Sensory Listening: Improve Focus and Concentration Skills

Thanks to the incredible advancements of technology, nowadays we can find all kinds of innovative aids, as well as many different interventions and support systems for individuals who experience difficulties with reading, listening and speech comprehension and learning. And all of those products can make a huge difference for people of all ages with ADHD, autism, dyslexia, auditory processing disorders, sensory processing disorders, etc., as well as other individuals who have difficulties concentrating due to external stimuli.

Whether you are trying to equip your home or a classroom, there are many useful tools available on the market for autism, sensory processing disorders or ADHD reading, hearing, listening and comprehension. In fact, many of those products are specifically designed to assist individuals facing these kinds of challenges. However, many of them can also be used by educators, musicians, individuals working, reading, studying or doing any activity that requires focus and comprehension, in conditions that aren’t ideal.

Therapeutic Listening

Kid on therapeutic listening with teacher

While some people can stay focused even through the loudest sounds, many can’t. Noise can not only be distracting, but it is also proved to affect people’s performance, and more importantly, to increase their stress levels. As a matter of fact, even lower-level noises can be harmful, especially when they are constant – like, for instance, the noise from the traffic. However, while for a lot of people it may be distracting, for others, such as people with sensory processing disorders, it can be much more than a simple annoyance.

Every individual experiences external stimulation differently, so some may find one kind of music pleasant, while others may hate it. However, for individuals with sensory processing disorders, this goes much further, because they may underreact or overreact to different stimuli. People with auditory processing disorders may find it exceptionally difficult to deal with loud noises and background noises. For these individuals, learning, reading, listening, hearing and comprehending when there are other auditory stimuli, can be hard or even impossible.

One very effective method to aid with this problem is so-called therapeutic listening. This intervention can be helpful to people who have difficulty with sensory processing, regardless of their age. As the name suggests, this intervention consists in playing therapeutic sounds, in specific frequencies, modified by a therapist based on the individual’s response to the music. This is all done by using equipment, including headphones, players and music.

Benefits of Noise Cancelling Headphones

Women wearing the noise reduction headphones

Noise-cancelling headphones help the person hear only the sounds they want, and thus it helps people with sensory disorders, ADHD, anxiety, etc., as well as people who have a hard time concentrating on certain tasks because of noise, or even people who simply want to experience the sound of their music, or whatever they are listening to, better.

There are many different types of noise-cancelling headphones, as well as earplugs, which can have a different level of noise reduction ability. Moreover, there are also models that are specifically designed for therapeutic listening, which play relaxing, calming sounds, designed to stimulate the areas of the brain responsible for listening and processing sensory information. With these headphones, if the sounds can’t be completely blocked, the soft music will ultimately help relax them. This can be extremely helpful for kids who experience anxiety due to the overwhelming sounds in the background.

Good-quality noise-cancelling headphones reduce the ambient sounds, which can be especially helpful for children and adults alike who have autism, ADHD, sensory processing disorders, anxiety disorders, etc. But noise-cancelling headphones come with many more benefits for different individuals and different situations. These headphones, as well as the technology behind them, are also used for many other purposes. For instance, people may use them at concerts, sports events or other noisy environments, to cancel unwanted noises, and so on.

For people with sensory disorders, anxieties, ADHD or autism listening, reading, comprehension, learning and even paying attention can be extremely hard in conditions that can be distractive. Noise-cancelling headphones can help them concentrate on what they are trying to comprehend, and ultimately improve their performance as well as learning and other cognitive abilities. They can be helpful for these individuals in school, in other busy places such as supermarkets, malls, airports, aeroplanes, buses, or in any place with a lot of background noise, or where there may be multiple conversations overlapping.

Moreover, noise-cancelling headphones can help individuals with autism, by helping avoid panic attacks caused by auditory overstimulation or sensory overload. For people with an auditory processing disorder, by blocking out loud noises, these headphones can prevent an overreaction to the auditory stimuli, which would otherwise have a negative impact on the brain’s processing abilities.

Other Options for Sensory Listening

Kids listening and playing with teacher

Technology has made it possible to develop many other devices that can help people focus better, and improve their overall cognitive performance, as well as reduce their stress and anxiety, caused by auditory overstimulation. Aside from noise-cancelling headphones, there are many other types of devices, software, techniques and other aids that can assist with sensory, autism, ADHD reading and listening comprehension. These include text-to-speech software, audio recorders, personal listening devices, as well as tools developed specifically with these issues in mind, such as the auditory reading phone, that allows kids to hear themselves talk with auditory feedback.