I have sensory issues with hearing. I am hypersensitive to sound. Ear plugs help me to cope with the loud sound, I use the Etymotic ear plugs. These ear plugs do not block out all loud noise, but they help turn down the noise to where the noise is not so loud. Loud sounds can be very hard for Autistic people to cope with. I find if the noise is too loud (can get through my earplugs loudly) then I get overwhelmed. I rarely have meltdowns in public, although it could happen. If a loud sound will be gone within 2-5 minutes I am ok. But if it is over and over again such as garage fans, audience applause, leaf blowers, or smoke alarms then I get more overwhelmed. The worst possible scenario for me is to be in a place with loud noise that is going constantly. This slowly drains the energy out of me until I get to the threshold of not being able to cope with being overwhelmed anymore, luckily that hasn’t happened to me, although I have been close to having that happen.
If there is a loud sound in my house I can go to my bedroom to get away from it. People sometimes don’t understand what it’s like to have sensitive hearing. Some people brush it off “Oh, I wasn’t being that loud.” But, it really is loud to me. Imagine this, having hypersensitivity is like microphones in your ears, picking up on every sound and intensifying it. That is what sound is like for me. When I was younger, air brakes scared me. I would jump 2 feet into the air whenever they went off. I also hated fire alarms. I went into a meltdown every time I heard a fire alarm go off, and then I would run out of the building.
One of the things I absolutely DO NOT like is loud music coming from cars. The combination of the sound and vibrations coming into my ears overwhelms me. I cover my ears and wince every time I hear loud music from a car booming. Ear plugs have been life savers for me, without them I wouldn’t be able to enjoy things such as going to a violin orchestra concert or going to a music concert. It makes coping with my sound sensitivity so much easier. 🙂