Covering ears...

by Sarah
(Cincinnati, oh)

My son is 6 months old. I've recently noticed he will cover his ears when he's afraid. It's often after hearing a loud noise, which scares him, but I've also noticed Him do it when there hasn't been a loud sound, but he's upset about something, he'll cover his ears. Examples of sounds that make him cover his ears are hand dryers or toilets flushing in public restrooms or the water running in the tub. When this happens, he usually has a distressed or worried look on his face, but rarely cries. Sometimes he will whimper, but I'm usually able to comfort him.

Also, there are other times when something loud happens and it doesn't phase him. For example, he usually sits in his bouncy chair in the bathroom while I get ready in the morning. My hair dryer has never bothered him. Or today, my 2 yr old nephew was standing right next to him and shrieked at the top of his lungs and my son did not react at all. But several hours before that, my nephew made a slightly louder sound , like a soft yell, and my son got very upset, started crying hysterically, and covering his ears. In that instance though, my son was sitting with some members of my family and I was in the other room. I'm wondering if his distress there was because he realized I wasn't there and got upset.

Although, he does not show consistent signs of desperation anxiety, as i leave him in the tot room at my gym all the time without any issues. Another new thing in the last week or so is, he gets very upset if I sneeze. I am not a loud sneezer and if I just sneeze once, he will look at me with a very concerned/confused expression but not cry. If I sneeze again(as I often do), he gets very upset, crying.

So I am just trying to make sense if this behavior. I'm confused because it seems so inconsistent. He usually does it when there's a loud noise but not always. Do you think this is something normal, like a way he comforts himself when he's worried? Or do you think there is a possible sensory disorder? Any feed back is appreciated. He is otherwise a very good baby, very social and smiley, loves being around people and VERY laid back and relaxed. I mean I can take him anywhere and he'll just sit in his stroller and people watch. Anyone can go up to him and talk to him and he makes eye contact and smiles.

Thanks for any expertise or info you can provide.


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