Autism is a lifelong neurodevelopmental condition diagnosed by differences in social interaction, communication, and imagination. Most autistic people also experience atypical sensory processing (e.g., a heightened sensitivity to sound or texture). The literature includes evidence of autistic hearing differences including hyperacusis, enhanced pitch perception, difficulties with speech in noise, and auditory attention. Most of these can make the classroom a challenging environment for an autistic child. However, despite the rapid growth of autism research, the autistic hearing experience remains poorly understood. Reasons for this may include the lack of involvement of autistic people in research, the medicalised deficit model of most research and a dominant intervention model which seeks to suppress behavioural responses in children. Anecdotal evidence from autistic people suggests a more nuanced and complete picture of autistic hearing will include strengths as well as weaknesses, variation with context and between individuals, and a need for more accessible design. This paper will synthesise the main features from peer-reviewed and anecdotal evidence on autistic experience of sound, with particular consideration to classroom acoustics.
Skip Nav Destination
March 01 2023
How do autistic people experience sound?
J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 153, A127 (2023)
William J. Davies; How do autistic people experience sound?. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 1 March 2023; 153 (3_supplement): A127. https://doi.org/10.1121/10.0018393
Download citation file: