a child can develop this condition is by way of head injuries, severe ear infections, viruses, and adverse reactions to medications.

  • What is the Diagnosis for Sensitive Ears in Toddlers?

    In case you think something’s amiss about how your toddler handles sound go seek an evaluation from an otolaryngologist. The doctor will take a full audiologic test and note down the medical history of your child to arrive at a conclusion. Apart from this a physician will make a medical evaluation too. Besides this, a simple hearing test can determine the condition too.

  • Behavioural Symptoms

    Does your 12-month-old baby have sensitive ears. You can say a yes if your toddler, who can’t express in words yet, becomes violent, cries, or screams in noisy places. Such loud places and sounds can make the child run away and even feel depressed. Such children can also find it tough to concentrate in school.

  • Physical Symptoms

    The first physical symptom of hyperacusis in toddlers is the kind of reflex the child displays on hearing something loud. Is he cupping his ears, does he look bewildered, does he make repetitive sounds, or grows angry and throws things? If your child displays any of this not-so-normal behaviour, it needs to be evaluated.

  • What is the Treatment for Sensitive Ears in Toddlers?

    Hearing sensitivity has no corrective surgical or medicinal intervention. However, sound therapy is an option. This therapy helps retrain the auditory processing centre of the brain to handle and accept normal everyday sounds. This’ll require the child to wear a noise-generating device on the affected ear or ears. The device plays a string of continuous gentle sounds that the child gets used to hearing. After using the device for three months to two years, he might become less sensitive to normal sounds.

Sensitive hearing in toddlers can spiral into trouble if undetected for long. As a parent you should pay close attention to the warning signs. Encourage them to clap or play with musical instruments so they learn to adjust with sounds.

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