Im not good with loud noises. Actually scratch that. I’m AWFUL with loud noises! You name it I hate it: fireworks, concerts, busy restaurants, parties, theatre shows, shopping centres, the list is kind of long.
According to my parents they could see from an early age there was something slightly different about me. I was affected by noises such as a people sneezing – this would make me burst into tears! I also hated to be held as a baby and didn’t like hugs.
I tend to totally zone out in busy, loud and distracting public places. This also means I can lose people im with as everything is so loud and bright. The other day I was in a supermarket and everything in the stationery aisle was just to bright and colourful and it was such a noisy environment that I felt tired and nauseous just being there.
I think what parents, friends, therapists and schools need to understand is that if a teenager or young adult has SPD it becomes very tiring to manage all the time. I managed in secret the entire way through primary and secondary school and still manage in secret at uni today.
I would bottle up my feelings all day at school and come home and have a meltdown. My meltdowns were over things like loud noises – I remember once a teacher shouting at the student next to me telling him off and really yelling – I wasn’t even in trouble but it really affected me. I also had a teacher who used to play loud classical music whilst we sat mock exams and wrote essays. I don’t think he understood how loud and distracting the music was and how overwhelming it is for an SPD person.
My top tips for coping on this ridiculously loud planet we call earth:
- Ear defenders: Get a pair they are awesome! (Posted about these in a previous post) they don’t have to be a particular brand just the sort of ones you get on a construction site. They are great for concerts and fireworks,etc.
- Escape often: give yourself a break from the noise – I usually excuse myself and go to the loo just for a 5 minute break in a cubicle on my own. It’s enough to calm me down and stop me having a meltdown.
- Practice if you can: I’ve become better in restaurant situations and I don’t say no to going out and at least give it a go (I like to always be back home before 11pm though!)
- Music: Wear music headphones or earphones – you can choose whether or not to listen to music or just use them to block out loud noises – no one will be able to tell if you tuck the wire in your pocket! 😉
- Distract yourself: when its too noisy I will tend to get my phone out and just mess around with it to give me something to do so I’m not concentrating on the loud noises. This could work with a portable games console, etc.