Adult ADHD and the Senses

December 2, 2013 Elizabeth Prager

In my program, there are a lot of lectures and a lot of labs. For lectures, we're sitting quietly listening to a teacher and in labs we're talking with our partners/groups about movements and techniques. I had the opportunity to do a few lab activities in the past few weeks for my neuro-muscular course that tested my senses and my ability to adapt to their age-related changes. Because I always look at experiences though my Adult ADHD lens, these labs were no different.Adult ADHD can affect the way you interact with the world. We interact with the world with our senses and here are a few ways Adult ADHD affects your senses.


I am super duper, hyper-sensitive to certain noises. As we age, it's typical to have some age-related hearing loss. For the almost entire lab, I had some pretty heavy duty ear plugs in. It was hard to hear the teacher - AND, it was hard to hear my fellow classmates' chairs squeaking and the like. It's hard to say exactly whether my attention was enhanced because this was a novel experience or not, but I paid better attention with my ears plugged up than I do without them. In an office setting, I wonder if ear plugs would lead to greater productivity for those of us who are sound-distractable?


We didn't do anything to significantly change our sense of smell, but we did attempt to each some chocolate with our noses blocked up. Chocolate doesn't smell like chocolate when you plug up your nose.

I think smells can be great; I think smells can be horrible. There are some smells that give me instant headaches and knock me out for the rest of the day. I have found no good solutions for smells other than leaving the situtations. Sometimes, though, it's not possible. If you're a doctor with a patient who smells a certain way, you can't leave no matter how bad your headache gets. What to do?


Here a squirrel, there a squirrel. Everywhere a squirrel! It's not meant to be funny, even if it sounds it, but it's hard to not see squirrels when you have Adult ADHD. You can be in a room and someone keeps opening a door that you can see from the corner of your eye. You will turn your head, unless of course you're hyperfocused on something. Vision is so helpful at some many things, but too much stimuli can lead to complete distraction.


Some things feel gross. Some things feel amazing. Some of us are sensory seeking individuals, while some of us are sensory avoidant. Figure out which you are and figure out how you can best manage your sensory input when it comes to touch. I cannot touch velvet without being grossed out and I love touching my iphone case that has lots of good texture. I like squishy things, but not if they feel slimy. I like to be warm, but I do not like the feel of clothing on my elbows. Ah, such is life.;


I have nothing to say about this and Adult ADHD. It just happens to be the 5th sense, so I had to put it here.

That's a sensory round-up for you. Do you all notice you have more issues with any one sense over the other?

APA Reference
Prager, E. (2013, December 2). Adult ADHD and the Senses, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 23 from

Author: Elizabeth Prager

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