Aspergers sound sensitivity

I was hanging out with my Asperger and high functioning autism friends at a restaurant after seeing a super hero movie. Somehow the subject went to dog whistles. No one believed My ears were hyper sensitive to sound to the point of hearing dog whistles, so I used a dog whistle app for my iPhone to show them what I was talking about. The non asperger parents were able to hear the 12000 hz and 16000 hz dog whistles, probably not like we did, but they heard them. I then switched to a dog whistle that companies claim only dogs can hear. Yeah, that is a lie. Everyone with aspergers or high functioning autism was yelling “that hurts!!” “omg!!” “turn it off”. I quickly turned it off, because it hurts me too. The parents who are neurotypical looked at us like we were being weirder than usual, because they couldn’t hear the whistle, or more like feel the vibration of the whistle in their ears. What does this prove? Those with Aspergers and high functioning autism have a much more sensitive sense of hearing then the average neurotypical person. This was about 20 autistic people and we all heard the sound and were in pain. I will run out of a room in pain if my dad turns on a show from the 40s where they use high frequencies to emulate something scary, because of the severe pain the high pitched sound causes me.

Sound can mess me up for hours. My friends were really surprised by the dog whistle. We then began debating if the use of dog whistles on dogs is humane. It is more humane then a shock collar, but beyond that, no it is not!! Actually, I recently went on a walk with a neighbor and he used a 16000 hz dog whistle. The dog obeyed, I started yelling and covering my ears. I mentioned the silent dog whistles and how I am on the ground in pain with those, my neighbor replied “good thing I didn’t bring that one today!”

We are highly sensitive to sound, something parents complain about, not in normal earshot, but plenty loud for aspie earshot. You can be 2000 feet away and hear what’s being said just like if you were standing right there. You can hear people say things under their breath when you are in another room. They are usually highly surprised when you reply to what they say since they barely made any noise at all, unless they’re used to your level of hearing.

Just the sound of something banging behind you can totally throw you for a loop. You can hear your neighbors quite clearly, and when they’re yelling for their kid over and over and you both have the same name…. It can lead to what people find as highly hillarious outcomes. My neighbor was yelling for his kid who has the same name as me. My neighbor was inside his house somewhere, but I kept hearing him saying my name. I was in my house, but got so fed up I bellowed “whaaat??!?!?? To him yelling for his kid. Everyone in both houses cracked up histerically; except for me not understanding what was so funny. My neighbors know I am.. Different. They don’t know me super super well, but well enough to know that I can hear them crystal clear & I am not trying too eaves drop!!

Has anything liked this happened to you?

If you have anything to say just post a comment.

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8 thoughts on “Aspergers sound sensitivity

  1. Glenn Robinson says:

    HI there
    i also have HFA and ADHD
    i also hear dog whisles,i hear so many sound others do not hear
    i canot even be in a resturant,
    was wondering how good your hearing is with hearing low low frequencies
    like a car outside with the engine ticking over will cause me pain
    i also see the cycle rate of Fluorescent Lighting,the whole room will pulsate,
    you should check out a site called wrongplanet,it is a great forum for people with
    Asperger ADHD HFA ect,,,Take Care,,,Glenn (-:

    • Thank you for writing. Yeah, I can see the patterns in lights, yeah some car sounds like the blinker sound did annoy me. I’ve been to wrong planet and while I am glad you like it, I don’t. Wrong planet is the wrong planet for me & I wouldn’t recommend it to others.

  2. deborah says:

    I don’t have aspergers, I am a special needs teacher and have a sister with spina bifida. I have always been sensitive time sounds and have got very upset even annoyed at certain sounds, but when I heard a dog whistle being used I had to stop it, it amazed me how much it hurt. Even channel hopping on the tv drives me crazy and the tones some people whistle with!

    • You’re the first teacher to stop by my blog. Yes, those sound frequencies are torturous.
      I have yet to write a post on my school experiences. I wonder why you can hear them. They’re outside most people’s hearing range. I feel quite bad that you can hear them. I know pain quite similar to what you suffer from hearing those sound frequencies.
      It is lying to say “I know what you’re feeling.” how the heck can you know what someone is feeling?

  3. Clay says:

    I have not been diagnosed with Aspergers, but I wouldnt be surprised if I had it ever so mildly as a child. I am currently having my 6 year old daughter assessed for aspergers due to her behavioral issues, and it open my eyes to my own experiences. My experience as a child was that I could walk down the middle of a road and tell which house had a television inside just from hearing the high frequency flyback transformer in the old CRT televisions. As an adult I still have sensitive hearing, my ability to hear soft noise was off the tonaudigram chart in my employee health survey. Being a electrical engineer I was able to test the frequency range of my ears which went up to a decent 22,000. That is only a little more than the average range. What is probably different is the sensitivity to those frequencies or the loudness contour. I have the ability to hear such sound from a long distance..i.e. At times I could hear my ex wife talking inside the house from the other side of the park across the road. The down side of this ability is that when I am in a noisy environment such as a pub I can not discriminate an individuals voice unless they are shouting in my ear. In engineering we call this trade off sensitivity vs selectivity. You can be more selective to a particular signal / sound using filters however this decreases the range of frequencies you can receive. Our ears don’t have any kind of frequency adaptive filter, unless you frequent loud rock concert and damage certain frequency ranges of your ears.

    I’m going out to by a dog whistle to try with myself and my daughter tonight and dig out the signal generator to try learn more about this.

    • You can download a dog whistle app too. The real thing is a lot more painful than an app. I and others believe that Autism / aspergers is heretitary. Some parents could have the gene dormant, but I have yet to meet a parent with an autistic kid that doesn’t show some signs of it.

  4. Helen says:

    Im sure I have something on the spectrum! I even joined an AS group for a while but couldn’t get a diagnosis as an adult and had some negative comments from one man in the group with axe to grind who didn’t think I had it. My sister has one dyspraxic child and one with dyslexia. A turn of phrase I can look up on the internet and social skills learned but the hearing sensitivity is another thing that makes it difficult to function properly within a group setting. I can hear my neighbours talking not always just when they are close to the wall and talking loud. One morning she said ‘Do you wanna cuppa coffee?’ I nearly shouted yes please back again. I try not to mention it to people as they think Im hearing things. I just tend to say theres hardly any mortar in the bricks cos its such an old house so I can hear everything even in the bedroom!

    • I am going to write a post about the time I yelled at the neighbors.
      I know what it is like. I’ve been really busy, but I want to share techniques I’ve learned. Look forward to more posts.

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