ADHD and Sound Sensitivity (2023)

How are sound sensitivity and ADHD related?

Some people diagnosed withAttention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)could trysensory overload,where they feel a little off when it comes to one or more stimuli. In addition to the slight distraction caused by our thoughts, sensory overload can also distract us 😵. Here's the thing: some people with ADHD can lose more than their ability to pay attention when sensory overload sets in -They can also lose their emotions.You can break things or even throw yourself.

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For example, someone may experience sensitivity to noise.

According to the analysis of data regarding the population of people with ADHD, hearing sensitivity👂it's not something everyone experiences;However,some people actually experience this. You see, many people with ADHD can go about their daily lives and ignore the loud noises 📢 they encounter. But there are others who have a hard time dealing with how they react to sounds. This can trigger your ADHD symptoms 🚨.

A person with ADHD with an extreme response to sound stimuli often finds it a real struggle😔,especially when they need to focus or finish a deadline.They are unable to concentrate due to the physical sensitivity in their ears👂. Here's another point: responding to noise sensitivity can be extremely frustrating😖, not just for the person with ADHDbut also for the people around you.

ADHD and misophonia

When certain, often common sounds that don't seem to affect the general population can feel usintense emotions,we can try"Misofonia."

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simply put,misofoniarefers to a strong aversion to certain sounds. This "disgust" 🤢 cantrigger intense emotions and even the fight-or-flight response.

(Video) Sound Sensitivity and Insensitivity in ADHD

Other people's loud yawning 🥱, chewing 😋 or even heavy breathing 😮‍💨 can send us into a fit of rage or disgust.

Our brain with ADHD 🧠 responds to these stimuli, and we can't help but be bothered by them. Emotional reactions can lead us to do thisgo crazy or withdrawby the person making the noise. The worst case scenario?This can affect our work performance and social life.

Researchers Studied 👩‍⚕️📝 Misophonia and Found ThisThis mental health condition can occur separatelyof attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. In other words, this form of acoustic overload can occur on its own. However, there are alsoa strong possibilitythis is misophoniaan ADHD comorbidityor part of the autism spectrum disorder.

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Misophonia can cause someone to become overly emotional or react aggressively to certain sounds. you tend toAvoid places or meetingswhere sounds that can trigger your condition are more likely to be present. This is one of your prevention strategiessocial awkwardnessor conflict becauseother people cannot understand your struggles or your health.

The problem of hearing everything around us

let me shareone of my experiences dealing with sensory hypersensitivity.It happened when I was sitting comfortably 💺 in front of my workplace. I was calmly researching 👩‍💻 something I was interested in when someone approached me, asked how I was doing, and continued chatting with me.

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(Video) How Sensory Processing Sensitivity Affects the ADHD Brain (with Bianca Acevedo, Ph.D)

At first I was fine with the conversation and even enjoyed talking to her. But when things slowed down a bit, she started opening a bag of chips 🥡 right next to me, going through her stuff andmade loud noises while munching on his snack.The issues I was struggling with weren't obvious in the first few bites, but as a few minutes passed⌚,I got emotional 😤.

The chewing sound she made and the opening and closing of the bag were getting more and more annoying to me 😨,to the point where I started getting headaches and couldn't look at the computer screen anymore.It was too much for my brain so I politely asked if she could stop or take it somewhere else. She gave me the cold shoulder and saidI was very sensitive.From this experience, I learned that some people don't understand the struggle of others when it comes to managing their sensory responses 😥.

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(Video) ADHD Insight: Managing Sound

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The effects of sensory overload on some people with ADHD

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of those neurodevelopmental disorders that can be exaggerated 😩. In addition to common ADHD symptoms such as hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention, there are even lesser-known issues that can affect our mental health. such a fight isthe constant struggle with your sensory processing.

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Our five senses can work together to provide us with information about the world around us. But for some people with ADHD, their senses can be too much for their brains. This can lead to what we call"stimulus overload".When our brain is bombarded with too much information from our senses 🤯, it can make us feeloverwhelmed, anxious and stressed.


For example, some adults with ADHD compared with neurotypical peoplecannot pass peacefully past an active construction site. The rumble they hear might be too much for them and lead to a meltdown 😰. We also tend to experience heightened hearing sensitivity in crowded places, where many people are talking at once, or when there is a lot of background noise. It can be difficult to sift through important information andwe are easily distracted.

physical pain

According to peer-reviewed studies, there area way that people with attention deficit hyperactivity disordercan feel pain from sounds 🎹.hyperacusia,a disturbance in the perception of volume, happens when some people with ADHD experience physical pain due to noise, especially loud noise 🔔.

(Video) Living With and Treating ADHD - Sensory Processing Disorder and Rejection Sensitivity Dysphoria

To look for📋 suggests that hyperacusis is more common in children with ADHD and is sometimes experienced by people with autism spectrum disorders. In addition to physical pain, loud noises can eventually predispose them to developmental disabilities (avoidance disorder), social anxiety, and communication difficulties.


If we are very scared 🥺 of all ADHD symptoms plus noise sensitivity and its effects,we can fight to find our ground, and it can be difficult to relax.

may be we havea higher level of anxietywhen we are in public or when it is too loud. It can be hard to focus on the task at hand and we can feel out of control of our surroundings.

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This can be quite a struggle as in many cases we really have no control over our environment. The constant noise of a neighbor 🏘️, the barking of the dog 🐕 and the cry of a baby 👶 can trigger our anxiety. Falling asleep 🛌🏽 at night can also be difficult when we are constantly thinking about the different stimuli we are experiencing.

Making ADHD and noise sensitivity more manageable

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and sensory overload can be difficult to control becauseWe can't control our environment. Even when we try to tolerate noise, many people with ADHD find it difficult to do so compared to neurotypicals.

There are several ways to make our condition more manageable 🤔. here are someTips on dealing with noise susceptibility and introducing healthy controls into our daily lives:

  • Find the right treatmentto treat your ADHD symptoms, which may include treatment options like stimulants 💊 (the effects are to improve focus), cognitive behavioral therapy (managing our reactions), or neurofeedback therapy (retraining our brain waves).
  • When we can't fully control external noise and need to focus on the things we need to do,wear earplugs🎧 can subtly help us with our sound difficulties.
  • Expose our five senses to different stimuli one by onecan help us become familiar with them and get used to them over time 📅. This can be done by starting with lower tone frequencies and working your way up. Tricking our brains can help toolistening to white noise or other soft soundsthis can help us focus on the task at hand.
  • spend time in nature🌊 🌴 can be an excellent way to relax and recharge from the hustle and bustle of city life. Being in an environment free of artificial noise can help us feel more relaxed and at peace.

Although according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, sensory overload such as B. those with sound stimuli,it is notit is considered an official symptom of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).Unlike Autism Spectrum Disorder (TEA), it can still be a challenge for us to deal with on a daily basis 📅.

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(Video) ADHD Sound Sensitivity

The bottom line is that even though auditory sensitivity is not a core symptom of ADHD, it isIt is still important that we are aware of how to deal with our symptoms,especially when it seems like everything around us is too loud. Our struggle does not make us weak, and we are not alone in this 💏. Let's continue to spread the word and work on this together 🤝Finding ways to make our lives more manageable.

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Is Misophonia a symptom of ADHD? ›

Misophonia is often an ADHD comorbidity. Individuals with ADHD frequently have a hypersensitivity to environmental stimuli – sights, smells and sounds. When they are unable to filter and inhibit their responses to incoming stimuli, everything becomes a distraction.

Are people with ADHD sensory sensitive? ›

Clinicians working with people with ADHD view hypersensitivity, both physical and/or emotional, as a common comorbid condition. “[People with ADHD] often are hypersensitive in one of the sensory domains: sound, touch, or smell,” says Ned Hallowell, M.D., author of Driven to Distraction (#CommissionsEarned).

Do people with ADHD have auditory processing issues? ›

ADHD may also coexist with an auditory processing disorder. Studies suggest that 50% of children diagnosed with ADHD may also have APD.

Does ADHD medication help with sound sensitivity? ›

Both hypersensitivity and hyposensitivity to loud sounds are common symptoms in ADHD patients. With stimulant medication, individuals with ADHD become more tolerant of loud noise than when they were non-medicated.

What is vocal stimming ADHD? ›

Verbal stims that may be common with ADHD are often symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity, as presented by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) : blurting. humming. singing or repetitively quoting from a movie or video.

What are examples of ADHD hypersensitivity? ›

It is an attribute common in people with ADHD. Symptoms of hypersensitivity include being highly sensitive to physical (via sound, sight, touch, or smell) and or emotional stimuli and the tendency to be easily overwhelmed by too much information.

What is ADHD shutdown symptoms? ›

Differences in emotions in people with ADHD can lead to 'shutdowns', where someone is so overwhelmed with emotions that they space out, may find it hard to speak or move and may struggle to articulate what they are feeling until they can process their emotions.

What are sneaky sensory triggers in ADHD? ›

Trigger: Perfumes, colognes, aftershaves, cigarette smoke, gases, and food can cause individuals to become nauseous, gag, or even throw up. Many people report feeling distracted, “wound up,” overwhelmed, and agitated by scents that others would have difficulty even noticing.

Does Adderall help with overstimulation? ›

Adderall works by increasing levels of dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine, thus bringing the brain from a state of overstimulation to a normal state of stimulation.

What is auditory sensory overload? ›

People who have auditory hypersensitivity may also experience auditory sensory overload. This is when the brain becomes overwhelmed by the amount of sound it needs to process. The brain becomes overloaded by the amount of noise and finds it difficult to focus on other things.

Does ADHD cause listening problems? ›

Listening, comprehension and working memory are impaired in attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. This means children with ADHD are more likely to blurt-out answers in class, speak out of turn, interrupt, and talk too much.

What is auditory hypersensitivity? ›

One term is auditory hypersensitivity. This problem is often identified as a person being overly sensitive to sounds. Some professionals have referred to the oversensitivity to sounds as misophonia. Others [3, 4] have called this phonophobia or fear of sound.

Do people with ADHD have hyperacusis? ›

Many people with ADHD can't screen out sensory input. Sometimes this is related to only one sensory realm, such as hearing. In fact, the phenomenon is called hyperacusis (amplified hearing), even when the disruption comes from another of the five senses.

What is masking ADHD? ›

If you hide your adult ADHD symptoms from other people, that's called masking. Basically, you're trying to seem more “normal” or “regular.” ADHD causes some people to act hyperactive or impulsive. It makes other folks have trouble paying attention. And still other adults have a combination of those symptoms.

What is ADHD time blindness? ›

A very common (also annoying and distressing) element of ADHD is 'time blindness'. Adults with ADHD often have a weaker perception of time and it has been proposed that this symptom is a possible diagnostic characteristic. 'Time blindness' can mean you are always late, or always way too early to avoid being late.

Is ADHD A neurodivergent? ›

Some of the conditions that are most common among those who describe themselves as neurodivergent include: Autism spectrum disorder (this includes what was once known as Asperger's syndrome). Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Down syndrome.

Does ADHD cause sensory overload? ›


Some of the symptoms of ADHD—such as self-regulation and trouble paying attention to what's going on around you—may themselves induce sensory overload.

Do ADHD have empathy? ›

As we've discussed, unfortunately, many people with ADHD tend to have a lack of empathy. This can be addressed, though, through identifying and communicating about each other's feelings.

Is too much noise ADHD? ›

2 People with ADHD can experience distress due to sound when it is overwhelming and causes an inability to focus, often leading to increased distress and anxiety. When a person has both sound sensitivity and ADHD, each condition can be even harder to deal with.

What is ADHD exhaustion? ›

This low sense of motivation can feel similar to fatigue, especially if a person feels unable to keep up with their responsibilities. Additionally, the stress that ADHD may cause can feel exhausting, especially if a person's symptoms are not well controlled.

Can ADHD cause emotionless? ›

People with ADHD may be seen as insensitive, self-absorbed, or disengaged with the world around them. Emotional detachment, or the act of being disconnected or disengaged from the feelings of others, is a symptom of ADHD. However, it can also be caused by Adderall, a medication used to treat ADHD and narcolepsy.

What ADHD symptoms decrease with age? ›

Symptoms of hyperactivity in ADHD tend to improve the most with age, usually decreasing in late childhood and early adolescence.
There are three main types of ADHD, which can change throughout your life:
  • predominantly hyperactive.
  • predominantly inattentive.
  • combined hyperactivity and inattention.
Jul 7, 2022

What are 3 secondary manifestations of ADHD? ›

ADHD: Secondary symptoms
  • Irritability.
  • Forgetfulness.
  • Disorganisation.
  • Low frustration tolerance.
  • Emotional lability.
  • Temper tantrums and aggressive, defiant behaviour.
  • Problems with visual and / or auditory perception.
  • Learning difficulties.

What are three characteristics that persons with ADHD will often exhibit? ›

Some people with ADHD have fewer symptoms as they age, but some adults continue to have major symptoms that interfere with daily functioning. In adults, the main features of ADHD may include difficulty paying attention, impulsiveness and restlessness. Symptoms can range from mild to severe.

What are ADHD obsessions? ›

Obsessing and ruminating are often part of living with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). No matter how hard you try to ignore them, those negative thoughts just keep coming back, replaying themselves in an infinite loop. You know it's not healthy, but you can't seem to stop yourself.

Why do stimulants calm ADHD in adults? ›

Stimulants are believed to work by increasing dopamine levels in the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter associated with motivation, pleasure, attention, and movement. For many people with ADHD, stimulant medications boost concentration and focus while reducing hyperactive and impulsive behaviors.

Is Adderall calming for ADHD? ›

Adderall helps reduce symptoms of ADHD in about 80 percent of my pediatric patients,” Dr. Chatigny says. “Children with ADHD experience what's called a paradoxical reaction to the medication. It calms them and most often improves their ability to focus.”

How do you increase dopamine in ADHD? ›

Several effective medications used to treat the symptoms of ADHD work by increasing the impact of dopamine in the body.
You can also do the following to increase your dopamine levels:
  1. Try something new.
  2. Make a list of small tasks and complete them.
  3. Listen to music you enjoy.
  4. Exercise regularly.
  5. Try meditation or yoga.

Why am I so sensitive to noise? ›

Hyperacusis is a type of reduced tolerance for sound. People with hyperacusis often find ordinary noises too loud, and loud noises uncomfortable or painful. The most common cause of hyperacusis is damage to the inner ear from ageing or exposure to loud noise.

Why does noise bother me so much? ›

Check if you have hyperacusis

You may have hyperacusis if some everyday sounds seem much louder than they should. It can sometimes be painful. You may be affected by sounds like: jingling coins.

Is sensory overload ADHD or autism? ›

Sensory processing disorder can make it difficult for people to function if they become overwhelmed by senses including touch or hearing. The condition is known to be closely related to autism, but research shows that sensory overload and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can also go hand in hand.

How do people with ADHD react to music? ›

A study done in 2020 showed that music seemed to improve focus and attentiveness in children diagnosed with ADHD. Music therapy has been effective for people with ADHD because they crave the type of structure that music provides.

Can people with ADHD struggle with communication? ›

Research findings are showing that people with ADHD have problems with communication in ways that can make them present as very egocentric. These issues can have a major impact upon relationships and quality of life.

Which language difficulties are most commonly associated with ADHD? ›

The results showed that most children had problems in pragmatic language, language comprehension with greater receptive communication deficits and delays, and learning gaps in reading and writing.

What disorder is sensitivity to sounds? ›

Hyperacusis is a disorder in loudness perception. Patients suffering from hyperacusis may appear overly sensitive to a range of sounds, finding many noises unbearable and painfully loud.

How do you stop auditory sensory overload? ›

Some common things that might help include:
  1. Leaving a space or environment, so they can try and recuperate away from the trigger.
  2. Stimming; try not to interrupt any non-harmful stims.
  3. Using noise-cancelling headphones to vastly reduce external sound, which can help to stop sensory overload.
Oct 21, 2022

Are noise Cancelling headphones good for ADHD? ›

Noise cancellation is helpful for some people with ADHD

"Having access to noise-canceling headphones helps people focus by having less external sensory stimulation." That way, you only have to focus on one thing, rather than trying to filter out the noise and focus at the same time, they explain.

Do people with ADHD get overstimulated easy? ›

Overstimulation is a daily reality for many people with ADHD. We feel too much — physically and emotionally. We struggle with emotional regulation, impulsivity, and big feelings. Many of us also experience sensory sensitivities, reacting strongly to sights, tastes, smell, and more.

Do people with ADHD have texture issues? ›

Some people with ADHD are very sensitive to touch and the feel of certain fabrics and tactile experiences, ie. the texture of some foods. These people find it difficult to tolerate tags in their clothes, the feel of specific foods in their mouths, scratchy or otherwise uncomfortable fabrics.

Is sensory overload anxiety or ADHD? ›

Sensory overload happens when the sensory input your body is working hard to process becomes overstimulating and your brain can't process it all fast enough. Sensory overload can occur in people with sensory processing dysfunction, autism, anxiety, and ADHD, among many other diagnoses.

What mental illness is misophonia linked to? ›

low misophonia symptoms were associated with psychiatric disorders including anxiety, mood, eating, and personality disorders.

What mental illness causes misophonia? ›

What Causes Misophonia? Unfortunately, there is no proven cause of misophonia. However, it does tend to show up more in people with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), anxiety disorders, and those that have tinnitus. It usually shows up during puberty, and the initial trigger sound is typically a family member eating.

Is misophonia a symptom of anything? ›

No, anxiety is an officially recognized mental health condition. Misophonia is a phenomenon that healthcare experts recognize, but it isn't an officially recognized condition. However, there are links between misophonia and anxiety, and people can have both.

What can misophonia be linked to? ›

Recent reports have also suggested that misophonic symptoms can be found in the context of two of the most common psychiatric comorbidities of Tourette syndrome, in addition to obsessive-compulsive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and schizotypal personality disorder (Ferreira et al., 2013; Neal and Cavanna, ...

Is misophonia a form of autism? ›

Misophonia autism is not an official term but it basically means that an autistic person happens to also have misophonia. People with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often also experience sensory processing disorder. Misophonia is a common partner with autism, but they are not mutually exclusive.

What mental illness is sensitive to sound? ›

Misophonia is a disorder in which certain sounds trigger emotional or physiological responses that some might perceive as unreasonable given the circumstance. Those who have misophonia might describe it as when a sound “drives you crazy.” Their reactions can range from anger and annoyance to panic and the need to flee.

Why can't I tolerate noise? ›

Check if you have hyperacusis

You may have hyperacusis if some everyday sounds seem much louder than they should. It can sometimes be painful. You may be affected by sounds like: jingling coins.

Is misophonia a form of OCD? ›

There are no official criteria for diagnosing misophonia in the most recent edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5); however, it has been proposed that misophonia may be most appropriately categorized under “Obsessive Compulsive and Related Disorders.” In 2013, Schröder and ...

Why did I suddenly develop misophonia? ›

Trauma is known to reduce our distress tolerance and cause greater activation and dysregulation in the autonomic nervous system (ANS). If our emotional regulation and ANS health are compromised by trauma, we are more likely to develop misophonia.

What does misophonia sound like? ›

What is misophonia? Repeated noises like chewing, pen tapping, sniffling, or scratching can cause annoyance and frustration for anyone. But for people living with a condition called misophonia, originally known as selective sound sensitivity syndrome, these noises are more than just bothersome.

What is the treatment for sound sensitivity? ›

Treatment: Like tinnitus, misophonia is treated with cognitive-behavioral therapy or counseling. These treatments focus on changing your negative associations with trigger sounds. Using white noise machines or other devices to mask these sounds can help you manage your reactions.

How do I fix my misophonia? ›

Here, we share some helpful tips for managing misophonia triggers.
  1. Tip #1: Avoid mouth sounds.
  2. Tip #2: Avoid finger sounds.
  3. Tip #3: Use noise-canceling headphones.
  4. Tip #4: Work with a therapist.
  5. Tip #5: Use misophonia retraining therapy.
  6. Tip #6: Connect with other misophonia sufferers.
  7. Tip #7: Educate friends and family.

What makes misophonia worse? ›

Many people complain that misophonia gets worse, but it's more likely that the issues wax and wane according to what's going on in their lives such as stress, health, or sleep. It is possible that over time, a visual association to the sound develops so that just the sight of what causes the noise creates a response.

Does misophonia get worse with age? ›

Moreover, misophonia can potentially worsen with age if left unaddressed, and give rise to coping strategies (e.g., wearing headphones) that could theoretically worsen sensitivity over time (Palumbo et al., 2018).


1. My Child is Sensitive to Sound. What can we do to help? NACD Autism, Attention Deficit
(NACD (National Association for Child Development))
2. ADHD or Trauma Noise? - 4 Examples
(Patrick Teahan LICSW)
3. Recognizing ADHD in Adults | Heather Brannon | TEDxHeritageGreen
(TEDx Talks)
4. What causes Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria in AUTISM and ADHD
(Loren Snow)
5. What can cause increased sensitivity to sound - Dr. Sriram Nathan
(Doctors' Circle World's Largest Health Platform)
6. What it's like to have ADHD... Sound Sensitivity #shorts
(ADHD Coach Ryan Mayer)


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