How do you cope with phonophobia?

Migraine Awareness Month #14 Temple Grandin: “A school bell sounded like a dentist drill going through my ears”: Many of us have wondered to ourselves, must you live so loudly? How do you cope with phonophobia (noise sensitivity)

Migraine and hearing

I am far more photophobic and phonophobic I’ll say that… because I’m always photophobic but noise sensitivity definitely is during a migraine sort of thing and it can be a phenomenon that can be worse for some migraines than others.

I find it insane at times how some sounds can be so bothersome when they are actually not even loud. I have a huge problem with the sounds of plates touching. So when I have to put the dishes away it makes me wince when they touch and clank, so I make a huge effort to put them away Gently. My spouse sometimes will be putting them away and in The Other Room, I’m like why is he being so Loud. He obviously isn’t and I know he isn’t but it is seriously painful. Thankfully I can usually get them put away before he gets home and do the torturous task done myself… with infinite slowness.

We have a neighbor who has a leaf blower that he uses… I’m not sure what he uses it for… to blow the leaves back and forth I expect given how often he uses it and how little trees we have around here. That damn thing drives me nuts. And I don’t care how hot it is I will close every window when he goes at it for hours with that damn infernal thing. I’ve thought about sabotaging it to be honest. Or lighting it on fire. If it is sweltering in here when he does it I just hide in the basement. It is worse than someone mowing their lawn, which is bothersome but not That insane or close.

I also don’t like vibrations and bass that I can feel in my ribcage or brain…. even when the vehicle blasting their music or doesn’t have a muffler is blocks away. But such is life. Yet when I have an acute migraine I sometimes actually like listening to some music with bass or techno on my iPod loudly as it seems to distract me from the pulse of my head, or pulses with my head maybe but clearly that is on days where high pitches are annoying, not low. And high pitches can be very painful to me…. sometimes a child makes a noise and I cringe and I think maybe it is a good thing I can’t have kids. And the child may be just making a little fuss or just being exuberant… but have to really try hard not to react in pain to the sound as it reaches that certain pitch. Anyway when a small dog barks I think ‘Man that high pitched bark is horrible and grating and I wish he would shut the hell up’ and then a large dog barks the next day and I think ‘Man that deep bark is horrible and grating and I wish he would shut the hell up.’ And I think… good thing I have cats clearly. Maybe I could get a malamute though. I find it possible to use different types of music to relax and this does help a bit. And my house is generally kept pretty quiet. Although, ironically, my spouse finds it funny how loud I listen to the TV at times because I have to drown out other noises… I cannot segment very well one noise from another to listen to a TV if he is running the bath or the dishwasher is going… or on days where my hearing is just ‘muffled’ instead of sensitive.

The phonophobia can be just painful. I have not gone to a concert in a long time. I can go to a regular bar but go to a dance bar… it grates on me Fast… the lights, the noise of people and the loudness of the music plus the insane thump of bass… it isn’t a fun environment. It seems to trigger vertigo and also that inability to focus on conversation and sort out sounds. Like in a crowd of people… I cannot sort out the sounds, it is all too loud and I cannot understand the person in Front of me. So sort of avoid those sorts of places, to be honest.

But you know there is another chronic migraine symptom that makes me unable to enjoy Silence as well. And that is tinnitus. So I have to sleep with the radio on at all times because that ringing in the ears drives me nuts if that is all I hear.

June 2013, Migraine and Headache Awareness Month, is dedicated to Unmasking the Mystery of Chronic Headache Disorders. The 2013 Migraine and Headache Awareness Month Blog Challenge is a project of


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