Auditory Problems and Learning - FamilyEducation

Auditory Problems and Learning

This article examines auditory problems and provides a list of common signs related to such problems.

Auditory sensory problems can significantly interfere with development and learning. In school, a child with auditory issues may use lots of mental energy to block out seemingly minor distractions such as the sound of another child writing, book pages being turned, or someone walking in the hall or even another classroom. The sound of a marker squeaking on a board or a ringing school bell may be excruciating. Obviously, if a child is preoccupied by the need to protect himself from potentially noxious sounds, he will be unavailable for learning. The child who needs more auditory input for it to register and stick is also at a loss when new information is presented orally. Sensory-based auditory problems are frequently found in children with developmental delays and learning disorders, as well as diagnoses such as autism and ADHD.

Children with auditory issues often have speech-language difficulties as well, such as trouble understanding what is being said, going off topic during conversation or written composition, problems with reading or spelling, or finding the right word to use.

Common Signs of Auditory Problems

Auditory issues can vary significantly, from a child who needs things repeated a few times to "get it" to a child who screams when a fire engine goes by a mile away. Does your child...

  • have excessively strong reactions – or virtually none at all – to loud or unusual noises?
  • not speak as well as other same-age children?
  • seem to ignore you when you call his name although you know he can hear?
  • have a significant history of ear infections?
  • cover his ears frequently to block out sound – or for no apparent reason?
  • seem uncomfortable or distracted in a group or busy room?
  • react to sounds you don't hear – or react to them long before you hear them?
  • have an unusually high or low voice volume?
  • often ask others to repeat what they have said?
  • have trouble with phonics and learning to read?