Sound Sensitivities and Autism: Pernilla's Story
Since launching Calmer® we've heard how much they've been helping autistic people with managing noise sensitivities. Pernilla is one of the people who got in touch with us to let us know how helpful she'd found them.
Pernilla agreed to take part in this case study where she shares her experience of her life as an autistic person and some of the different sensitivities she has.
We think Pernilla's Story is a brilliant and informative read and believe that it will be incredibly helpful for many people.
Thank you Pernilla.
Find out more about Calmer here
Well, I guess I'll start by saying that I'm a 23 year old female from Sweden. My biggest interest has probably always been animals - both big and small. I love video games and photography as well, but I also tend to bounce around other hobbies and interests quite often. That said, it's not surprising that my favourite way to spend my time is to hang out with my three cats or playing some games.
I'm not exactly sure when, but I think I was around 13 years old when I got diagnosed with what was termed then as Asperger Syndrome. I've always just been who I am and never really known any different and I'm still very much learning about who I am as well. But from time to time, especially since becoming an adult, I realise more things about how a neurotypical vs. a non-neurotypical mind works.
Personally I find a (quite funny) quote from the stand-up comedian Hannah Gadsby very relatable:
"It feels like being the only sober person in a room full of drunks. Or the other way around. Basically, everyone is operating on a wavelength you can't quite key into."
Some days I cope better with sensory information than others. On one of my worse days I can honestly be quite unpredictable on what can trigger me, for example a noise on a good day won't bother me while it will greatly affect me on a bad day. Personally I feel like all of my senses are quite sensitive to different things. But if we take hearing, I easily get stressed out by sounds that I feel like most people can un-knowingly ignore such as fans/ventilation units or a TV on stand-by.
It's also very difficult when there's a lot of "gathered sounds" like in a mall or even a simple birthday-party with a few guests. It feels like I can pretty much hear everything and everyone at once, and it quickly becomes disorienting and overwhelming. Sounds like children screaming and nails against a chalk board is from what I understand not really anyone's favourite, but for a neurotypical person it might trigger more of this overwhelmed/panicked state than a non-neurotypical.
Calmer have definitely improved my day-to-day life by cancelling or minimising these stress- and panic-inducing noises that I in most cases didn't even realise affected me that much. For example; going grocery-shopping with Calmer makes a big difference when it comes down to my stress, anxiety and just overall well-being caused by certain noise. I'm also the type of person that can't wear noise-cancelling headphones because I still rely a lot on my hearing like in traffic or around people, and that makes the Calmer a fantastic middle ground that you can use at any time.
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