Noise sensitivity is known as Hyperacusis in medical terms. This is a condition that makes it hard for an individual to handle loud sounds. For some people, noise can be a nuisance and make them feel more stressed especially when they are in a healthcare facility or in other important situations. How to deal with noise sensitivity? There are several ways for you to deal with the bothering noise such as listening to music or by using a volume button for your ears.
Noise Sensitivity Vs. Noise Phobia
Many people are confused about the difference between noise sensitivity and fear of noise. Let us first differentiate the two before we proceed. Noise sensitivity is a hearing disorder where loud sounds are unbearable to hear. The fear of noise, on the other hand, also known as phonophobia is an anxiety disorder where the person reacts intensely and irrationally due to his fear of noises.
Causes Of Hyperacusis
The purpose of our ears is to detect sound vibrations. However, the brain of people with noise sensitivity reacts differently than normal hearing. The sounds become exaggerated and intense causing you discomfort.
In most cases, Hyperacusis develops due to certain health conditions and diseases. Below is a list of the most common causes of noise sensitivity:
- Injury in the head caused by accidents.
- Bell’s palsy where certain nerves in your ears or face are infected by a virus.
- TMJ disorder
- Lyme disease
- Headaches caused by a migraine
- Williams syndrome
- Epileptic disorders
- Tay-Sachs disease
- Frequent intake of Valium
- Damaged ears due to medication side effects.
- Anxiety and depression
- Facial or jaw surgery
Hearing loud sounds all the time also causes noise sensitivity. Sounds like fireworks and gunshots also trigger the condition in a certain way.
The sensitivity towards noise can affect your quality of life. It’s important to know its symptoms so you can handle the condition early on:
- Ordinary sounds seem too loud and distorted
- Your own voice sounds irritating to you
- Running water, rushing air, or other natural sounds bother you
- Loud noises cause you discomfort
Deal With It
Noise sensitivity can be quite invasive and annoying at the same time. Loud sounds might cause discomfort and affect your performance at work or school. Learn how to deal with noise sensitivity by considering these tips below.
Caring for a sound-sensitive person
- If you are caring for someone with noise sensitivity, warn them beforehand. Planning to go to an amusement park? Let them know that the place is packed with screams, fireworks, and loud music. Tell them what to expect so they can prepare themselves for what’s to come.
- Provide protection. Tools that block off sound are especially useful for children with sound sensitivity. Earplugs and headphones can protect them from noises and loud sounds.
- Set boundaries. Living with a sound-sensitive person means that you will need to be more careful with how you play music, television, and games. Minimize the volume as much as possible to prevent triggering them.
- Explain safety sounds to them. The sound of a siren and emergency drills is mostly confusing to a child who’s sensitive to noise. However, they must be aware of the importance of these sounds for their own safety.
- Consider quiet environments. It’s hard for people with noise sensitivity to live normally just like everyone else. So in order for them to not feel left out, invite them to quiet places where they can still join in some activities. Volunteering in libraries, walking on uncrowded beach shores, and a short trip to the forest are just some of your many options.
- Take supplements. It’s been discovered that people with hyperacusis typically lack magnesium and other essential nutrients. Ask a doctor about the best supplements to alleviate noise sensitivity.
- Don’t overprotect yourself. Every time you block the sounds that bother you, the more you elicit fear towards hearing a noise. When this fear develops, you will be more irritated by the sounds around you. This will then lead to a much more severe case of sensitivity.
- Expose yourself. The best way to deal with the annoying sounds is by listening to them from time to time. Instead of avoiding the discomfort, make yourself familiar with it as you will eventually learn how to tolerate the sounds.
- Talk to a specialist. For medical treatments, it would be best to consult a medical professional regarding your condition. Apart from prescriptions to help you relax, therapies such as Tinnitus retraining therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy might be recommended. For people that are anxious due to medical tools noise, there are practitioners that can help them overcome their fear. Click here to visit their site.
- Minimize your stress exposure. You are more vulnerable to sounds if you are feeling anxious and stressed. You can avoid this by doing precautionary to prevent stressing yourself out.
- Join support groups. It would help to know that you are not alone in suffering from noise sensitivity. Get help and advice from different people who are experiencing the same dilemma as you. You may opt to join organizations or groups that deal with sound sensitivity. Uplifting words of encouragement from strangers can help you get through it.
Hyperacusis Retraining Therapy. This type of treatment aims to help the patient cope up with noise and sounds. The training is composed of two approaches which are counseling and acoustic techniques. The objective of the counseling approach is to help them find techniques to make the sounds more bearable. The acoustic approach is designed to lessen their sensitivity to sounds by exposing them to pink noises.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy. It is easier to deal with noise sensitivity if the patient can manage their symptoms of anxiety. This therapy is used to treat various phobias and anxiety problems. Its main goal is to help the person self-manage their emotions, reactions, and skills when it comes to coping with stress.