What are the Sensory Systems - Part Seven

Auditory – What we hear

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Auditory input refers to both what we hear and how we listen, and is physiologically connected with the vestibular sense. In addition to various types of recorded and live music, here are some ways kids and adults can get calming and organising auditory input.

Get outside and listen

Go to the beach or sit still and listen to the rain, thunder, and so on. If you hear birds singing, try to identify what direction a given bird is calling from.

Listen to natural sound recordings

There are many recordings of rain falling, ocean waves, bird songs, and so on. Sometimes natural sound recordings also feature light instrumentation with flutes, keyboards, etc. Some children and adults find they sleep better if they play such music.

Play a listening game

Sit with children very quietly and try to identify the sounds you hear (traffic, the hum of the refrigerator, a door shutting, etc.) and where it’s coming from. It might also help to lay in a shady spot on the grass outdoors to help children focus on the noises.

Find calming, focusing music

Listen to music specially engineered to promote calm, focus, energy, or creativity. Keep in mind, of course, that musical preference is highly idiosyncratic, so this will take some experimentation. The music you love may distress another child, while the music they find so soothing may drive you up the wall.

Encourage musicianship

Provide your child with a musical instrument and encourage them to play and experiment with the different noises they can make. Children love learning about new instruments and this is the perfect opportunity to provide hands on experiences.

Give children some control

For a child with auditory sensitivity, predicting and controlling sounds can be very helpful. Encourage the child to turn on the vacuum cleaner, help the child pop the balloons after a birthday party, anticipating the noise. Try recordings that desensitise children to everyday sounds such as flushing toilets, thunder, barking dogs, alarms, and other sounds many kids find distressing.

Create pleasant sounds

Get a white noise machine, tabletop rocks-and-water fountain, or incorporate an aquarium into your classroom.

Enjoy creating your own auditory learning environment,

Sarah