The Causes Of ADHD Sound Sensitivity

Categories of Sensitivity

Numerous forms of sensitivities are common and can have varying effects on different people.

certain examples of external stimuli that can make certain people feel uncomfortable and uneasy are as follows: Visual stimuli include neon lights, bright lights, flickering lights, specific patterns, images, color combinations, and anything else that catches the eye of the person. Odor-producing substances: incense, cleaning products, nail paint removers, fragrances, and deodorantsAuditory stimuli include: loud noises like sirens, drums, a dog barking, a baby crying, and blaring music; unexpected noises like knocking on doors; repetitive sounds like dripping faucets, beeping alarms, church bells, or ticking clocks; and specific sounds like using a nail file, writing on a chalkboard, scraping chairs, or stirring a cup of coffee with a metal spoon. Physical cues: labels on clothing, certain materials, or sweaters with turtlenecksFood-related stimuli include certain smells (fish, curry, vinegar), certain textures (fatty meats), and strange spices or food colorings. Triggers can vary greatly in subjectivity, and each individual may respond to stimuli differently.

Auditory sensitivity and ADHD

“Physiological and psychological internal states of an individual that increase the degree of reactivity to noise in general” is one way to characterize noise sensitivity. Research suggests that people with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can be more sensitive to sound. Elevated symptoms of ADHD, particularly inattention and distractibility, have been connected to higher susceptibility to sounds.

Misophonia and ADHD

Scholars have also proposed a potential connection between misophonia, a disorder that typically impairs one’s ability to tolerate specific sounds, and ADHD sound sensitivity. Common noises like chewing or yawning can cause discomfort for those who have misophonia and can also set off intense emotional reactions. Disturbing noises, such screaming or sirens going off, appear to have the same impact on those with and without the illness, according to studies. Additionally, they discovered that in misophonia sufferers, the area of the brain linked to fear, emotions, and long-term memories was frequently triggered. This suggests that early negative experiences and reactions may be linked to triggers. Misophonia, which literally translates as “hatred of sound,” is a condition in which a person may react emotionally in a number of ways to a particular sound, such as the following:



Aversion Intolerance

Stress and Anxiety

A feeling of being trapped

A reaction of either freeze or fight

Yawning, chewing, sniffling, coughing, sneezing, tapping, clicking, and scratching are examples of common triggers.

White noise-based auditory distraction and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) are two common misophonia treatment approaches. CBT addresses maladaptive beliefs and behaviors, assisting the patient in learning how to manage the illness.

Hyperacusis and ADHD

Hyperacusis is another disorder that may cause increased sensitivity to sound in certain individuals with ADHD. The condition referred to as hyperacusis, or hypersensitivity to sound, is characterized by a “reduced tolerance to sounds of average intensity, sometimes accompanied by painful sensitivity to ordinary environmental sounds, with perceptual, psychological, and social dimensions.” One’s perception of loudness may also be distorted by this illness. Clapping and other high-pitched sounds, for instance, can be uncomfortable and anxious due to their extreme loudness. In more severe circumstances, a person may experience phonophobia, which is characterized by fear and avoidance of settings or circumstances in which they might hear these noises. Research on children with symptoms of ADHD indicates that hyperactivity-related changes in the central nervous system may be the cause of hyperacusis, “following an increase in the gain of auditory and extra-auditory pathways and to greater anxiety or emotional response to sound.” The exact cause of hyperacusis remains unknown. Additionally, people with neurodevelopmental disorders such as ADHD may also be more susceptible to the illness. CBT and sound therapy are two possible treatments for hyperacusis. The goal of sound therapy is to “retrain the auditory processing center” to recognize and react to specific sounds.

Signs of Sensory Overload

The following are some signs of sensory overload, according to Neurodivergent Insights, a website maintained by a psychologist who was diagnosed with autism and ADHD as an adult:

heightened sensitivity to particular frequencies of sounds, loud noises, and background interference, all of which can negatively impact your functioning Feeling uneasy in situations when lights flicker more trouble focusing in situations with lots of sensory input feeling uncomfortable or overwhelmed in busy or congested areas Being allergic to some types of cloth feeling agitated or upset by particular scents, such those of perfumes, cleaning supplies, nail paint, or deodorant being ill or being intolerant to certain flavors and textures in food Weariness brought on by sensory processing feeling physically ill or annoyed in situations when there is a lot of sensory stimulation However, being extremely sensitive does not always indicate a disease. However, in order to control discomfort and reactions to triggers, a few useful techniques could be needed.

Counseling to control hypersensitivity

The effects of emotional and sensory overload may be mitigated by developing hypersensitive management skills. You may receive assistance from a therapist while you work to promote your mental health and wellbeing. However, you might want to think about online therapy if going to in-person sessions is cumbersome or adds another burden to your schedule. For instance, BetterHelp makes it possible for you to schedule phone, videoconference, or online chat appointments with certified therapists. According to a meta-analysis and systematic review, virtual therapy may be useful in addressing attention deficit and social function issues in individuals with ADHD who receive treatment online. Six randomized controlled studies including 261 ADHD patients were assessed in the meta-analysis.

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