Managing Treatment

How Do You Handle Your ADHD Sensitivities?

We asked real ADDitude readers how they handle it when ADHD oversensitivity rears its ugly head.

ADHD Senior woman listening to MP3 player
ADHD Senior woman listening to MP3 player

ADDitude asked readers to share how they handle their ADHD sensitivities. Here’s what they said!

I bought noise-canceling headphones for work, so I don’t hear people around me. I usually play rain or nature sounds, since music distracts me. I wish I could use the headphones in social situations when someone is chewing loud or clicking a pen. I focus on that sound until I invent an excuse to leave. —H., Florida

Listening to music through headphones helps me get through most day-to-day activities. I try to avoid crowds and noisy places, and do a lot of shopping online. Those strategies help me manage my sensitivities. —Keri, Massachusetts

[Self-Test: Could You Have Sensory Processing Disorder?]

I wear tinted glasses that adjust to bright light. I tend to keep my distance from people because I get a little jumpy when someone touches me. I am learning to take deep breaths when anyone puts a hand on my shoulder. —An ADDitude Reader

I am sensitive to repetitive, annoying, or strange noises. This is a problem, since I am a second-grade teacher. At the beginning of the school year, I add one rule to the list of class rules: no sound effects. The students get it, and I rarely have problems after the first month of school. -Elizabeth, Maryland

I wear a sleep mask to block out intrusions of light. I am sensitive to light and the slightest glimmer, even a car driving past the window with its headlights on, wakes me up. —Sue, Ohio

I tap into the natural world to help me create a mindful environment to “just be.” I go outside and breathe, take in the world through my senses, and then go back to work less frazzled and more focused. —An ADDitude Reader

[Free Expert Resource: Are Your Senses in Overdrive?]

Sometimes I have to close my eyes to listen better. Whether it’s watching TV or talking to someone face to face, if I look at something that’s not moving, like the wall or the sidewalk, I comprehend better. I wear earplugs in the house when my son is watching a TV show that has a lot of high-pitched sounds or high-activity noise. —An ADDitude Reader

I manage my life in a way that decreases those sensitivities and their ability to get in my way. I don’t play into them, and I work on reducing them. I accept them and then move through them. I check in with myself daily to see if I’ve eaten well, slept enough, exercised, taken my meds. And I go to therapy. —Jess, California

I struggle with my sensitivities and wait for them to pass. My sensitivity to strange noises drives me crazy. Today, I heard a buzzing sound that my husband could not hear. I searched the area I heard it in, and, after a half hour, found that it was a hum from the recessed lights in the kitchen. —Kathy, Pennsylvania

I keep the lights and the TV turned down at home. —Monica, Washington

[Hypersensitivity Is Not Imagined]