Sensory Processing : Sound

Sensory Processing is the ‘why’ behind the ‘what’ of Autism Spectrum Disorders. We understand the world around us through our senses. This blog will focus on sound: hyper-sensitivity and hypo-sensitivity


Hypersensitivity to Sounds (Auditory Defensiveness):
  • Distracted by sounds not normally noticed by others; i.e., humming of lights or refrigerators, fans, heaters, or clocks ticking 
  • Fearful of the sound of a flushing toilet (especially in public bathrooms), vacuum, hairdryer, squeaky shoes, or a dog barking 
  • Startled with or distracted by loud or unexpected sounds 
  • Bothered / distracted by background environmental sounds; i.e., lawn mowing or outside construction 
  • Frequently asks people to be quiet; i.e., stop making noise, talking, or singing 
  • Runs away, cries, and / or covers ears with loud or unexpected sounds 
  • May refuse to go to movie theatres, parades, skating rinks, musical concerts etc. 
  • May decide whether they like certain people by the sound of their voice

Hyposensitivity to Sounds (Under-Registers):
  • Often does not respond to verbal cues or to name being called 
  • Appears to "make noise for noise's sake" 
  • Loves excessively loud music or TV 
  • Seems to have difficulty understanding or remembering what was said 
  • Appears oblivious to certain sounds 

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