Children with autism spectrum disorder, ADHD as well as other sensory processing disorders might find it that they are having audio overstimulation and will be uncomfortable in discos, parties, social gatherings, school dining halls or family-get-togethers where everyone is chatting animatedly and making all sorts of noise. They suffer from what VerywellHealth terms as sensory overload. The kid will find it that the sounds are too much for them and will be unable to concentrate or have focus on anything else. To avoid this, there are some special noise reduction headphones for autism that work to reduce this noise by muffling the excessive noises.
While most people would want to completely block all the noises so that the child can focus on what they are doing without blocking their ears with their arms or having a meltdown, I would not advise on the same. This is because when you completely cancel out all the noise, you are posing a safety challenge. What if the kid has their name called out for an emergency, has cars honking at him on the road and he has all the outside noise cancelled? It would be very unsafe. Therefore, my best advice is to use gadgets that reduce the noise by a good noise reduction rating in decibels.
Characteristics of an autistic child that tells you they need to use noise reduction gadgets
- Tries to cover their ears in noisy places
- Runs away when there is too much audio stimulations
- Fidgets all through and moves fingers, legs or head
- Might fight or look anxious.
Things to look out for when buying noise reduction headphones or earmuffs
- Noise reduction rating in decibels
The ideal NRR should be between 20-26 decibels. This NRR rating will be displayed on the packaging of the headphone that yuou are buying. A smaller NRR than 20 is not ideal since the kid will still be overpowered by the environmental noises. A NRR greater than 26 db is still not a good one because the child will not be able to hear any vital sounds such as when their names are called out, when a car honks at them on the road or when there is a siren going off; this could pose a safety concern.
- Soft padding of the headband
The headband is the plastic part that goes over the head of the child connecting the two ear pads. The headband needs to be well padded to cushion the child so that they feel comfortable wearing it.
- Earbuds that rest on top of the ear and not going in
A child would be uncomfortable wearing small earphones that go into the ear. It would also not muffle as much sounds as one earbud that is covering the ears.
- Smooth edges and no rough corners
When selecting the best noise reducing headphones for your child, go for those that have smooth edges so that they do not bruise or hurt your child when they are wearing them.
Places where the autistic child needs to wear the noise reduction headphones
Some of the places to wear headphones that will muffle the audio overstimulation include:
- In theatre halls
- School dining halls
- Movie halls
- On busy streets
- At parties