Who Has Sensory Sensitivity?

We all have sensory sensitivity to some extent. First, we all have sensory sensitivity, because we are all sensitive to our senses! Second, for some people, this is a problem because they are over or under-sensitive compared to the rest of us.  Third, this extra level of sensory sensitivity includes people of all ages.  Fourth, extra sensitivity can occur in any of the eight senses.  Fifth, it can also occur to more than one sense at a time.  And lastly, it can occur as a short-term thing or something that happens across the life span.

So, we are all sensitive to our senses. Ultimately, that simply means that we all experience our senses.  To clarify, we see hear, taste, touch, smell, move, balance, and have an internal body sense. We all have these eight senses.

You may be curious and asking yourself, “can anyone have sensory issues?” As mentioned, some people have a greater sensitivity to their senses.  As a result, they have difficulties with their senses.  Moreover, their body and brain do not receive information from their senses in the same way other people do.  Therefore, they may not respond to their senses in the same way as most other people.

Diverse group of people, different ages, standing with arms around each other.

More sensory sensitivity examples

  • For instance, noise may bother some people.  So, you may see people wear noise-cancelling headphones to listen to music or even children wearing earmuffs to block out sound
  • Alternatively, flickering lights or blue light may bother them.  So much so, people wear special glasses.
  • On the other hand, people might be bothered by the touch of small things like tags. 
    For instance, sensory-friendly clothing helps that does not have tags helps!

Moreover, many different disorders, disabilities or differences can contribute to people having sensory sensitivity.  Besides, sensory sensitivity can happen to anyone at any age.

Furthermore, people with sensory sensitivity may even experience what is called sensory overload.

There is no rule to sensory sensitivity

However, having a disorder, disability, or difference on the helpful list we provide below does not mean you will automatically have sensory sensitivity.  Nonetheless, it just means you are more likely too.

Furthermore, this list has been generated by our primary research with interviews, surveys, and polls.  Likewise, we have completed a review of the literature.

Additionally, we have also added to the list when people or groups reached out to us that self-identify as having sensory sensitivity. Finally, if you think something else should be added to this list, please reach out to us.

Group of diverse kids playing at the field together

Diagnoses, disorders, disabilities that make you more likely to have sensory sensitivity

A

  • Alzheimer’s Disease (AD)
  • Anxiety
  • Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD)
  • Autism, Asperger’s, Autism Spectrum Disorder, High functioning autism, Autistic person

C

  • Concussion, Post-concussion Syndrome (PCS)

D

E

F

  • Fibromyalgia

H

  • Hearing loss, hard of hearing
  • Highly sensitive person (HSP)

I

  • Intellectual disability (ID)

L

M

  • Meniere’s disease
  • Mental disorders, mental illness
  • Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS)

N

  • Non-verbal learning disability (NVLD)

P

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

S

  • Sensory disorder or Sensory processing disorder (SPD)
  • Sensory integration disorder (SID)
  • Synesthesia

T

  • Tourette’s syndrome
  • Trauma, early childhood trauma
  • Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI)

V

  • Vestibular disorder

Furthermore, most of these disabilities, disorders, or differences are long-term and chronic.  In other words, something that someone will experience for a long time.

Infographics on sensory sensitivity

As well, to help spread the word and awareness, we have created two infographics.  The first one shows that Sensory sensitivity and sensory overload are just the tips of the iceberg. Many disabilities, disorders and differences contribute to the increasing demand for sensory-friendly experiences at locations or events. The second one illustrates that 33% of people experience sensory challenges. Therefore, it is important to include 1/3 of the population at your location or event when you become trained. 

Image of a blue iceberg with the words sensory sensitivity and sensory overload are just the tip of the iceberg with the names of many other issues below the water surface such as ADHD, alzheimers etc. Sensory Friendly Solutions logo is on the bottom left, and B corp logo is on the bottom right.
3 people illustrated with 1 grey and 2 blue. Sensory Friendly Solutions logo is on the bottom left, and B corp logo is on the bottom right.

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