Noise Tolerance

I am mentioning this because this is one thing that really affected me as a child – I just did not like certain loud noises.

Loud, annoying noises

Examples of noise in this category include an angle grinder, a jackhammer, a dog barking or howling for a prolonged period, and an intruder alarm sounder blaring for a prolonged period.

The reason I call them loud is because that is what they are, and annoying because you wish that either (a) the noise will stop or (b) you could get to a place where you no longer have to listen to this noise.

Loud and not-so-annoying noises

Examples of noise in this category include a crowd in a large stadium, a motorcycle engine revving, a titanium driver (in golf) striking a ball on the sweet spot, especially if the area behind and to the sides of the tee box is covered in tall trees (e.g. the 18th tee at Athenry Golf Club), where any sounds are amplified and go in one direction, or Paul Hunn (World Burping Champion) having a go at his own world record for the loudest burp.

Although these noises are just as loud, and maybe louder than those in the previous category, but more often than not, and depending on circumstances, you don’t really mind prolonged exposure to these noises. That said, the relative silence, when either the noise dies down or you get away from the source of the noise, is notable.

Extremely loud noises

Examples of noise in this category include a Formula 1 car with its engine on high revs (>15,000rpm, compared to an ordinary car engine, whose normal maximum speed is in the region of 3500rpm), or a military fighter aircraft (e.g. F-16, Eurofighter) doing a flypast with its afterburners ignited.

When exposed to noises in this category, having ear protection would be a must – these noises would be so loud that ear muffs would be no good – you need ear plugs that you can insert into your ear channels.

Background noise and its effects

One definition of background noise would be any noise coming from the surroundings, which you would not hear if you were in an anechoic chamber. Depending on how loud or constant this noise is, for example, background music in a shop, a crowd of people talking, or even the fan in a PC, it tends to have an impact on one’s ability to understand what someone is saying to them. This often happens to me, especially when I am in a pub, or some similar place, when I am taking to someone else one-to-one, and there are other people taking, I don’t seem to understand each and every word, the other person is saying, and consequently I would not expect the other person to clearly understand what I am saying, unless I talk louder than normal. Is this typical of people with AS?

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