Why do i hate loud noises

What Is Phonophobia or the Fear of Loud Noises?

  • If you have phonophobia — also called sonophobia — loud noises can feel overwhelming and cause panic and anxiety.
  • Phonophobia is not linked to any type of hearing disorder but may be more likely if you have anxiety or are on the autistic spectrum.
  • Treatment approaches include exposure therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and relaxation techniques.

Loud noise, especially when unexpected, can be unpleasant or jarring for anyone. If you have phonophobia, your fear of loud noise may be overwhelming, causing you to panic and feel extremely anxious.

Fear of loud noise is referred to as phonophobia, sonophobia, or ligyrophobia. This condition is not caused by hearing loss, or any type of hearing disorder.

Phonophobia is a specific phobia. Specific phobias are an extreme, irrational fear of situations or objects that do not warrant that intense a reaction.

Like all phobias, phonophobia is a treatable anxiety disorder. It is earmarked by an overwhelming dread of loud noise.

A person with this condition may experience deep distress about a loud noise they know is coming, as well as by an unexpected loud noise.

Loud noises can be unpleasant and uncomfortable. Rare is the person who enjoys an incessant car alarm, or shrieking ambulance siren. Some loud noises, such as those made by fireworks, may be more easily tolerated since they’re associated with pleasant things. These are experiences most people can relate to.

However, if you have phonophobia, you will experience a highly intense reaction to any type of loud noise, no matter what its association or cause.

People with this condition feel deep stress and anxiety when they anticipate loud noise. They also have extreme reactions to loud noises, once they occur.

Phonophobia differs from other conditions that have discomfort to sound as a symptom. These include:

  • Hyperacusis. This condition is not a phobia. Rather, it is a hearing disorder that causes sounds to feel louder than they actually are. Hyperacusis has a number of causes, including brain injury, Lyme disease, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
  • Misophonia. This condition is emotional in nature, but is not a phobia. People with misophonia have intense, emotional reactions, such as hatred or panic, to a specific sound, such as a dripping faucet or a person snoring. The sound does not have to be loud to produce this effect.

The symptoms of phonophobia may make it hard to enjoy everyday activities and daily life. A person with this condition may experience these symptoms in anticipation of loud noise, while it is occurring, or afterwards. They include:

  • anxiety
  • fear
  • breaking into a sweat
  • shortness of breath
  • pounding heart or increased heart rate
  • chest pain
  • dizziness
  • lightheadedness
  • nausea
  • fainting

Phobias of all types can occur in children, as well as in adults. If your child has a severe reaction to loud noise, seeing an audiologist can help you determine if they have phonophobia or an auditory condition such as hyperacusis.

The symptoms of both of these conditions may appear similar in children. Your child may become very distressed by sounds that do not seem overly loud to you. They may cover their ears, become afraid, or try to get away from the sound.

People with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may sometimes have a fear of loud noises. This reaction can be caused by several underlying factors, including heightened anxiety, sensory sensitivity, or both.

Kids and adults with ASD may experience fear in anticipation of a loud noise that they associate with an unpleasant event.

Those with sensory issues may have hypersensitivity to sound, which causes them to hear things much louder than they actually are. Children with ASD have been known to compare the sound of raindrops to bullets.

In addition, there is some evidence that phobias of all types are common among those on the spectrum.

Phonophobia is a mental health condition that can manifest at any age. Like all specific phobias, its exact cause is not completely understood.

It may be caused by genetic factors. People with a family history that includes anxiety disorders may be more prone to this condition.

Phonophobia may also be caused by external factors, such as a history of long-term childhood trauma, or, a single traumatic incident. In autistic children and in some other children, the traumatic event may seem extreme, but is not actually so. For example, suddenly hearing everyone loudly yell surprise at a birthday party.

In some instances, phonophobia may also be a symptom of another condition. These include:

  • migraine headaches
  • Kleine-Levin syndrome
  • traumatic brain injury

If your fear of loud noises is interfering with your ability to function or enjoy life, a doctor, such as a therapist, will be able to help you.

Your doctor will diagnose your condition by asking you questions about your symptoms and triggers. Your medical, social, and psychological history will be discussed.

In order to determine if what you have is a specific phobia, your doctor will use the diagnostic criteria established in the new edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).

Finding help for fear of loud noises

You can find a licensed professional, such as a psychologist or psychiatrist, through these organizations and associations:

  • American Psychiatric Association
  • Anxiety and Depression Association of America
  • Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies

There are several types of therapy that are used to treat phobias. Fear of loud noise may be treated through:

  • Exposure therapy (systematic desensitization). This is a type of psychotherapy (talk therapy). It uses guided and repeated exposure to the source of your fear. Exposure therapy can be done on an individual basis, or in groups. It can be very effective for the treatment of all types of specific phobias.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). This is a type of psychotherapy that’s also highly effective for the treatment of specific phobia. It uses some elements of exposure therapy, combined with techniques that help you alter negative thoughts and behaviors.
  • Relaxation techniques. Activities such as meditation can also help, especially when combined with other treatments.

Therapy with a mental health professional is usually all it takes to help people with phonophobia. Sometimes medications may be prescribed in conjunction with (or instead of) psychotherapy. These include anti-anxiety medications and beta blockers that help reduce the symptoms caused by panic attacks.

If you recognize that you have phonophobia, you have already taken the first step towards conquering it. Phonophobia is a highly treatable condition. It will take work on your part to get past your fear, but positive and powerful results may not take as long to achieve as you may think.

Exposure therapy and CBT can help you experience significant reductions in phobic reactions within 2 to 5 months.

Phonophobia (fear of loud noise) is a highly treatable, specific phobia. This condition can occur in childhood or in adulthood. Therapeutic treatments can be very effective for eliminating or reducing phonophobic reactions. They include exposure therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy.

In some instances, medication can also help alleviate the anxiety caused by this condition.

What Is Misophonia?

Written by WebMD Editorial Contributors

In this Article

  • What Happens?
  • How Do You Get It?
  • How Do You Treat It?

Do certain daily sounds trigger an over-the-top emotional reaction, but yet don’t seem to bother anyone else?

This is the case with misophonia -- a strong dislike or hatred of specific sounds.

What Happens?

Misophonia is a disorder in which certain sounds trigger emotional or physiological responses that some might perceive as unreasonable given the circumstance. Those who have misophonia might describe it as when a sound “drives you crazy.” Their reactions can range from anger and annoyance to panic and the need to flee.  The disorder is sometimes called selective sound sensitivity syndrome.

Individuals with misophonia often report they are triggered by oral sounds  -- the noise someone makes when they eat, breathe, or even chew. Other adverse sounds include. keyboard or finger tapping or the sound of windshield wipers. Sometimes a small repetitive motion is the cause -- someone fidgets, jostles you, or wiggles their foot.

Similarly, people with misophonia also say they often react to the visual stimuli that accompanies sounds, and may also respond intensely to repetitive motions. Researchers believe that those with misophonia may already have issues with how their brains filter sounds and that one of the features of “misophonic sounds” may be their repetitive noise. That repetition then exacerbates the other auditory processing problems.

The disorder appears to range from mild to severe. Individuals report a range of physiologic and emotional responses, with accompanying cognitions. If you have a mild reaction, you might feel:

  • Anxious
  • Uncomfortable
  • The urge to flee
  • Disgust

If your response is more severe, the sound in question might cause:

  • Rage
  • Anger
  • Hatred
  • Panic
  • Fear
  • Emotional distress

The disorder can put a cramp in your social life. Those with the misophonia have been known to develop anticipatory anxiety when going into situations where trigger sounds may be present. You might avoid restaurants or eat separately from your spouse, family, or roommates.

Over time, you may also respond to visual triggers, too. Seeing something that you know may create the offending sound may elicit a response.

How Do You Get It?

The age of the onset of this lifelong condition is not known but some people report symptoms between the ages of 9 and 13. Misophonia is more common with girls and comes on quickly, although it doesn’t appear to be related to any one event.

Doctors aren’t sure what causes misophonia, but it’s not a problem with your ears. They think it’s part mental, part physical. It could be related to how sound affects your brain and triggers automatic responses in your body.

Because your ears are normal and your hearing is OK, the doctor may have trouble with a diagnosis. Misophonia is sometimes mistaken for anxiety or bipolar or obsessive-compulsive disorder. Some doctors think it should be classified as a new disorder.

Often doctors are unaware of the condition, and there is no consensus in regard to classification. Misophonia appears to occur on its own and also along with other health, developmental and psychiatric problems.  

A breakthrough study recently found that misophonia is a brain-based disorder. Researchers point to a disruption in the connectivity in parts of the brain that process both sound stimulation and the fight/flight response. It also involves parts of the brain that code the importance of sounds.

How Do You Treat It?

The condition does affect daily life, but you can learn to manage it.

Treatment often involves a multidisciplinary approach combining sound therapy by audiologists and supportive counseling in which coping strategies are emphasized.

You might try a device like a hearing aid that creates a sound in your ear similar to a waterfall. The noise distracts you from triggers and reduces reactions.

Other treatments include talk therapy.

Your lifestyle also plays a role. Get regular exercise, plenty of sleep, and manage your stress. You can also wear ear plugs and headsets to tune out sounds. Set up quiet areas or safe spots in your home where no one will make the noises that bother you.

And find support. The Misophonia Association is based in Oregon and California, and holds a yearly convention for suffers. The International Misophonia Research Network Misophonia-Research. com is a resource for doctors and researchers interested in learning more about misophonia. Misophonia International.com  offers free resources, such as handouts for parents, and webinars in association with Duke University for those in the U.S., Canada and U.K.

Finally for those in the U.K. who are looking for support and research reports, try www.allergictosound.com

You can also find online and social media groups where people share coping strategies.

I can't stand the noise | PSYCHOLOGIES


Know Yourself

At the same time that I'm working on this piece, the issue is being handed over, and behind my back the designers are discussing the intricacies of politics, and at the next table a colleague is talking to the editor-in-chief. Concentrating in such conditions is simply unthinkable! But this happens every month. I endured a year, and then I realized that this would not change, and recently I bought headphones with large “ears” so as not to disturb others. Now I am writing while listening to Bach. To be honest, I would prefer complete silence, but since this is impossible, then between the excited voices and the Musical Offering, I choose the latter.

Olga, 45 years old

The conversation of fellow travelers in the subway, the barking of a dog outside the window, a party at a neighboring dacha - all this instantly infuriates 36-year-old Lyubov. “I am extremely irritated,” she admits. “This noise absorbs my thoughts, everything else seems to cease to exist for me, and only this sound torture remains.”

I have heightened hearing

Different people perceive sounds differently. Some of us will walk past a working jackhammer without wincing, while others will twitch at the slamming of the closed door.

“Some people have heightened hearing,” explains otolaryngologist Elena Fedotova. This phenomenon is called hyperacusis, or increased hearing acuity. Their inner ear is more developed than others. But sounds can cause severe discomfort, annoy and even hurt those who, on the contrary, have hearing loss.

I feel defenseless

“A sound that we didn't order can involuntarily be perceived as an intrusion into our inner territory, as a threat to our peace of mind or our way of life,” explains family psychologist Inna Shifanova. “It triggers our physiological flight-or-fight response.

Pulse and respiration become more frequent, muscles tense involuntarily, perspiration increases. Our attention is focused on the source of danger - this is also part of our instinctive program, which is why it is so difficult for us to distract ourselves from this sound. If at the same time we can neither escape nor fight, then we experience this situation as a state of complete helplessness. It intensifies if the sounds cause unpleasant associations.

“We are especially annoyed by those that we associate with a value system alien to us,” says psychotherapist and neuroscientist Beatrice Milletre. So, an elderly person, most likely, will hardly endure the rap that his grandson listens to. The grandson can be annoyed by the recording of Ruslanova's songs.

According to the psychotherapist, this trend is generally characteristic of our era: “We live in a society that is developing in an individualistic direction much more strongly than ever before. Everyone believes that the world should adapt to him.

I let off steam

“When we are happy, it's hard to piss us off and we don't even notice many obstacles,” reminds Inna Shifanova. “However, if we are tired, upset, or have difficulty achieving inner balance, an extraneous sound can unsettle us. And the irritation that we feel about this absorbs the energy of our dissatisfaction with everything else.

The paradox is that this same situation gives us a chance to regain confidence in our own strength - by expressing our anger or doing something to protect ourselves from unwanted noises.

What to do?

Visit an otolaryngologist

“Increased sensitivity to noise can be a symptom of incipient deafness,” cautions Elena Fedotova. She advises getting an examination, and also emphasizes the importance of respecting hearing: "Too loud music, working in conditions of constant high level noise can damage the inner ear, but it does not recover." As you know, prevention is better than cure.

Think protection

“Try to create the right sound environment for yourself, change it according to the mood and the moment,” suggests Beatrice Milletre. “Pick up some nice music, put on a CD with nature sounds, use double-glazed windows and even earplugs.”

Consider the context

“We respond to the situation as a whole, not just to a specific stimulus,” emphasizes Inna Shifanova. - The howl of a car alarm under the windows will annoy you much more if you have just entered this apartment and found a lot of flaws in it than if you have lived there for a long time and, in addition, sympathize with the neighbor who owns the car. Treat your irritation as an occasion to analyze the situation and think about what and how to change for the better.

Photo source: Getty Images

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Painful perception of sounds

Most of us are quite calm about loud noises, if they do not annoy too often and do not reach the level at which sound vibration causes pain. We may experience negative emotion, be indignant, or even try to influence the source of the loud noise, but nothing more. At the same time, there is a whole category of people for whom even a not very loud or sharp sound is categorically unacceptable and can cause not only irritation, but also anger, as a result of the resulting sonic boom.

Such painful perception of loud sounds of the surrounding world is called hyperacusis or acousticophobia. Although this condition is not a disease, the inconvenience caused does not contribute to a fulfilling life. Some highly sensitive people may even develop neurotic disease states due to the discomfort caused by such sounds.

Any familiar sound can become an irritant - the voices of children, the noise of cars, the hum of a vacuum cleaner, clapping, etc. As for sharp and loud sounds, for example, the sound of a working hammer drill, a chainsaw, a car signal, they can cause not only inconvenience or irritation, but real pain. It is even worse for a person whose acousticophobia develops to the stage when irritation arises already from the slightest sounds - quiet music, the buzz of insects, breath sounds or the slightest rustles.

It is also worth noting such a phenomenon as misophonia, which differs from hyperacusis in that only certain sounds are painfully perceived, which do not cause a similar reaction in other people. It should be understood that the aggression and hatred of misophonics are caused not by the usual sound stimuli, for example, squeaking foam on glass, a leaky dripping faucet, the squeal of car brakes, and the most harmless ones - a person can react extremely negatively even to the sound of steps, a knock on the door, human speech and etc.

Causes of painful perception of sounds

The human nervous system is arranged in such a way that in response to any functional impairment, it activates compensation mechanisms. In our case, in order to compensate for hearing loss due to any ailments or diseases of the auditory system, she tries to increase the volume of sounds, which can cause acousticophobia and misophonia. As for the causes of hearing impairment, the most common of them are the following: