In reinforcement learning, exploration has a specific meaning, which is in contrast with the meaning of exploitation, hence the so-called exploration-exploitation dilemma (or trade-off). You explore when you decide to visit states that you have not yet visited or to take actions you have not yet taken. On the other hand, you exploit when you decide to take actions that you have already taken and you know how much reward you can get. It's like in life: maybe you like cereals $A$, but you never tried cereals $B$, which could be tastier. What are you going to do: continue to eat cereals $A$ (exploitation) or maybe try once $B$ (exploration)? Maybe cereals $B$ are as tasty as $A$, but, in the long run, $B$ are healthier than $A$.
More concretely, recall that, in RL, the goal is to collect as much reward as you can. Let's suppose that you are in state $s$ and, in the past, when you were in that state $s$, you had already taken the action $a_1$, but not the other actions $a_2, a_3$ and $a_4$. The last time you took action $a_1$, you received a reward of $1$, which is a good thing, but what if you take action $a_2, a_3$ or $a_4$? Maybe you will get a higher reward, for example, $10$, which is better. So, you need to decide whether to choose again action $a_1$ (i.e. whether to exploit your current knowledge) or try another action that may lead to a higher (or smaller) reward (i.e. you explore the environment). The problem with exploration is that you don't know what's going to happen, i.e. you are risking if you already get a nice amount of reward if you take an action already taken, but sometimes exploration is the best thing to do, given that maybe the actions you have taken so far have not led to any good reward.
In hyper-parameter optimization, you do not need to collect any reward, unless you formulate your problem as a reinforcement learning problem (which is possible). The goal is to find the best set of hyper-parameters (e.g. the number of layers and neurons in each layer of the neural network) that performs well, typically, on the validation dataset. Once you have found a set of hyper-parameters, you usually do not talk about exploiting it, in the sense that you will not continually receive any type of reward if you use that set of hyper-parameters, unless you conceptually decide that this is the case, i.e., whenever you use that set of hyper-parameters you are exploiting that model to get good performance on the test sets that you have. You could also say that when you are searching for new sets of hyper-parameters you are exploring the search space, but, again, the distinction between exploitation and exploitation, in this case, is typically not made, but you can well talk about it.
It makes sense to talk about the exploitation-exploration trade-off when there is stochasticity involved, but in the case of the hyper-parameter optimization there may not be such a stochasticity, but it's usually a deterministic search, which you can, if you like, call exploration.