According to recent research by the National Institute of Mental Health, 1 in 6 people suffer from some form of sensory overload.
This means that millions of Americans are living with a condition that can make everyday activities difficult, and even impossible, to complete.
So, what exactly is Sensory Overload? And how can headphones help? Join our headphone experts here at Dormiphones to find out the definitive answer.
Let's get the mini answer first before we head into more detail.
Yes, headphones can help with Sensory Overload and can be a good form of coping mechanism for those who suffer from it. They can block out or filter external stimuli, allowing sensory overload sufferers to focus on one thing at a time and better deal with the environment around them.
Now, let's explore the subject a little further.
As we mentioned, this is a condition that affects millions of people all over the world. It can be difficult to cope with daily and can make even simple tasks seem impossible.
So we can understand a little more easily whether headphones can help, let's start by discovering what exactly Sensory Overload is.
What is Sensory Overload
Sensory Overload is a condition where the senses are bombarded with more information than they can process.
This can lead to feelings of overwhelming anxiety, stress, and even panic. In extreme cases, it can even cause blackouts or seizures.
While everyone can have this experience, it occurs more often in people with autism, PTSD, sensory processing disorder, and fibromyalgia, according to The National Autistic Society,
What can trigger Sensory Overload?
Many different things can trigger sensory overload.
Some people are sensitive to certain sounds, smells, or lights, while others may find that large crowds or busy places are the triggers. For some people, it can be a combination of different things.
One of the most important things to remember is that what triggers one person’s sensory overload may not affect another person in the same way.
Each person's trigger is unique to them.
According to recent reports around 80% of people with autism find busy places such as supermarkets and shopping centers overwhelming.
What are the symptoms of Sensory Overload?
If you feel like you’re about to have a panic attack, or you feel your heart racing and your breathing becoming shallow, you may be experiencing symptoms of Sensory Overload.
People generally do react differently but some of the most common are dizziness, nausea, headaches, racing heart, sweating, or shaking.
Below are a few other ways you might be feeling if you are considering using headphones to help.
- Overwhelm or anxiety
- Agitation and anger
- Difficulty concentrating or having trouble focusing
- Needing to escape the situation
Does Music Help Sensory Overload?
So for those of you who are wondering if headphones help with Sensory Overload, it's good to find out that music is a great way to manage these troubling and overwhelming symptoms.
Music can be a great way to help with intense feelings and it can help to distract from the environment and provide a calming effect.
For some people, music can help to soothe and calm the senses.
If you find that music helps you to focus and relax, it may be helpful to keep headphones or earbuds with you so that you can listen to music when you start to feel the symptoms arise.
Does relaxation help with Sensory Overload?
Relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing or progressive muscle relaxation, can also help to calm the senses and reduce symptoms.
These techniques can be learned from a book, online video, or app, or by attending a class.
If you find that you are frequently experiencing symptoms, it may be helpful to consult with a therapist or counselor who can help you to identify your triggers and develop coping strategies.
There are also many support groups available for people with sensory processing disorders including:
Sensory overload can be a difficult and frustrating experience, but there are ways to manage it.
With the help of relaxation, support, and understanding, you can learn to cope with your symptoms and live a full and satisfying life.
For example, listening to relaxing podcasts using soft and comfortable headphones can help to manage feelings.
Headphones and Sensory Overload?
Using headphones to listen to relaxation music or white noise can help to block out excess noise and stimuli, and can provide a calming and soothing effect.
Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and visualization can also be used alongside headphones in managing the difficult symptoms of sensory overload.
So how do headphones help with sensory overload?
According to recent research by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), headphones can help with a number of the symptoms associated with sensory overload.
Why do headphones help with Sensory Overload?
Using headphones can be helpful for people who experience any of the difficult symptoms of Sensory Overload.
They work by blocking out some of the extraneous noise and giving the person a sense of calm.
Headphones can also help to drown out any visual stimuli that might be overwhelming.
For people who experience proprioceptive or vestibular difficulties, headphones can help to stabilize them and make them feel more secure.
In simple terms, proprioceptive or vestibular difficulties are a disruption in the ability to process information from the body’s movement and position.
This can cause a feeling of being off balance or lightheadedness.
Interoceptive symptoms can also be lessened by music, especially tracks with a slow and steady beat, as this can help to regulate heart rate and breathing.
The easiest way to explain Interoceptive symptoms is those that are caused by a dysregulation of the autonomic nervous system.
Sufferers can experience lightheadedness, dizziness, nausea, and fatigue.
If you have Sensory Processing Disorder, using headphones can also be a really helpful way to reduce your symptoms and make life a little bit easier.
10 ways headphones can reduce symptoms of Sensory Overload
There are a few different ways that headphones can help to reduce sensory overload.
1. They can help block out unwanted sounds
If you are sensitive to sound, headphones can help by blocking out or filtering unwanted noise.
This can be particularly helpful in situations where you cannot control the noise level, such as on public transport or in a busy office.
2. White noise
If you have trouble focusing in silence, white noise can help to mask other sounds and provide calming background noise.
3. Visual stimuli
By wearing headphones, you can reduce the number of visual stimuli and better focus on the task at hand.
4. Increased focus and concentration
For anyone struggling to focus on a task, wearing headphones can help by providing a distraction-free environment.
5. Reduces anxiety
Listening to calming music or white noise through headphones can help reduce anxiety levels.
6. Improve mood
Uplifting music has the power to improve your mood and increase positive emotions.
Whether you're listening through headphones or speakers, give it a try next time you need a pick-me-up or feel any symptoms coming on.
7. Promote relaxation
Struggling to relax when suffering symptoms of Sensory Overload?
Try putting on headphones and try doing things like reading, meditating, or practicing yoga.
8. Help to improve sleep
If you have trouble falling asleep whilst struggling with Sensory Overload, wearing headphones and listening to calming music or white noise can help you drift off to sleep.
9. Aids concentration
Wearing headphones can help you focus on tasks that require concentration, such as studying or work.
10. Headphones block out distractions
If you're looking for a way to focus and stay on task, try wearing headphones.
By blocking out distractions and noise, it'll be easier to concentrate on what you're doing.
And to finish on...
Headphones can be a helpful tool for managing sensory overload, but they are not a cure. It is important to find other ways to cope with symptoms.
If you find that headphones are not helping as much as you would like, talk to your doctor or a mental health professional about other options.
Don’t forget to check our store for a range of lightweight and comfortable headphones to help manage the difficult symptoms of