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covering earsIn the first article within this series, I opened with an overview of the multi-system approach to auditory processing disorders (APDs) as described in Lucker’s Multi-System Integrative Model of Auditory Processing (Lucker 2008).  We examined the confounding variables in the evaluation of APDs and began looking at various components to APDs such as auditory awareness and auditory discrimination.

The next area of focus is a category is called auditory hypersensitivity. It involves the child being overly sensitive to loud and annoying sounds.

The systems involved in this area are primarily the emotional system and the sensory system. The research and publications by this professional have demonstrated that most children with auditory hypersensitivity do not have auditory based problems (Lucker & Doman, 2012; Lucker, 2013).

The problems are emotionally based. That is, they react with negative emotional reactions (fear and the body’s “flight or fight” response) when faced with loud and annoying sounds. Thus, we need to focus treatment on the sensory and emotional systems.

Two Suggested Treatment Methods

1) Sound Intervention or Listening Therapy as found in the article relative to auditory awareness.

2) Noise Desensitization Training. This is also known as exposure training in which you systematically expose the child to the fearful noises starting with short exposures and lengthening the time and soft exposures and making them louder. The focus is to provide the child with a “competing behavior” that cannot allow the child to run away or fight the sound. This may require working closely with a behavior therapist or psychologist.

More in the Series


Lucker, J.R. (2008). What are auditory processing disorders? In, H. Edell, J.R. Lucker, & L. Alderman. Don’t You Get It? Living With Auditory Learning Disabilities. Wood Dale, IL.: Stoelting Co.

Lucker, J.R. (2013). Auditory hypersensitivity in children with autism spectrum disorder. Focus On Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 20 (10), 1-8.

Lucker, J.R., Doman, A. (2012). Auditory hypersensitivity in children. Autism Science Digest, 4.