Noise Sensitivity: When The World Is Too Loud

Friday, December 27 2013 Paulissa Kipp

Noise sensitivity can be a mental health trigger, but there are things you can do to lessen noise sensitivity (hyperacusis). Get tips here.
Noise sensitivity can be likened to nails on a blackboard. The constant buzz and whir of music, technology, the buzzing of Facebook notifications, ringing phones and loud conversations can be overwhelming. This sensitivity to noise is known as hyperacusis, a condition that arises from a problem in the way the brain processes noise.

 

When a sufferer comes to dread social settings due to the noise, it can become a mental health trigger. Sufferers may feel trapped with no escape, want some place quiet or feel disoriented, as though he or she can hear every noise or conversation in a room. The effect is similar to being in an echo chamber.

Causes of Noise Sensitivity

Hearing loss does not necessarily reduce sensory overload. The way in which the brain processes the sound does not mean that a person with hyperacusis, or sensitivity to sound in general, has better hearing. It's just that he or she is more sensitive to certain sounds: paper rustling, conversations, heating and air system sounds, etc.

Some causes of sensory overload include:

  • brain injury
  • airbag deployment
  • epilepsy
  • ear damage
  • TMJ
  • Neurological conditions such as migraines, chronic fatigue syndrome and posttraumatic stress disorder can also be associated with increased sensitivity to noise.

Tips to Reduce Noise Sensitivity

  • Incorporate some white noise into your surroundings - run a fan, invest in a white noise machine, open a window or install a white noise app on your cell phone.
  • Wear noise-cancelling headphones or earbuds.
  • Try positioning yourself in another area of the room.
  • If you are wearing a hoodie, putting the hood up can lessen the stimulation.
  • Using a tactile tool, such as rubbing a smooth stone can provide enough of a distraction to facilitate calming (Using Objects to Reduce Anxiety).
  • Use post-it notes to cover sensors on auto-flushing toilets or automatic hand driers.
  • Visiting during non-peak times and seeking seating on the perimeter can help to reduce exposure to noise.

What do you do when the world becomes too loud? We'd love to hear what has worked for you.

You can also connect with Paulissa Kipp on Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest and her website, Paulissakippisms.

Author: Paulissa Kipp

View all posts by Paulissa Kipp.

Noise Sensitivity: When The World Is Too Loud

JB
says:
December, 31 2013 at 4:12 am

i usually bring earplugs wherever i go, including work. i have a mild brain injury, tmj & migraines.

Nat
says:
December, 31 2013 at 4:21 am

Great post but on the topic of mental health sensory overload can be related to mental health psychosis. When I am in an agitated depression everything is too loud and too bright and very scary. Nonetheless, great post I just wish you might have elaborated more in the context of mental illness.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Paulissa Kipp
says:
January, 4 2014 at 7:50 am

Not being a mental health professional, I really don't feel qualified to discuss mental illness at length except in relaying my own experiences.

Nancy March
says:
December, 31 2013 at 6:25 am

I never knew about this in my growing up yrs and Ive struggled with this all my life.My family said I was just an angry child all the time,but ive had several occasions throughout life when noise triggers me,and it makes me angry,one of those triggers is I get angry at people whenI have unmet needs but I cant tolerate being yelled at because it triggers me

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Paulissa Kipp
says:
January, 4 2014 at 7:48 am

I can understand the anger. For me I get angry but can't always find the words to express what the needs are.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Paulissa Kipp
says:
January, 13 2014 at 3:26 pm

I struggle with find the words to express what I need sometimes as well except to say "leave me alone", even when I really don't want to be alone, I just want it to be quiet.

bluephoenix
says:
January, 4 2014 at 4:25 am

Cool air on my face helps. Most often I have to leave the environment. Sometimes I can go back to it, sometimes not. At home I have a fan running most of the time. I have noticed that when it is completely quiet in the house I hear a high pitched almost ringing in my ears. Don't know if that's related.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Paulissa Kipp
says:
January, 4 2014 at 7:46 am

Some of the research that I came across mentioned that noise sensitivity is related a bit to tinnitus, so the high pitched ringing you mention may be more common than realized.

Kris
says:
January, 4 2014 at 4:28 am

If I can't get out of the area I've found that bringing my ipod and putting in my ear buds and listening to music helps. I know the songs so they don't overwhelm me and I can't hear the chaos outside. Noise is a big trigger of migraines and anxiety for me.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Paulissa Kipp
says:
January, 4 2014 at 7:44 am

I like to listen to music as well and just block out the noise.

Teri
says:
January, 4 2014 at 7:18 am

For me, noise sensitivity is when my anxiety goes up, and any noise, the smallest noise, is unbearable. Not that it hurts my ears...it makes my anxiety go way up even more. Someone talking, the loudness seems to be amplified and the only way I can deal with it is to leave and put my headphones in and turn the music on where I can hear no one else. For me, music is my therapy almost. That's what I consider noise sensitivity, I don't know about others.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Paulissa Kipp
says:
January, 4 2014 at 7:43 am

For me, any noise is unbearable as well. It makes me feel as though I can't escape and ramps up the anxiety.

Robinn G
says:
January, 9 2014 at 11:09 am

I've had this all my life but never knew it had a name! When my anxiety is higher than usual (I'm usually anxious), sounds that don't bother me normally just feel like they are driving through my head like a sharp arrow. I usually have to leave the room when my great-nephew is there as he likes to screech when he doesn't get his way. I'm lucky in that I can adjust to loudness as long as it is loud by necessity (machinery running) but paper shuffling can get annoying. Another thing I can't tolerate is silence. When I have to study in the library, I take my iPod with me to fill up the lack of noise. I actually study better in snack bars. Certainly backwards from the issue with my great-nephew!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Paulissa Kipp
says:
January, 13 2014 at 3:25 pm

I understand what you mean Robinn. I don't know what mental health professionals call this phenomenon but I refer to it as noise sensitivity. I can understand both silence and certain noises being too much to handle.

Pippy
says:
January, 19 2014 at 1:27 pm

here i thought i was alone in this. wow, so many of us out there, how come i have never heard of this till now! my nerves feel shot most of the time. in my fifties and it is worse then ever. the older i get the more irritable i get. i decided today to never go shopping with others. there is no escape! too much noise! i try to be appreciative of all i have, but it is getting harder as the years go one. glad i am not alone. i need a roommate that is more like me. no tv or radio, not a lot of talk, etc. hard to find people like us!

Linda
says:
January, 22 2014 at 8:33 am

Thank you for this information. My son suffers from a thought disorder and I always assumed that his sensitivity to the sound of the TV was relaed to his psychosis. However I know that there maybe another explanation for it.

Shane
says:
June, 25 2014 at 12:42 pm

I've suffered this for years as well. I work in a noisy crowded call center; earplugs and music are out of the question. I have to grit my teeth and carry on and try to sound professional when all I want to do is crawl into a sensory deprivation chamber and weep.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Mike Ehrmantrout
says:
June, 26 2014 at 5:16 am

Hi Shane. The Americans with Disabilities Act (www.ada.gov) requires employers to make "reasonable accommodation" for people with disabilities to help level the playing field. You should see your Human Resources department to request accommodation. Again, the request must be "reasonable." Noise cancelling earphones might be a reasonable request. Or you might have an even better idea for yourself.

Tracy
says:
June, 28 2014 at 6:22 pm

My family thinks I'm crazy because I can not stand the sound of fans. Box fans, small fans, bathroom fans. Especially if the fan is on and the TV is on at the same time. It just drives me crazy. I feel bad because everyone else make me feel like I'm just trying to complain. I wish this would go away, but no hope fpr that so far. Any suggestions, or anybody else with the same issue? Is there a name/condition for this? Any help Please?

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Mike Ehrmantrout
says:
June, 29 2014 at 6:19 am

Hi Tracy. I'm sorry to hear of your suffering. I'm not a doctor. I urge you to seek medical help. There may be a therapy or medication that could help you, but you won't know unless you seek it out. Good luck to you and your family.

Kerry Horan
says:
July, 19 2014 at 2:21 am

Tracy, Imagree with Mike. Please see someone. I work with people with these sensitivities and what I have noticed is that sometimes it is related to being hyper vigilant or constantly looking out for dangers, and sometimes it is specific to the individual. A book that was recommended to me is The Highly Sensitive Person by Elaine Aaron. It really does explain a lot about this and how to protect yourself and manage your sensitivity. All the best Tracy.

MirthaSimmons
says:
July, 19 2014 at 10:18 am

I am bipolar diagnosed when I was in my early twenties and currently 70 years old. I am just now learning about "noise sensitivity" and realize that I have always hated noise and this high pitched noise/ringing in my ears. I always thought it was normal and everyone has it. I am glad to now know what it is called. You have helped me so much to finally put that piece of the puzzle together. I am so grateful.

CariM228
says:
August, 9 2014 at 3:52 pm

WOW. I never realized this .... I know that a few years back, when I was going through some serious stress (plus medical issues), I reached a point where the sounds of some incredibly talkative coworkers set me off...... I could hear their yakking through my office door, and it was all I could do not to open the door and scream, "Can't you just quit (expletive) talking for two whole minutes, and then two more, and then two more....?" I never thought it could be tied into more than just what I was going through at the time (prior to my MH diagnosis). This explains an awful lot about my need for quieter times. Thank you!

paul
says:
August, 29 2014 at 5:20 pm

The article makes it sound like sensitivity to noise is mental illness. Seems to me it is the other way around. People's constant need for stimulation is a way to avoid the effects of trauma resulting from our culture's disconnect from the natural world.

Janet
says:
September, 5 2014 at 11:19 pm

I have had this since an ear infection, life trauma but I also have mental health issues and physical including chronic fatigue syndrome fibro hypermobiity dissociative disorder and ptsd. It got worse during a very stressful time but as a hypervigilant person I find it difficult to deal with especialy when it is loud rumbling

Delois
says:
September, 27 2014 at 5:06 am

I'm glad to know I'm not alone in this problem. I haven't been to church in a while and may not go back, unless I can change to a small, quiet church because ours has become so loud I can't stand it. Some people are wearing ear plugs, but I refuse to wear them in church. I have to wear them when we travel because my husband's snoring keeps me awake, and I always wind up with an earache. The sound of people smacking and slurping when eating really sets me off inside, as do many other sounds that most people don't mind. Unlike so many, I don't like to listen to music unless it's something I've chosen to play, and I don't like to hear even my favorites do several songs in a row, preferring a mix of singers. I love to sing at church, or used to when I could hear myself and the person next to me, and I play several instruments, but I usually don't like to just listen when I'm not participating. I guess mine must be a mental problem! But it's very real and makes my life miserable.

Linda Wooster
says:
October, 3 2014 at 1:32 pm

From studying the field of nutrition for many years I have learned that a lack of B vitamins (which make for a healthy nervous system) can cause noise sensitivity, irratability, and stress. B vitamins are plentiful in whole grains (or concentrated in wheat germ or brewers yeast -- added to a smoothie). Often after taking a high-level multi-B vitamin tablet (even after a few hours) one can become more relaxed and calm. Might it at least be worth a try?

James
says:
October, 20 2014 at 9:52 am

It is reassuring to know others are affected by this. Lots of noises get to me and it debilitates me to the extent I cant think. The result is it makes me angry and depressed.
I`m sure it is some how related to being on alert, and the fight or flight mode. People not using door handles drives me mad, letting doors slam.
Eating with mouth open, chewing gum, general mouth noises jeeeeeezzzzzz!
Worryingly, it rules my life to the extent I only feel calm when I know there is nobody about....man being an Island n all that. :(

James
says:
October, 20 2014 at 9:25 am

Also I wonder if it has anything to do with retreating. If you are overwhelmed with the world, depressed or anxious.
As an anology; say +100 down to 0 is active and a `go get em` look at the world. And 0 to -100 is a `I`m reacting not acting` view.
So the guy who stamps over everyone and does what he wants is at +100. When you become more aware of your actions and considerate and at the same time aware of other`s actions, then you are at 0 on the scale. If you cant understand or seem to resolve issues and are waiting on the actions of others then you slip further down the scale, as you become more and more resentful of their behaviours.

So because you are in this rut you then get pushed further and further into a corner. And at this point everything is magnified and more of an issue.

The reason I see it this way is that I house share, and one of the girls slams the doors, shouts on the phone, bangs around, eats with her mouth open, doesn`t wash up, leaves the oven on for hours unattended etc etc.

I think it is magnified because I am still trying to be adult about it and be the bigger person, when all I want to do is yell, scream, shout and scare the **** out of her.
I pay the bills, fix things, clean and tidy, put the bins out, sort the garden etc etc while she does nothing.

So if I did what I wanted like her and made things difficult, then it would more than likely lessen the impact of her actions (or lack of them).
My feelings are that there is a massive element of injustice tangled in the noise disruption. Because your actions are actually reactions, and if they are the result of something negative then you stay in the aftershock of negative actions.....and if they do good then the same but in positive, which is all well and good but you are still at the mercy of whether that person is good or not.

The answer (I feel) is to listen to your natural calling, before all the conditioning of life rounds the corners off your real personality, and takes hold.
I think I have just answered something for myself here, I`m actually waiting for her to suddenly stop, go `what have I been doing`, realise the error of her ways and correct things and apologize.

So my destiny is in her hands at present. Having direction in life is imperative because if you don't know where you are going then you are actually going nowhere.
Being stuck and unsure of where you are heading in life brings on the Hyperacusis? You dont know which turning to take at the junction of life so you turn off the engine, and then start to notice things more. What do you guys think, is there anything in what I've said? I know I need to be more proactive and assertive to my needs and maybe that will help the noise issues etc. :0

Katie
says:
December, 6 2014 at 6:02 pm

i have never heard of noise sensitivity but after reading your post here i know i must have some form of it. my sensitivity is definitely linked to my anxiety. when my anxiety levels are high i cannot tolerate the sound of people chewing food or people breathing. it makes me very angry to the point i want to shout and curse (things i NEVER do). i also cannot tolerate crowds (inside or out) b/c the noise level sets something off in me and i feel highly agitated, short of breath and totally overloaded. to cope i have to leave the situation. i hate the sound of white noise and cannot tolerate background noises like tv or radio. so, i need to find a quiet place. often i stick ear buds in my ears to block out the sound of everything but my own breathing. i also have to check my thoughts and make sure i'm reign in the worry or anxious thoughts that kind of get out of control in these moments. i often pray too in these moments to gain some equilibrium. and, i also find the outdoors very soothing. so, i often escape to the river or the woods with my camera. after a couple of hours i often find myself feeling relaxed and well enough to return. i'm kinda relieved to know that this is not uncommon - noise sensitivity - it makes me feel more normal. thanks for the post!

Dorothea
says:
December, 28 2014 at 6:52 pm

Although I take medication for depression, and do consider myself highly sensitive to noise, I think I am pretty well adjusted; I just like things quiet, and that gets compounded when the noise that irritates me is coming from the lack of consideration of others. Yes, there is anger, but I do not believe it is my own anxiety disorder as much as a cultural/societal disorder that forces large populations to live in limited spaces with close proximity to others.

Brandon
says:
January, 23 2015 at 9:27 pm

I get angry to the point where I want to hurt the person making the noise. I don't think the listed symptoms apply to me so maybe I'm just insane? Haha but in all seriousness does anybody else feel trapped and have anger come over you like that?

Emily
says:
February, 18 2015 at 8:10 am

I took all the stuff out of a closet in my house, and made it into a "safe" area for myself. I have blankets and pillows, and when the noise gets to be too much, I go in there, lie down, and turn off the light. I often do breathing exercises to slow my breathing and relaxation exercises.

KT
says:
March, 14 2015 at 9:51 am

I feel angry and violent toward the source of the noise. I want to smash the washing machine. I want to scream 'just shut up!' at people who talk louder than they need to I work in a noisy office, but think I would be better in a remote monastery.

BD
says:
March, 16 2015 at 4:01 pm

I tend to stay home a lot because of this and work night shift to avoid so much chaos in my head due to noise.

Heidi
says:
March, 16 2015 at 5:02 pm

I have anxiety, ptsd and insomnia. I'm always sensitive to sounds but when my anxiety is high or I haven't slept well, I'm super sensitive to sound. I've used earbuds, noise canceling headphones and earplugs but sometimes I feel unsafe in complete silence so using headphones or earplugs can make things worse for me. I recently purchased a pair of filtering earplugs and they are great. They are good at just lowering the sound level instead of blocking it out completely. They reduce sounds by about 12 decibels whereas standard foam earplugs reduce sounds by between 20-30 decibels depending on which ones you buy. I am not a medical professional, I'm just offering a suggestion based on my experience. I suggest talking to your doctor before using earplugs.
http://www.getdubs.com is the website where you can learn about these earplugs. They are available on Amazon and many other sites.

Jayne hadley
says:
March, 16 2015 at 11:34 pm

i have this. I had my ears tested and i can hear really high pitched sounds (so high they stop the testing). Their advice was to use musicians earplugs to block electric sounds (fridges, lights etc). I also dont go to malls much. Unfortunatley my job is around a lot of machines, so i find myself irritable and snappy by the end of the day. I go to nature to debrief with nice sounds. And yes, music is the saviour also. Im not sure what the link to tmj is though? I have that too. Thanks for raising this.

Lisa
says:
March, 17 2015 at 1:48 am

I have this issue and am about to start a job where headphones are not an option. Any ideas for that? Employers are supposed to make accommodations, but I don't want to disclose my mental illness.

Brenda Ford
says:
March, 17 2015 at 5:51 am

Help me. I had no idea what was causing this, I can remember as a child getting anxiety when we returned from camping because of the noise. It is from noise I can not find the source of, noise I can not control, repeatative noises, high pitches,erratic sounds like heavy metal music. I don't seem to notice it if I am drunk which I no longer drink so...Early on my sister tied me to the piano stool, after dressing me up with a wig and makeup then shone a flood light in my face and played opera music. I thought that was the cause but....Oh could someone in Manitoba help me please!

amy
says:
March, 17 2015 at 8:06 am

The people I work with scream in each others faces I just want to walk up to them and tell them to shut the hell up!

Han
says:
April, 6 2015 at 11:51 pm

It's good to know other people have similar problems. I have ptsd which leads to hypervigilance, anxiety and stress. One way this manifests is by noise sensitivity which gets worse when overstimulated,lacking sleep or other stresses are added. Machine noises, building works, repetitive or sudden noises, music (especially people's headphones) etc cause irritation and stress. Can feel frightening at the time as I worry whether things will remain this way but it's helping to have therapy and meditation which helps to make me feel more in control of the emotions caused. Just got to remind myself of all the coping mechanisms and use them regularly. Hoping it gets better. All the best to all of you who are dealing with these stresses.

delores
says:
April, 7 2015 at 11:18 am

I'm new to the non-stop headaches, chanting in my head. I'm going to see a nurologist soon. I found out I have Lyme disease again, tmj,anxiety, depressed,sleep epna. I'm scared I've lost my balance, everyday chores and driving. What's happening to me

Star
says:
May, 8 2015 at 4:46 am

I have to carry a 2-way radio at work, and be available in case I am called. The problem is, when the conversational traffic is very heavy, my nerves start to get on edge and it makes me feel so irritated. I hate the noise! It's tough to concentrate at times, and tuning out the noise is impossible, because I have to be able to hear it if I'm the one being paged. I wondered if there was a disorder associated with this. Thanks for the place to vent and discuss!

Jayson
says:
May, 20 2015 at 3:26 am

Please do NOT use a fan at work. THAT could very well be the cause of someone else's torment. I have a neighbor in the cube next to mine that runs a small fan. It is rather loud - I can hear it NOW, over the music emanating from my headphones. I want to take it and throw it out the window.

Carla
says:
May, 24 2015 at 3:52 pm

Finding this article couldn't have come to my attention with more perfect timing. Just last night I went out to dinner with my roommates and had to get up and walk outside. For the first time ever though, I was able to explain why I hate going out to eat. I really could hear every tiny sound and every conversation in the room. It was extremely overwhelming. Today I read this. The second thing listed for possible causes, airbag deployment. I was involved in a pretty nasty car accident last April, so now I'm wondering, maybe? Maybe it's had more of an effect than I thought. I've recently been going to the doctor for severe migraines and feeling tired all the time. Blood work is normal except for low vitamin d. Hmm.. I'll definitely bring this with me to my next appointment. Thank you for the article. The world really is too loud!

Cc
says:
June, 1 2015 at 3:30 am

Some of you sound like you have misophonia which is what I have

Au
says:
June, 4 2015 at 6:34 pm

Although I don't believe I have Noise Sensitivity, I am, and always have been, ridiculously hyper-aware of background noises. It is as if the foresound-what I'm calling the sound I should be focused upon-and the backsounds are fighting for dominance. I will watch a film with headphones, for instance, and hear just as loudly as the scene upon the screen, the television from the other room. If I turn my volume up, which I don't prefer to do, the television in the other room gets just as loud. Funnily enough, when I go to confront them of their loud television, I am surprised to find they are watching at a relatively low volume. My mind only perceives the noise as loud if I leave the room. As one might imagine, it gets aggravating for both parties involved. I despise loud noises in general-loudness of all sorts really-but only background noise messes about like some sort of pesky younger sibling. Provoking you and then pretending it was completely innocent. I don't believe that is Noise Sensitivity, but it seems to be the closest relating term and this article does have good advice I might take. Because nothing's worked thus far. The background noise gets louder the more I try to block it out.

Andrea
says:
June, 18 2015 at 8:19 pm

So month or two ago I was talking to my psychiatrist about discovering Dr Elaine Arron's blog, The Highly Sensitive Person--There were so many things that struck a chord, I had to mention it to him. He said it sounded a lot like ADHD (which I was diagnosed with a few years ago), and when he did I recalled reading some very similar things in the books on ADHD I had researched after being diagnosed. After reading this post, I think I've sort of figured out a distinction of two similar and frequently-but-not-always-co-morbid issues with noise (which I've been trying to sort out for a while).

There are times when noises compete with noise, when my inattention is kicked up a notch, and during those times I need quiet, or at least something brown-noise-ish, like familiar classical music/nature tracks (without too many sudden movements), which my brain knows, so that my brain gets the support it needs to find a flow state. There are also times when I am in a noisy room with chattering around, and sometimes I am ok. Sometimes I jump from conversation to conversation, and sometimes I engage in a discussion and the competing noise fades more appropriately into the background. This is how the ADHD plays with noise processing, I think.

However, when my nervous system cranks up, which is frequently under circumstances that also worsen ADHD symptoms (both making it hard to differentiate as well as creating a feedback loop as my anxieties mount from trying to deal with the various ADHD fallout and then the irrational irritants muck with my focus and prevent flow), my sensory processing goes haywire. Loud is louder and normal is loud and quiet can be loud and all is painful and irritating, especially when the noise is sporadic and/or punctuated. My attitude turns to s**t and I have more and more trouble hiding how grossed out, anxious, and cranky I increasingly am. It's not just audio, but also olfactory and tactile. It's not just that all input is the same and it's hard to prioritize my focus; instead I am hyper aware and frequently have trouble with any sort of higher brain functions beyond my immediate need to alleviate/escape the pain. My anxiety hikes, and now that this has been a problem of increasing severity for some years, it is also general incredibly depressing. I am trapped, forced to confront how non-neurotypical I am and how hobbled I've become. This spirals down into all the different ways I now have cause to experience those feelings, over and over, and how it all just seems to be getting worse, not better.

It sucks.

With either of these, I can more frequently find myself dealing with the sensory input as the school year goes on (drama department), especially after a show run if I stay rested enough and eat my non-allergies, because pre-show can be pretty communal, yet I am forced to take care of business anyway. If I join in voluntarily and keep a balance between personal warmup and the group flow I do the best.

Other things that we do in my program probably help too--a lot of our warmups have meditative qualities to them, and exercise in general can help a bit if I have been taking care of myself.

And in order to keep my instrument at its best, I have to be healthy, because it is my connected body and mind that I need to do my work. For me that is a lot--I have a lot of allergies and digestive issues that make it difficult to keep inflammation down. I need appropriate sleep schedules to keep my body, nerves (both physiological system and mental states), appetite, and ADHD manageable-- and I need to take care of those last three to prevent the domino effect on my body that can happen. Unfortunately insomnia is a problem (another feedback looper, grr). And do also have sleep apnea, to boot. But mostly am just an idiot and/or too anxious by the time I start to get tired that I have trouble doing what I need to.

Tonight, for example, I was driven by weeks of poor sleep habits + interrupted sleep from the noises of my mother cleaning, which freak me the fuck out, especially when I can hear her cleaning my bathroom through the connecting wall--it's not only sporadic, punctuated, agressive noise, but she's also just invaded my territory and I know I will be faced with change and possibly the scents of detergent. She also might freak out at any moment from overwhelm and verbally attack me; the closer she is to where I am, the more on guard I am. And then it doesn't matter if she's clattering dishes in the sink across the house or dropping things around her bedroom or chewing food while watching tv (again, across the house). I am screwed and trapped, forced to avoidance, because risking getting in the way or bringing attention to myself is just asking to be told to do some sensorily-uncomfortable task and/or asking for a conflict if she's already hair-trigger anxious. Tonight our visiting relatives (the catalyst of the anxious thorough house cleaning) came for supper. While she put together supper I tried to sit with a guest and talk, but her clanging and clanking and pounding and clinking was just too much; I couldn't even produce complete coherent sentences. It probably didn't help that my ADHD med was in its wearing-off phase (which I find can be particularly sensitive) or that I hadn't eaten much today, either. Or that I'd had caffeine, which can worsen it, especially as it wears off, too. I rudely excused myself and abruptly ran to my room, shortly starting to search for my earplugs as the kitchen noises were still getting to me. The yelling for me to come to supper was terrible. I was in a panic until I found them. It wasn't even completely ready, so I ran out to the living room while people clinked and talked, searching for what to do when the world was too loud and finding this link. Supper was so-so, improved by earplugs, but still hard to focus on keeping up my end of the conversation. At least Most of the eating sounds were muffled by my talking and being forced to hear my own eating sounds in my head and my blood pounding along my eardrums. I only have to think about someone eating and I get the creepy crawlies, bringing tension into my back, shoulders, and jaw. My bro also has clicking TMJ, so there's that added irritant. It's yet another thing that makes me sad; I love my bro, but most of the time we run into each other it's in the kitchen, and/or when we hang out there are frequently snacks involved. So I see him less now. I see most people less now, even though I need to spend time with them to be happy.

It's all a balancing act that I've grown rather tired of trying to figure out, but in writing this I've noticed that while it has grown less ignorable over the years (and yes, was also worse after my car accident a few months ago) and possibly more painful, this year I've made some progress, I think. I'm still looking for answers, but between some basic self-care and my latest medication regimen (or near-regimen) I find pockets where I can deal, and sometimes not even be too affected. It's a start, I guess.

Kathy
says:
July, 1 2015 at 3:45 am

Hi I find that children shouting or babies screaming gets me angry allso loud talking and laughing in pubs makes me angry. my friends are allways saying it doesent bother them.
Think I must be going insane as when I mention it to people thay think I am mad.

Davidcn
says:
July, 14 2015 at 12:19 pm

bipolar with tmj,, what about tinnitus >> no mention of and the RINGING NEVER ENDS

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