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Tuning Anxiety Out: Exploring the Potential of Noise Cancellation in ASD Sound Sensitivity

United Kingdom

Many children and adults with autism have unusual responses to normal levels of auditory stimulation, with particular sounds causing distress or even triggering challenging behaviour. This phenomenon is incompletely understood, although it is now attracting more research attention. However, practical responses are crude, with sound-blocking ear protectors being the most common.This project explores the potential of noise cancellation technology to selectively attenuate the sounds that people with autism find challenging, testing its suitability in a range of day-to-day settings and its ability to be configured to address the sound sensitivities of each individual. If successful, the project would open the way to a technological intervention that will greatly enhance quality of life for those with autism by addressing what many find a key disabling feature.