Sound overload is often talked about as a personal problem, but I strongly believe that society can make changes to make the world a more sensory-safe place for everyone.
Sound overload can occur from:
Too much time listening to music
After I received my Autism diagnosis, I realized how much sound overstimulation was affecting my daily quality of life. My special interests and hyperfixations almost always focus on music, and I had this music on all day, everyday. I wanted to scream when people scraped their teeth on their forks as they ate. When someone snored at night, I wound up in tears.
Most people address sound overload by focusing on symptom reduction, i.e. noise-canceling headphones, earplugs, & white noise machines. When possible, I prefer to adjust the environment I am in. This way, my body feels safe; I can refresh myself sensory-wise.
Steps I’ve taken to reduce sound overload:
Using rugs to absorb sound
Playing gentle, ambient music
Wearing noise-canceling earbuds
Checking in with my body when I’m watching/listening to special interests for long periods of time
While sound stimulation can be overwhelming, I am also a sensory seeker. When it comes to my special interests, I can go to loud concerts and listen to music almost all day long. I’ve noticed that afterward, I need a period of silence, or else I’m more susceptible to meltdowns.