The Auditory System - How we Hear, How we Listen and How we Process Sound!

Apr 12 , 2023


Julie-Anne Dietz

The Auditory System - How we Hear, How we Listen and How we Process Sound!

The Auditory System (how we hear, listen and process sound) includes hearing, listening, interpreting, localizing sounds and being able to filter and selectively attend to auditory stimuli.
The auditory system in people with autism may function differently compared to those without autism.

What you may see...

Sensitive to loud, sudden sounds
• Distracted by background noises
• Does not speak as well as others their age
• Has a significant history of ear infections
• Covers their ears often to block sound Asks others to repeat what they said
• Has trouble with phonics and learning to read
• Unusually high volume or low volume in their voice
• Often seems to ignore parents or teachers

What you can do to help...

• Use headphones or ear plugs to block out background noises
• Simplify language when giving instructions to your child or in the classroom
• Give a verbal or visual warning before loud sounds (like fire drills) to cover ears.
• Try Therapeutic Listening programs (usually this involves specialized training and an Occupational Therapist to assess)
• Include a rain stick in your sensory space or room
• Musical instruments such as shakers or learning to play an instrument
• Calming, soft music to encourage regulation and self-calming
• Use a white noise machine, fan, etc.
• Play clapping games

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