I hear background noise much louder than foreground noise. Coupled with the fact that I struggle to look at people when I’m sensorily overwhelmed, it can be a real struggle to hear directions during high stress moments. So far, I haven’t learned any life-saving coping skills for this, except to say, “Excuse me? I couldn’t hear you.” Of course, there’s always the smile and nod, but that won’t actually help me in a difficult situation. In the end, I’ve taught myself to strain through it, force the eye contact that will ensure that I understand oral instructions better, and then, afterward, I find a quiet space and recuperate in the complete solitary silence for at least fifteen minutes.