Hard of Hearing, Sensitive to Sound and Auditory Processing Disorder? How is that Possible?

It is common knowledge that I am autistic, Hard of Hearing and have ADHD. I am quite vocal about this. A few things people may not know is that I am sensitive to sound and have auditory processing disorder. How can someone be Hard of Hearing and be sensitive to sound and have auditory processing disorder?

What Hearing Loss Do I Have?

The type of hearing loss I have is called a bilateral sensineural hearing loss. A sensineural hearing loss usually results from damage to the tiny hair cells in the inner ear. These hair cells transmit sound from the inner ear, to the hearing hearing nerve then to the brain. 

My hearing depends on pitch, not volume. I cannot hear high frequency sounds, in other words high pitched sounds. Some tell me I am lucky. Fun fact, we have birds and I can only hear them if they imitate the duck alarm from our iPhone. 


Causes:

  • aging
  • noise
  • some diseases
  • genes 
  • rubella during pregnancy
  • low birth weight
  • head/ear injuries
  • other causes not listed here

Sensitive to Sound

Yes, I am Hard of Hearing and sensitive to sound. It is true I cannot hear high pitched sounds. But other things I can hear. If you have a deep voice, I can hear you perfectly. Emma Dalmayne is a perfect example. I hear her perfectly. 

I can hear low pitched noises well. I can hear the central air conditioning, hum of the fridge, the tapping of the pet nails on our hard wood floor, the hum of the computer fans, etc. All of these are low pitched. When all these happen all at once, it triggers sensory overload. This is also a reason I drive an electric car. This car is so quiet where I can concentrate on the road instead of being overwhelmed by all the noise the car makes. 

This is why when I left home, I threw my hearing aids in the trash and never looked back. They caused immense pain. I still wish my hearing wasn't surgically corrected when I was a kid. I think the sensory overloads that I experience now would not happen. 

Auditory Processing Disorder

Yes I have auditory processing disorder or known in 1988, receptive language disorder. This means when someone speaks to me in a tone I can hear, it takes a minute for my brain to decode what has been said so I can respond. 

If I am signing or reading lips, I do not need this extra processing time. It has to do with my brain decoding speech. If they do not speak in a tone I can hear, I rely on lip reading and I am able to respond with out the extra processing time. How it was explained to me was that language and speech are in different parts of the brain. 

I can usually fake it when meeting new clients but I get around this by requesting text messages when they need me to care for their pets or to make a request of me. 

I hope that answers some questions on a combination that seems to be contradictory. 

Sources:
https://www.hear-it.org/Sensorineural-hearing-loss

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