If you are raising a highly sensitive child (HSC) then noise is probably a hot topic in your home. One of the primary challenges is keeping sensory stimulation at a manageable level, and noise is a huge component of this for many HSCs, particularly in school. So how can you help quieten the every day world of your HSC?
One way is through the use of noise reducing headphones (or ear muffs or ear defenders as they are also known). There are a number of situations where headphones can help a HSC – not just in the classroom but during parades, festivals, shows and concerts, or a trip to the cinema, during firework displays or motor races or even whilst you are using a vacuum cleaner or a hairdryer, or whilst a sibling is playing music in their bedroom.
All three of my sons regularly use headphones in school. The school has a limited supply, but by their own admission they are not particularly effective at shutting out much of the classroom noise. So we went out and got our boys their own headphones.
Out latest search was for my youngest son, who recently turned five. He is in an infant class (group 1 & 2 combined), which involves lots of playing, lots of different activities going on at once in different corners of the classroom, and as is inevitable with a class of four, five and six year olds, there is sometimes more noise than a HSC can handle.
My oldest two sons use headphones we got from the local DIY store but these are a bit big and bulky for my youngest so he tried a pair of Alpine Muffy* earmuffs instead. These have been specifically made for children so are smaller in design than the other headphones we have in our house. They fit him perfectly as the colourful striped headband is adjustable, and it’s easy enough that he can adjust it himself.
He says they are comfortable, and the design makes the headphones attractive (colourful stripes), so he’s eager to put them on when he needs to. He can still hear voices (importantly his teacher’s) but the louder noises (in my son’s own words ‘the screaming and the shouting of the children) is subdued.
The headphones fold up compactly and come in a cloth bag so are easy to carry around, and they are protected and keep clean when he puts them away in his school drawer. Importantly they are also robust, which in the hands of a five year old they need to be.
“Protects the ears from harmful noises and loud music. Also very suitable for increased concentration in school.” Alpine Muffy
I attended parent’s evening last week and my son’s teacher actually brought up his headphones. She relayed that they really help him and he uses them a lot for when he is doing writing or drawing tasks. She said that he uses them to shut himself off from the world around him, and give his classmates a signal to leave him alone for a while. That’s good going for a five year old – my heart melts that he already has such an amazing insight into his own sensory needs. Long may it continue.
I am delighted to tell you there is an Alpine Muffy Earmuff to give away over on the Happy Sensitive Kids Facebook page (open to residents of some European countries – see Facebook for full terms).