Intolerance to noise : Hi I am new to this site. I... - Headway


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Intolerance to noise

Hi I am new to this site. I had a stroke in 2015 which was a clot that caused a blockage in an artery in my brain and was left with mainly cognitive issues some worse than others. By far the most debilitating problems were fatigue and intolerance to noise.

I have made a very good recovery but still some effects remain including the noise issue and fatigue though on the whole greatly improved. Whilst noise intolerance is a recognised side effect of stroke, i've not come across many people who suffer with it.

Are there any members on this site who have or had issues with it ? If it's gone how long did it take to go? How does/did it affect you? How did you deal with it?

Thanks in advance.


22 Replies

I have hypercusis which is hyper sensitivity to noise. In situations where there is a lot of noise coming from various sources it is like one almighty painful sound hurting my brain. Also if I am in a social situation where various conversations are going on around me I can't focus or identify one person speaking to me. Plus I find the loudness of shows too much. I use noise restricting earplugs which still allow me to hear a conversation had directly with me but block out all the other background noise. They are great as well at shows or pantomimes etc because they still enable me to hear what is said but the loudness is dampened down to a tolerable level. I am 5 yrs on from acquiring my brain injury and it's seems it is an ongoing problem.

Where can I buy these "noise restricting earplugs"?

I think you can be referred by your GP to get assessed and specific ones identified for you. However, I brought mine after recommendation by someone else who had a similar problem. You can get ones for musician e.g. Drummers and they are moulded to fit you ear but they are quite expensive e.g. at least £300 pounds or more. I got mine from Amazon and I got children's ones because my ear canals are small ish and the adult ones too big to stay in or fit comfortably. Mine are Pluggerz for Kids and they are the 'travel' ones which have a noise filter in them. They are not ear plugs intended to block out all noise and I can still join in a conversation had direct to me. But they reduce the volume and somehow filter out all the back ground noise. I think they were about £15 and I found them brilliant when in noisy situations. Sometimes big chemiststores like Boots have them or they can be bought online.

I just looked on Amazon and they do similar adult ones for musicians. They filter rather than block sound.

Thank you

strawberry i buy the orange rubber industrial ones 10 for a £1 there brilliant

Are they ear plugs though because what I use isn't to block out all sound they just filter it so it's at a more manageable level. The filters means you can still hear a conversation had with you so would be good for socialising where there are a lot of people, or for example, I use them when we go to pantos or shows because I can still hear every word that's said but they lower the loudness particularly of the music and all the background noise around me is muted out. The're very clever!

Hello Rachel. I think you'll find that noise intolerance is extremely common amongst many members here. For me (after a brain haemorrhage 5 years ago) all types of noise, even overheard conversations in waiting rooms, tannoy announcements in supermarkets, grating voices of tv presenters etc.,etc. can send me into meltdown.

Some folk remedy the problem with the use of earplugs, which can soften unwanted noise whilst allowing essential sounds to filter through. I've become less tolerant with time I'm afraid but can usually manage to absent myself from noisy situations one way or another.

Noises I love to hear are the wind, rain and sound of the river as they mask the tinnitus sounds permanently inside my head ! x

Welcome to the club Rachel. Fatigue seems to be a very common after effect of a brain injury and poor tolerance to noise seems to be quite common.

Love n hugs


TBI 50 years ago; I'm as intolerant to noise now as I was immediately after the op.

I just try to ignore it, usually unsuccessfully. If I'm reading I have to put my book down. Its a bummer :(

Hi all thanks for the replies. My tolerance to noise has actually improved a great deal since my stroke. In the beginning I could stand barely any noise. The worst being adverts on TV. The first time I realised that excessive noise could bring on a fatigue attack was 3 weeks post stroke. Two motorbikes went roaring past and I felt like I'd been hit with a bucket of cold water.

My issue is that we're having a small extension built at work and though I'm only there 3 days a week, along with the general office noise which most of the time I can tolerate, the builder's noise is inducing severe fatigue. This past weekend was a complete washout and I felt like I'd been propelled back 8/9 months in recovery.

I've taken it up with management and certain measures are being put in place to minimise the effect including mp3 player with wave, rain, wind noises etc along with ear defenders and moving desks to far corner of the office.

I think unfortunately because I look disgustingly well it's easy for people to assume I'm recovered and especially after 'all this time'.

I wrote a poem about noise in my early months of recovery, I'll put it in the poetry section later.

Thanks for confirming that noise intolerance isn't something only I and a few others are suffering from.



steve55 profile image
steve55 in reply to

rachel mmmmm disgustingly well is the problem for non survivors, not realising our inner daily struggles.

my favourite saying used to be ...............but for the grace of god go i, now its......................not all disability is visible, saw that on a sticker on the back of a car, checked online and got one, maybe you could get one for your car and one for the office rachel.

even waitrose has put on their toilets

in reply to steve55

Hi Steve very thought provoking comments and so true. I find it quite amazing sometimes how dismissive some people can be despite trying to explain what's going on. I might have a look for the sticker thanks 😁

steve55 profile image
steve55 in reply to

my wife has one on her car, other drivers seem to get up close, see the sticker and fall right back again.

in reply to steve55

My first time on a bus post stroke and I got told off by a woman who looked like she was chewing a wasp for sitting in a disabled seat. Beggars belief my 1st time. I replied saying well not all disabilities warrant the use of a walking stick or wheelchair. She prattled on a bit to her friend so I then informed her I was recovering from a stroke not that it was any of her business. Her poor friend looked very embarrassed ...Bless

rachel im 5 years on 12 since my stroke and im still noise intollerant, which is why we moved 2 years ago and my wife didnt look forward to coming home.

where we live now is a lot quieter, although i still go to bed with ear plugs. these are orange rubber industrial standard 10 in a pack for a £1

41yrs after tbi I am still funny with noise. TV too loud has me pulling my head in to hide from it. I always loved music, had my mum's transistor radio under my pillows in hospital listening to radio Caroline. I can sit with headphones listening to 50,60+70s music full blast, but if anyone comes near me that I haven't heard, and they speak, or when something is dropped and broken, I nearly jump as high the table? and am reduced to tears with shock. When my fone rings I jump, strange things occur after a brain injury, we learn to live with them. xxx H

Thanks all for your replies. I've learnt an awful lot from your answers, like how common noise intolerance is when i thought it was only a select few and sadly how long it can last. I'll look into fixing an appointment with my GP and have a word.

It is only certain noises that really bother me now not everything like it was in the beginning but i do feel in the last week since i've had to cope with builder's noise that my tolerance has regressed a bit.

Thanks again xxx

Hi Rachel.

Yep noise or rather multi sensory overload is a big problem. I have a problem filtering the noise as well. It leads to stranget conversations in cafes when you end up switching to what a neigbouring table is talking about. Oh how they laughed...Not.

I have tried various things but now tend to avoid echoey places.

Must admit when I was first told that I suffered multi sensory stimulation I got rather excited. ..A parents it has nothing to do with 50 shades. Ah well can't have everything.

All the best.


in reply to paxo05

Hi Pax On the whole i tend to be able to manage the noise because i have routines and have learnt to avoid excess noise. My problem is at the moment we have builders in at work and there's not anywhere to go to get away from it though certain measures have been put in place to minimise the effect on me. One of the biggest hassles is actually getting people to understand the impact and that you're not just making a fuss. I like your sense of humour. LOL

paxo05 profile image
paxo05 in reply to

Hopefully the builders will soon be gone. As for humour..It's better to laugh than cry...Although I do get them mixed up at times.


I hate noise especially when there are big crowds of people involved

And another brain haemorrhage survivor that cannot tolerate noise from loud people, shopping centres, the tv and machinery of any sort.

Natural sounds like birds calls, the ocean tides, trees rustling in the breeze etc. are soothing.

I always have a pair of foam ear plugs with me just in case, wherever I go

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