Some people come to life when they hear loud music. When they hear a buzzing street or a pumping beat, their hearts start to race. Others also feel a racing heart when confronted with noise, but not in a good way. Some people hate loud areas.
If you don’t get a kick out of festivals or clubs, that’s completely ok. It doesn’t mean you’re shy or boring, you’re probably just sensitive to noise (found out here if you are). When you deal with noise sensitivity the world is just too loud sometimes. The constant buzz and whir of music, technology, the buzzing of Facebook notifications, ringing phones, and loud conversations can be overwhelming.
Sometimes that overwhelming feeling can turn into dread. You avoid social gatherings. Loud areas become a mental health trigger. Sufferers may feel trapped with no escape, want someplace 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.
This sensitivity to noise is also known as hyperacusis: a condition that arises from a problem in the way the brain processes noise.
It doesn’t mean you have better hearing than others. It’s just that you’re more sensitive to certain sounds: paper rustling, conversations, heating and air system sounds. And that is why being in loud areas is far from nice!
Enlighten the burden
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.
There are different ways to enlighten the burden a bit.
• 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.
Whatever works for you, know that you’re not weird. Just a little sensitive – and that’s ok.
Good news for everyone with misophonia: there's a treatment
For people with misophonia, someone eating a salad sounds like a cow chewing in front of a microphone. It’s frustrating, but we might have some good news: Dutch researchers think they have found a solution. There's a misophonia treatment! Cognitive behavioral therapy might be the answer for people who have serious issues dealing with noise. When you’re living with misophonia, the man in the train breathes with more force than a motorcycle. It makes situations uncomfortable or sometimes even unbearable. It turns into anger, disgust, anxiety, and avoidance. Now The Journal of Affective Disorders published a trial where cognitive behavioral therapy