Learning to cope in noisy situations

This is another blog about another part of my autism. I will get back into writing about my photography again in my next blog. When I was younger a lot of noises used to make me feel very anxious as I have a high sensitivity to noise. I can hear things louder than other people could. I don’t like noises such as fans, car engines, mixers, buzzing sounds, loud machinery, beeping sounds and hand dryers. I have gotten a lot better now at managing with these types of noises.

When I went to playschool in Ballaghaderreen we visited a fire station for a tour and I had to leave the group before all the noise started.

I went to Brusna National School in Ballaghaderreen and I had to turn on the CD player as I would get frightened if any noise went on without warning.

A few incidents occurred regarding noise in secondary school mostly in first year. I attended St Joseph’s in Charlestown.

Once I was travelling in my principal’s car and when she got out she left the A/C running on low just to clear the windows. When I waited in there with my friend and SNA I got distressed by the noise of the A/C and I asked for it to be turned off. My SNA turned it off for me.

When I was in the Science Lab I got agitated by the caretakers lawn mower outside the school and I lost a lot of my concentration. I had to be taken out of the class to calm down and wait until it was over.

Once when the fire alarm went off in the school I crouched down and held my ears to try and block the noise.

When I was little I couldn’t go into a public toilet due to the fear of the hand dryer. We couldn’t have a hoover for years as I would be very scared of it. When Mum had to run the blender she told me first, I went into the laundry room and covered my ears.

I didn’t like the extractor fan when we were cooking at home either. I had to be reminded that the fan was going to go on and I ran out of the kitchen.

I have made very good progress now. I can tolerate a hoover in the house, I can go into a public toilet without fear of the hand dryer and I don’t have to be told anymore when the blender is going to go on.

The car engine noise still annoys me a bit so I got a pair of Noise Cancelling Headphones. They have very good sound quality. There is plenty of Bass and a nicely detailed stereo sound in them. I can enjoy listening to my music without turning up the volume too much. Noise cancelling headphones work by a microphone that picks up the ambient sound and they generate a sound wave that is the exact negative of the ambient sound. The two sound waves cancel each other out and create some silence. I feel more comfortable in the car with my headphones on.

I took a lot of trips in the car without them as well to stop myself from becoming too dependent on noise cancellation. It’s only a five minute trip to town from home so I prepare myself before I go in the car so that I can cope with the engine noise for that length of time. When it’s a longer trip I enjoy my music and movies with the noise cancellation on.

Since I have improved a lot at coping with noise I am able to do a lot of jobs at home that involve noise such as hoovering, drilling and using an electric mixer for baking. I can dry my hair with my hair dryer without being too bothered by the noise.

I still get a bit frightened by very loud noises such as a chainsaw which is about 110 decibels. When the A/C in the car has to be on the highest speed to clear the windows I get a bit upset as It’s too loud for me. I always know that It’s not going to be on for very long. I don’t really notice the car A/C noise on speeds one and two.

4 thoughts on “Learning to cope in noisy situations

  1. It is very interesting to read about this Josie. You have a great way of describing what it is like for you being in a noise environment. I think you have made wonderful progress when it comes to dealing with your noise sensitivity. ☺

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    1. Thank you. I’m very happy that I have made very good progress. When I hear noises now I just don’t think about them too much. I will find myself hoovering and using blenders more in the future. Noise cancelling headphones are very common among autistic people. ☺

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    1. Thank you Neil. ☺ I’m so glad that I have gotten better with noise. Maybe Ian would like to try those type of headphones if he can’t tolerate noise. They are also doing me much better.

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