Hyperacusis – ‘Super Hearing’
Hyperacusis can be measured in hearing tests, but perhaps more importantly, awareness that it is an issue for may neurodivergent people can go a long way towards mitigating the impacts.
A dripping tap, a buzzing electric light bulb, a distant alarm going off can become overwhelming and interfere with someone’s ability to process other sounds too.
A loud and surprising noise can cause pain and dysregulation which may last for hours afterwards. Examples may include emergency alarms going off, sirens travelling close by and so on.
Hyperacusis can be more prevalent when someone has heightened levels of anxiety.
What can help?
Ear plugs which are designed to reduce certain frequencies of noise can be very beneficial. They do NOT block out all sound, but can reduce the impact of unwelcome noise. They can best be described as a ‘passive acoustic filter’ and do not contain any electronics.
Many schools and colleges now accept that these can be used as a reasonable adjustment – some schools even provide them for pupils experiencing difficulties.
There are suppliers such as Flare, and Loop amongst others.
This article outlines some consumer testing Best earplugs to save you from sound sensitivity | WIRED UK
Noise Generating Hearing Aids can also be acquired via audiology / hearing clinics, and sometime on the NHS (in the UK) – these ‘push’ pink noise into the ear which can help ‘retrain’ hearing.
Additional information can be found here What To Do | The Hyperacusis Network