Sounds of living

Recommendation 108
Everyday measures to reduce the production and transmission of sounds of living

Chapter (themes)
Interior design (noise and acoustics)

Because of
sensory sensitivity, Central coherence, limited imagination

In order to
lessen or avoid noise.

As discussed rather extensively in the theme noise and acoustics, noise comprises one of the, if not the most important sensory challenge. This concerns children with normal hearing and of course more so children with autism and special sensibilities. Of those about half is oversensitive to sounds, about a third is fearful of certain sounds (such as high-pitched voices) and somewhat more have a peculiar interest in certain sounds (such as the shaking of a bottle or box). (See the Chinese study in the theme sound.)

A relatively large number of recommendations is concerned with noise-reduction, among which two in this chapter about interior design. The other one, 107, is the counterpart of this one and about reverberation. (See the context Child home.) These constitute a complement to the recommendations in the chapter Architectural spaces in which more fundamental measures are discussed.

Problematic noise isn’t exclusively a matter of noise which exceeds one’s tolerance, especially not with children. It’s nuisance value is exacerbated by confusion. Because of a limited understanding of cause and effect, probably caused by Central coherence problems, one may have difficulty interpreting the   origin and nature of sounds. Also one may have trouble sorting out simultaneous sounds, originating both outside and inside. The anticipation of sounds may be difficult as well, so one regularly feels ambushed.
If the sounds themselves cannot be controlled sufficiently, parents can help their children with their interpretation.

Here we are concerned with sounds of daily living which are produced by household members. (Noise of installations and appliances are treated in the chapter by the same name, specifically in recommendations 133, 138, 141, 148.)

Apart form the interior design tips given below, it is obvious that many disturbing sounds of living (loud music, slamming doors, noisy tinkering) by household members can be avoided. Additionally, the autistic child can insulate itself form them by means of earplugs, ear- and headphones. (See recommendation 109 in the context school.)

Every day interior design measures are among other things:

  • door springs or door seals against slamming doors
  • plastic caps and the like in the groove of cabinet doors
  • felt underneath table, and chair legs
  • drawer slides
  • avoidance of metal furniture
  • avoidance of closers on doors of sitting bedrooms.