Hearing Disorders: How to Deal With Noise Sensitivity
We’re all susceptible to noise to varying degrees. An empathic person, however, may find even moderate noise levels overwhelming. The fact that most people can’t even hear those sounds adds another layer of difficulty to living with extreme sensitivity. Because of this, you may be labelled as demanding or finicky. This is incredibly frustrating in workplace settings, where you can’t simply go.
Consider the inaudible hum of neon signs, the creaking of an air conditioner’s fan, or the ticking of an alarm clock. No one but you may notice that you’ve been backed up against the wall at work.
It is human nature to become irritated and short-tempered when overstimulated by sound. The charge of being “too sensitive” can be hurtful. The issue is that it is not optional. Think of yourself as a radio. A signal is received without making any operational decisions. However, you may arm yourself with information on how to deal with noise sensitivity and the constant din of the outside world.
To drown out distracting noises, use a white noise machine. Another approach is to listen to nature music. The calming and diverting sound of rain or waves is the ideal cure for the stresses of everyday life. Using this approach, you can “re-focus” your attention on the speaker.
Knobs can also be used to reduce background noise. With this aural volume control, you may tailor the degree of external stimuli to your preferences. Every day, the world around us becomes noisier. Unless you want to live the rest of your life in a ghost town, there is almost no way out. We can’t compel the cosmos to change to match our needs, so we must instead find ways to ignore the chaos around us. Investigate your sense of joy, meditate, and arm yourself with coping strategies.
An Explanation of the Most Common Hearing Disorders
Regarding sound sensitivity, the four most prevalent “disorders” are tinnitus, misophonia, phonophobia, and hyperacusis. We will provide a thorough breakdown of these disorders, as the distinctions between them might be bewildering.
Hearing loss might manifest as tinnitus. Tinnitus sufferers are constantly aware of background noise, even when no external source is present. Although hypertension and a number of infectious disorders can play a role, stress brought on by excessive background noise is the most common cause.
The constant ringing or buzzing that some people with tinnitus hear may differ from what others hear. A peep, whistle, buzz, grumble, or hammering sound are all possible.
After a night of clubbing, many people wake up with ringing or buzzing in their ears. This should serve as a severe caution to you. It indicates that you have suffered some degree of hearing loss. When this happens frequently, the results are permanent. That ringing in your ears is tinnitus.
It would be best if you didn’t risk hearing loss; therefore, it’s wise to take precautions. When using Knops, you may adjust the volume of the incoming sound so that it is right for you. If you think you could be experiencing tinnitus, it’s best to see a doctor right away.
Misophonia is more of a psychological than a physical ailment, as it does not cause physical damage to the ears. Those affected have a severe sensitivity to sounds like eating, swallowing, sniffing, and smacking. Reactions might range from mild irritation to outright hostility. Extreme cases might cause people to avoid specific social situations, which has a negative impact on their well-being.
Many questions remain unanswered about this health issue. Little is known about its prevalence or the most effective treatments because it is not recognised as a mental health disorder, and there are no agreed-upon diagnostic requirements for it. In some instances, earplugs are the only way to deal with the noise.
Phonophobia is the dread of (sudden) loud sounds, in contrast to misophonia, which focuses on the more subtle sounds. This is not related to hearing loss but to a different type of anxiety. We’re all a little taken aback by a loud noise every once in a while, but those with phonophobia are constantly on edge about being startled.
Observing someone inflate a balloon is another illustration. When a person with phonophobia sees a balloon, they may feel uneasy or even distressed since they know a loud noise will soon follow.
Extreme fear can cause symptoms including wanting to run away, sweating excessively, feeling sick, or even having a panic attack. While exposure therapy and cognitive behavioural therapy have been used successfully to help people overcome their phonophobia, there is currently no one-size-fits-all treatment. Together with prescribed medication, they can help alleviate stress and calm anxious feelings.
Reduced sound tolerance, or heightened sensitivity to everyday noises, is a hallmark of hyperacusis. The repercussions of this in a person’s daily life can be substantial. It can wreak havoc on a person’s professional life, social life, and mental stability. Even simple tasks like conversing, watching television, driving a car, or cleaning your house may appear difficult. The volume of one’s voice or that of one’s partner can be too much for some people to bear.
As a hyperacusis sufferer, you may experience the world as having an insufferably loud volume. Discomfort and stress can be triggered by loud, high-pitched sounds like sirens, babies wailing, and broken glass. Some people report feeling physical pain or fullness (pressure) in the ear, which can be very bothersome. Some people also have a smaller dynamic range of hearing and get tinnitus, which is a ringing in the ears, in addition to being more sensitive to sounds.
Effective Ways to Cope with Sound Sensitivity
Avoid using ear plugs excessively.
No matter how much you try to safeguard your hearing, stressful noises will continue to be a problem. People who have a phobia of loud or triggering sounds are more likely to isolate themselves, which makes the phobia’s effects even worse. Because of this, they may continue to feel overwhelmed by their emotions and unable to handle anything. The good news is that you can aid in noise reduction without completely isolating yourself.
Sometimes, like when mowing the lawn, it’s a good idea to wear ear protection such as ear defenders or regular earplugs. However, constant use will amplify your sensitivity to noise by preventing your ears from resting naturally. The optimal solution is to reduce background noise without completely shutting off the world. You can prevent your body from going into “fight or flight” mode by decreasing the sound level rather than eliminating it.
Redirect your attention
If you can, divert your attention from the annoying noise to something that also needs your total concentration but that you love doing. Solve the issue and prepare yourself for the next time noise is an issue. Having a friend or family member on hand to assist you in focusing on something other than the distracting sounds can be pretty valuable.
Recognize your stressors.
You can avoid situations that make you angry if you know what triggers your reactions. With noise-cancelling headphones or earbuds, you can tune out the world and focus on what you’re listening to. Try turning on the TV or radio at a low volume, using a white noise machine, or getting a white noise app for your phone to help your ears get used to the new noise level.