SPD Information Symptoms Impact on the Senses

Impact on the Senses

The Auditory (Hearing) Sense

Overview of the Auditory sense

A person with a well modulated auditory system will be detect noise in a way that will not affect them greatly in daily life. They will not be so sensitive to noises in their environment that they frequently avoid crowds and get easily annoyed by noises that are generally tolerable in nature. While they may startle at a loud noise while walking down a dark alleyway at night, they won't have the same reaction to casual unexpected noises during the day. A ringing phone or buzzing oven timer won't set off a fight or flight response as their sources are known and are not perceived as threatening. These noises will be detected as meaningful, however, and will initiate an appropriate action plan (answer the phone or turn off the oven). They will also not find themselves consistently speaking too loudly or craving loud music all of the time.

Auditory Defensiveness

A person who is hypersensitive to sound will often be easily distressed by loud noises. Certain pitches and frequencies may also be agitating, such as high-pitched sounds like electronic beeping, shoes squeaking, or children verbalizing. They may also be disturbed by metallic scraping noises and other sounds that are perceived similar to the way a neuro-typical person perceives fingernails on a chalkboard. Listening to people may be difficult due to people's voices being perceived as louder than they really are. They will appear very vigilant, looking to see the source of every noise in their environment. They are also more easily startled by loud sudden sounds, such as fireworks, car horns, or doors slamming. They often want the only noises in their environment to be under their control, and may make loud noises to override uncontrollable sounds.

Auditory Under-Responsiveness

Those who are under-responsive to auditory stimuli will often fail to register or respond to sounds that are commonly noticed by others. They may not respond to important noises, such as their name being called, a police siren, or an animal growling or hissing. Missing important auditory input can make a person look as though they are ignoring others and can keep them from avoiding bodily harm if they don't register an attacking dogs' barking or an on-coming vehicles' horn blaring. They may also speak too loudly, as they cannot detect their own voice well enough.

Auditory Seeking

People who seek out auditory stimulation will often love loud noises or certain sounds. They have a hard time coping with silence, craving large levels of sound. They may make noises seemingly for the sake of making noise. They often will choose to listen to loud music and may prefer loud surroundings to quieter environments.

Auditory Discrimination Disorder

Those with auditory discrimination issues have a difficult time sorting through what they hear. They have difficulty determining where a noise is coming from and have a hard time focusing their attention toward what should be the most important sound in the room. They often have speech difficulties, as they have difficulty processing incoming verbal commands and instructions. They often confuse similar sounds in their head, and have a hard time determining between similar sounding words, such as 'car', 'card', or 'cart'. Words and other sounds may sound jumbled in their ears, and they will have a difficult time listening to other people for that very reason.