Noise Sensitivity: When The World Is Too Loud
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
- ear damage
- 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.
Kipp, P. (2013, December 27). Noise Sensitivity: When The World Is Too Loud, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, July 20 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/recoveringfrommentalillness/2013/12/when-the-world-is-too-loud-noise-sensitivity
Author: Paulissa Kipp
There have been times that I could just jump in front of the subway because it would mean that I would no longer feel jittery from loud music coming from a colleague's cubicle. I'm not normally anxious and am not at all depressed or suffering from PSTD or anything else like that, so thought I must just be crazy (not to mention annoying to any friends and family who I ask to turn down the noise or lower the volume on their talking.
I guess misery really does enjoy company, as the expression goes, as I feel better that I am not the only one with this problem (and that I don't have the worst case of it). My heart goes out to everyone who has posted here. I do hope that one day we can get the people who don't understand this terrible ailment to understand it.
BTW: in my case the combo of ear plugs and noise cancelling headphones don't help as they muffle everything except the higher pitched sounds, and those are what bother me the most.
It's not easy to find ways of coping, but never let anyone make you feel that you 'shouldn't' be like this. I was born like it. I'm not being awkward or dramatic. It's a disability, and therefore my responsibility to find some way of living with it. But dear God, yes, sometimes you just want to take a gun and shoot everything that makes a noise :)
After years of not knowing why I am so damn sensitive to certain acoustic frequencies, I have finally gotten to the bottom of it. I have found out the reasoning as to why and how this occurs. First I must declare to you that YOU DO NOT HAVE ANY PROBLEM! It’s impaerative to understand that.
What may seem to be a problem is merely the phenomena of anxiety that the mind keeps amplifying, not knowing why it can be so unbearable, not knowing how come it seems to be that only “I seem to have this problem” while anyone who is around us seems not to be bothered by it. This anxiety that is taken place in our mind pressures us to find a solution.
So in reality what happens is twofold:
- We experience the phenomena of sharp concentrated sound to be extremely disturbing. ( this is pure physical reaction that stems from our particaulr mechanism or our particular genetic disposition)
- The mind is reacting to the phenomena by projecting fears (aka mental anxieties) in order to create pressure for us to do something about it, to find a solution. It wants to know: “when this will be over? Tell me now! Do something about it. When this will be over?” And it goes on and on until one loses it. And once we find out we can’t do anything about it, the aggravation, potential rage and anger are all increased.
As you can see this is a double edge sword.
What I have found out on myself is the following:
I have gone deep deep into my genetic code ( possible through the knowledge of the Human Design system) and have discovered that my “ailment” is simply a disposition. It is not a malady. It is not a problem. It is not a curse. Even though our modern age, led by the vast explosion of industrialism, we have had an explosion in the “new” type of frequencies generated by “artificial” bodies such as tools, machines, vehicles and the myriad combinations of them all. In other words there are so much artificial noise around us. It is not something that I can bet was a problem a 100 years ago. Basically what I am trying to convey is that my natural disposition for an environment is where the sound in that environment is diffused. Now this is very important to understand. A diffused sound is not necessarily lower in volume even though it fills big part of it. I can get irritated by listening to someone whispering next to me. Or neighbors talking across the wall. Or base sounds from music, and any sharp concentrated sounds that are created by honking, shouting, squeaking, construction and what not.
However the sound of passing cars for example or white noise, have never bothered me as they are diffused by nature and therefore does not instill any aggravated reaction.
To conclude: we have a genetic disposition for a specific environment. This is not geographical per se, but rather the nature of an environment.
In addition, I have several genetic imprints in places that are directly connected to my hearing ability which in plain language means that I am very sensitive to acoustic frequency of any nature.
Right when I had found out that my natural and healthy disposition for a diffused sound environment, I immediately purchased a few packs of silicon made ear plugs ( I use Mack’s brand that can be found in every major retail store. They cost around $3.50/pack and they come with 6 pairs) that I have worn for a year now. This has improved my life quality tremendously as it simply takes off all that edge. The remarkable thing is that I wear them almost everywhere. Where most of us use it for sleep, what I have learned is that wearing it while being awake, and using is while interacting normally in life as we do, has been a rewarding experience. You can still hear other people talking. You can hear a conversation and be engaged in it and yet have a sense of ease and detachment ( even though it is not the more accurate for describing it). It is luminous to see how much frequency and the nature of frequency has so much impact on our lives. To truly grasp that ‘frequency’ is the base for all creation however to experience it in this manner and to see the difference is an eye opener to the nature of being and how intricate and marvelous our bodies are.
It would be very helpful to gather data from other people who suffer from the same phenomena. It will help substantiate my understanding of how these things works and potentially take us out of the dark on this matter cause I know how it feels when you feel you are all alone with this and no one understands you.
If you feel like contributing your data for this research or to share your thoughts or ask questions, I invite you to get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Good luck to you with your sound diffusion...:)
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge...'' It is too simple what we make complicated. We do not need a building/temple/monument/statues/beads, etc., we need only faith, humility to pray to a Higher Power Yeshua or The Father YHWH [One in Same], creating a relationship...The Word [Amplified King James Bible] is like another connection to wisdom; 'seek and you will find, ask and you will receive - seek first The Kingdom of YHWH - and all shall be added upon you...delight yourself in YHWH and all shall be added upon you...'' wait and see.
It is literally scary reading what you wrote; it is bizarre, not spiritual. I hope with counseling you come to realize this, and find a way to be genuinely spiritual without the psychosis.
I do have epilepsy, although well-controlled with medication. I am curious to know if the above reference are the noises that TRIGGER a seizure or if it is just a generally high sensitivity level for those with epilepsy.
I also have to wear cotton in my ears to drown out the noise and also the nonstop ear pain
I've got now where I only want to be in my own little bubby and that made working impose
I even had a boss company non stop to the other works because u voice would carry and I talked to loud to block out to the noise
Loud noises have always bothered me; however, now that I am a senior citizen, I absolutely cannot tolerate noise. So, I avoid large stores, especially since most modern parents make no effort to control their children. Whenever I walk into a store or restaurant and hear a child/children crying/screaming, I turn around and walk out. I absolutely cannot stand it. It hurts my ears and makes me seek a quiet area. Why can people not realize that no one wants to hear their screaming child? And that it actually makes some people sick!!