Why Noise Maps Could Be Crucial to the Neurodivergent in Public

In only a few public areas such as amusement parks or crowded commons of big cities, there is little or no help to the divergent to know what areas might be loud or not. Whether it be often or even just a noisy place for the day of, noise maps can help autistic folk who are hypersensitive to sound and can even help those with misophonia who don’t know what to prepare for.

Noise maps, also called soundscape maps, strategic noise maps or sound maps, are maps describing areas in a location that emit loud sounds/music/etc. Examples would be a picture where an amusement park or city space (such as a state capital, tourist location or large attraction site) has a color key, each color representing levels of sound by dB (decibels) and the severity or danger it can be to human hearing whether you have sensitivity to noise or not.

On this website, they feature and promote something called “HowLoud”, which helps people find noise levels in the location they search by GPS. The preview of the page shows what a neighborhood’s sound pollution is like using a noise map, and gives a good example of how the color key is used to indicate noise levels for anyone curious.

This not only benefits those who are interested in sound pollution, but would be amazing for neurodivergent folk that have increased stress, panic attacks or meltdowns from harsh noise they can’t expect beforehand. This method of mapping sound could be easily spread through online sources as apps or online pages on websites, or could be featured in pamphlets/papers provided by parks or groups that would be willing to publish noise maps for everyone.

The precaution in the form of an easy-to-use app that has the function of a noise map, for an autistic/misophonic/mentally ill person so they can have a chance to either avoid or prepare for upcoming sound input that would overwhelm them and possibly lead to public melt/shutdown, would be an amazingly renovating for the community.

If there are ANY application creators or those who work with apps, and you’re interested in helping the sound-sensitive part of the neurodivergent community, PLEASE think about this! I hope you’ll keep it in your thoughts or mention it to a moderator that could do something like this. Thank you. -G

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