Apps for people who experience Anxiety or Sensory Sensitivity

Who might this blog post be useful for?: People with sensory sensitivity, phobias, sleep disorders, anxiety or tinnitus.

What study skills challenges can this app help you overcome?: Anxiety, sensory sensitivity or phobias that impact upon wellbeing and ability to manage being in certain situations.

What is the tool or study skills strategy?: Noise cancelling and relaxing noise apps, relaxation and distraction apps.

With festival season well underway, and the summer holidays often including lots of social events, it can be easy to begin feeling overwhelmed by all the noises and people. Our welfare officer discusses feeling overwhelmed at a conference and what steps she took to combat this in her blog post on Looking after your mental health over summer. For students with Anxiety disorders or Sensory Sensitivity, loud noises and crowds can trigger symptoms that make us wish we had just stayed at home. This blog post will cover some measures that will hopefully help moderate the intensity of the symptoms causes by such circumstances, enabling you to remain in the situation. However, it is also important to remember, as Reena stated, that sometimes self-care involves removing ourselves from these kinds of situations for our own wellbeing.

Sensory sensitivity is most often associated with Autism Spectrum disorders, but Anxiety Disorders such as PTSD, Phobias or Panic Disorder might also increase sensitivity to certain stimuli, such as unexpected loud noises. You may also find this kind of white noise/ background noise software to help with auditory hallucinations. I have struggled with Emetophobia for a pretty long time, which has at times been quite severe and can be set off by the smallest (seemingly innocuous) sounds- people coughing, sounds of running water, plastic bags. When I use these kinds of apps while I travel, or in my tent at music festivals I find they significantly reduce the triggers and likelihood that I will have a panic attack or have to ‘escape’ the threat.


hear app icon

Hear is a noise cancelling app for anxiety. You can create your own buildable soundscape for background noise, which can help to reduce distractions and make real world noises less startling. Choose from different experiences and customise them to suit you.


hear-home hear-options


Download Hear for iOS.

Noise Machine for Android

Noise machine icon.

“This app generates white, pink and red noise and lets you make subtle adjustments to noise colour (spectral distribution). It’s stable, lightweight, and plays well with the phone’s OS and other audio apps, and the UI is simple and functional. It does not play any pre-recorded sounds. This is it in a nutshell.”

You can also set the your personalised noise preference on loops and timers which help reduce the battery usage and might be helpful if you’re trying to sleep for example, and don’t want the noise to cut out while you’re just drifting off. More specific detail is on the download page linked below:

noise-machine-loop noise-machine-timer

Download Noise Machine for Android

White Noise Generator for Android

white noise generator icon“Mix the relaxing sounds and create your own favorite mixes for relaxation, sleeping or concentration.

Do you love the sounds of the forest with cracking fire or calming beach with gentle wind? No problemo! With Relaxio, its super easy to create your very own sound mixes. Save your mixes to favorites so they are always by hand and ready to play!”

My favourite feature of this app is the ability to save your favourite soundscapes for later, and the interface is really simple with symbols, minimal text and coloured blocks.


create-favourites hd-sounds mix-white-noise quick-timer

Download White Noise Generator for Android

I have previously written blog posts on similar apps such as Rainy Mood and White noise generators in ‘Struggling to sleep?- Part 3. Rainy Mood and Boring Podcasts‘.

Thanks for reading,