Why does my son yell all of the time?

My son, 8, yells constantly. He yells when he’s mad, but it’s mostly when he’s excited or happy. Whether it’s playing with his little brother, or playing video games with Dad, or being excited because he’s eating something he likes, his volume setting is way ,way too high most of the time.

He’s a very happy boy who does very well in school and with most activities he tries. He’s had his hearing checked multiple times and it’s always normal. When I bring it to his attention, he turns the volume down, but it quickly goes right back up.

I’m not much of a yeller. My wife yells a lot when she’s mad, but speaks at a normal volume otherwise. I’m at a loss trying to figure out how to stop him long term.

If your son’s hearing is within normal limits and there are no other difficulties, then this loud use of his voice is likely behavioral. This means that you will need to continue to remind him to use his “inside voice” and offer praise or some type of reward when he does it. The trick is to be consistent with whatever you put in place. He will likely grow out of it to some extent.

There is certainly some risk in him using this voice in this manner. Excessive loud voice use has been linked to vocal nodules (small growths on the vocal cords). If his voice quality is raspy or airy, you should see an ENT specialist and/or a speech-language pathologist.

ABOUT THE EXPERT

Tommie RobinsonTommie L. Robinson Jr., PhD, CCC-SLP, is the Division Chief of Hearing and Speech at Children's National. Dr. Robinson has been with Children's National for more than 28 years and is also the Director of the Scottish Rite Center for Childhood Language Disorders in Adams Morgan in Washington, DC.

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