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Noise Intollerance

I’m sure many of you suffer with this but how is best to manage it?

Just spent a great weekend with family but our 2 year old grandson is a typical energetic 2 year old. I’ve spent a lot of the weekend having to leave the room for quiet time because of his loud noises.

It is the same in busy social situations when there are a range of noises, especially people laughing or talking loudly.

It just wipes my into a fatigued state

Does anyone have any tips or techniques in how to cope?

44 Replies
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Looks as though you'll have to start reducing your social engagements Teynboy, its the only way I'm afraid.

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Sounds like a plan sometimes haha.

It’s difficult when it’s a simple family get together though.

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I always have some wax earplugs in my bag in case of noise intrusion, especially for hospital waiting rooms which can involve long periods of hearing information you'd rather not. And it's so easy to loosen one slightly (whilst leaving it secure) when someone comes to call for the next patient.

It works with noisy children too so that you can hear what they say but their extra decibels can be edited out with a single touch of slight pressure against the ear. The plugs are mouldable to the inside of the ear and sit securely and comfortably. I buy the Boots ones and find that cutting them in half gives me the size I need (and means I get twice as many for my money).

You work them with your fingers to soften them before tucking them into your ear ; gentle pressure eases them into a natural shape without discomfort or damage to the ear. I find foam ones too uncomfortable, and they're usually bright colours so visible to others.

I never had this issue pre-BI, but nowadays unwanted noise sets my heart racing ! Might be worth a try ? .............couple of ££ from Boots. 😖

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Ooh thanks Cat. Good recommendation, I’ll have a look in Boots.

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It seems you are already using the basic coping stratigies.....escape !.

Not always a good solution , Cats earplug way is better. Have tried it myself and can say the silicone waxy ones are best. Only problem I seem to have is I can clearly hear my breathing which seems to freak me out. Why it does I don't know as surely not hearing myself breath should be worse.

Planning is a good tactic. Finding quiet areas of cafes or if facing away from the noise helps.

Children can be a problem at times but worth the fatigue they cause.

A lot of it is trial and error. As well as a little planning and adjustmental of how you do things.

Pax

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Good idea Pax. When we go to a busy place, I always find sitting with my back to the wall or window is better. It blocks out half the noise.

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It's a case of try it and see. Some places I sit facing the wall away from crowds others the wall bounces to much sound.

There doesn't seem a one rule fits all unfortunately.

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Rather than earplugs that block out all noise, I use noise filtering earplugs. They cut out all the background noise that bombards my brain with a big painful noise, but they still enable you to hear a conversation and join in with it.

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Hi, can you recommend any particular noise filtering ones? I need to invest in proper ones as noise sends me 'doolalee!'

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Hi Swedish, fully sympathise with your plight, try these on Amazon, they are orange and conical in shape, you cant miss them. 2x20 3M earplugs by 3M @ £4.96 + free postage, I have almost a roll over order for these little beauties, they squidge up nicely and its one of my few pleasures these days to sense the fading noise, I find I can take part in a conversation, with just a few asks for repeats.

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A'h great, thanks Fred. Are these the ones StrawberryCream recommends? Or are they your standard ear plugs?

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They might be like strawberry's, but I just found they let me hear as a by product as it were, I have tried a few and then some! and I am never without a few pairs dotted about my clothing, at the price 40 pairs for under a fiver they are worth a try, let me know how you get on Swedish.

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I get Pluggerz ones from Amazon. I get the kids ones as got small ear canals and they fit better. You need to look for either 'noise restricting' or 'noise filtering'. There are different ones and many different makes and very much the same whether are labelled for musicians, airports, sleep etc. You can also buy them in Boots chemist, who also have their own range. I prefer these to having ones that totally block out sound as you can still hear but it is filtered down to a tolerable level and cuts out all the background noise. When I take my son to Butlins, I wouldn't be able to tolerate the loudness of the shows but with my noise restricting earplugs I can and can still hear every word of the panto! You can get ones made specifically for you but they are very expensive. I think mine were supposed to be for kids in airports but as I have said they all work the same whatever is on the packet. They are reusable and I keep them all the time in my handbag in the pouch that comes with them, and have a second set as well. For me it is about moderating the sound rather than blocking it out completely. The medical term is 'Hypercusis'.

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Ooh yes, any recommendations would be hugely helpful.

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See above reply to swedishblue, if not above somewhere in the thread.

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I get Pluggerz ones from Amazon. I get the kids ones as got small ear canals and they fit better. You need to look for either 'noise restricting' or 'noise filtering'. There are different ones and many different makes and very much the same whether are labelled for musicians, airports, sleep etc. You can also buy them in Boots chemist, who also have their own range. I prefer these to having ones that totally block out sound as you can still hear but it is filtered down to a tolerable level and cuts out all the background noise. When I take my son to Butlins, I wouldn't be able to tolerate the loudness of the shows but with my noise restricting earplugs I can and can still hear every word of the panto! You can get ones made specifically for you but they are very expensive. I think mine were supposed to be for kids in airports but as I have said they all work the same whatever is on the packet. They are reusable and I keep them all the time in my handbag in the pouch that comes with them, and have a second set as well. For me it is about moderating the sound rather than blocking it out completely. The medical term is 'Hypercusis'.

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Hi I would love to help you with this one.

I have a two year old brother who is very mischievous and sometimes it is very difficult to control him due to the amount of energy he has.

Maybe you should try earplugs to block out the noise but from experience I would suggest you check up on what the child is eating and drinking for example, fizzy drinks, sweets which can cause a sugar rush and lead to the child becoming very energetic.

If the child is just energetic despite having a healthy diet I would suggest the earplugs are the best solution and can work out in public to block out noise or conversations you do not want to hear. It seems you become anxious in loud and chaotic situations which is enough to set someone off. Be aware of your own health and take care of yourself.

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Yep, I’m a big fan of healthy eating and always recommend that he cuts out excessive sugars. Bless him, he’s a typical boy with bags of energy just like I was at his age.

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Hello Teynboy

I have only just started experience the same problem as you along with other ongoing problems from my brain injuries.

As others on here have said and I agree because I do the same things by using earplugs that block out noise or escape the situation by saying "Excuse me" and leave temporary.

Ben

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Good shout Ben.

It is great to have an understanding family too. If they know the triggers then it is helpful.

It never stops me feeling guilty though.

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im like you, i have to remove myself from noisey social gatherings because the meds i take for my mood swings dont work in these situations and as far as noisy 2 year olds running around, i tell the parents to get to grips with their child and allow others to enjoy the occassion.

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That's a good skill and I'm still learning when I'm nearing having enough. Can you talk about it openly with your family/grandson's parent(s)? It can be a bit awkward when people don't realise, pick up on signals or accomodate it, but you still want to socialise.

It depends on the environment and if voices are bouncing off walls and tiles and what the other hubbub is like.

I've used ear plugs and also headphones. If I need to, I explain the plugs or earphones and I'm not intending to be rude. People are usually pretty understanding. I don't want to patronise you or suggest something unhelpful, but have you/they tried the 'being quiet' game with him? It takes some energy, but distracting with 'pretending to be...' hushed and quiet like a little mouse etc games might work for a short time? Or pick an animal and play what do they do in their nest or burrow etc. I know I was sneakily distracted into being quiet on trains and in libraries. If he's really concentraing on a game, that sometimes works? Is it when he's bored or tired or excited? Learning how to be around you will help him socialise too. Can you play a 'run to the tree/step/tidy this box' game. This has the added bonus of tiring little ones out pre nap/bed?

I have sometimes sat and shut my eyes - sometimes people pick up on the cues from this without me having to say a word and they quieten or leave the room. Or just let me be, but I'm still included.

There's always a well timed visit to the loo. I know this is still leaving the room, but it might feel less awkward. Running some cool water and a few deep breaths sometimes helps me.

0101

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Top advice 0101, thank you.

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Good topic. Anyone know the medical answer to noise intolerance? Should it improve with time or any tasks that can help?

I’m hoping it’s not avoidance for to long?

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The medical name is 'Hypercusis'.

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I think you can sometimes. It depends on why you have hearing loss. Sometimes you can build up tolerance as such depending on what the cause of your sensitivity is. Pre illness, my friend came to visit me. I lived right on our local High Street and as we walked out she grabbed my arm and hung on for dear life. I asked what was up. She lived in the Cotswolds in a very quiet small village and wasn't used to cars, noise, lights, colours, smells, people, interactions, movement, the whole shebang. She just wasn't used to it. She hates it in fact. I went to visit her from then on as she refused to visit! You can get acclimatised to low level traffic and other noise.

I've always been sensitive to noise but now it's actively confusing and distressing sometimes. So I then avoided it. I am aware of trying to build my tolerance up. It think it's about control - like a dripping tap - or being able to plan or predict. I recently jumped out of my skin when my friend's mobile phone tinkled with a notification set to a stadium clearing klaxon noise level!?

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I haven’t found much improvement in over 5 years now. Sadly.

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2x20 3M earplugs by 3M, having shared a Yurt with my snoring friend, I can say these work.

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Hi Teynboy you have my complete sympathy and empathy. I'm almost 3 yrs post bi and noise is still an issue for me.

Two things that can still ping me on the ceiling in seconds is whistling and excited/upset children. I'm nicknamed the child catcher because I'm told I react like they're the antichrist. Lol

We also had a tough few days over Easter seeing our grandson first and then our granddaughters. Our grandson is quite boisterous but our granddaughters I can just about cope with but we don't see them often as they live over 3 hrs away. However our visit included a visit to a noisy cafe and Easter fête and despite having earplugs I still had a fuzzy head of varying degrees most of the weekend.

I've learnt many techniques over the past 3 years but unless we completely isolate ourselves we can't avoid noise.

Earplugs def help. choosing quiet times to go out to eat. Sitting in corners so not completely surrounded by noise. We book seperate accommodation when visiting family so we have a retreat. Allowed myself two days back home to rest before going back to work.

I admit that in December I started private therapy for the noise as I feel that although I've progressed a lot in other areas that my tolerance levels had plateaued.

I wish you all the best and hope you find what works for you.

Rachel

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I work in an airport arrivals area and kids drive me gaga when they start screaming,shouting and excited...if I can I just walk away from the area .

My collegues have got used to me saying shut up!!!! when I hear to much noise especially kids,i don't actually tell the kids to shut or collegues it's something I say out loud....lol

I have been known to tell passengers to stop shouting when they start ,I work in the lost luggage/damaged dept so deal with a lot of pissed off people at times.

I can't tolerate rude obnoxious people at the best of times again if I can I walk away or tell them not to be rude....lol

Wrong job to be in really but they are not all like it!!! well depends which nationalities you deal with as well....lol

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Omg gabimou if you have noise intolerance issues and still carry out that job I applaud you.

I've also found that when I hear people speaking in a foreign language it seems to make me tired very quickly but I think that's more of a processing issue than noise related.

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Ah Rachel, totally understand.

It’s sometimes quite embarrassing when people label you and don’t understand isn’t it?

Yes, whistling is irritating (although that used to annoy me pre-TBI).

Good on you for the therapy too. That’s definitely worth a thought.

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Although this is a great thread Teynboy, it saddens me to know there are so many people who do suffer with noise intolerance. On the other hand it shows that I'm also not on my own with this and also not completely round the twist in that some noises bother me and some don't. I've been told I'm an interesting 'specimen' because I have hearing loss as well as noise intolerance and I'm not sure how much that complicates things which gave me the push to seek out private treatment. I wish you all the best. 😊

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Hello. Definitely the same. Background music in shops and public loos, lots of noises af same timd,sudden nouses etc, even at church as there is a band and cant do coffee afterwards. I wear headphones to dull the sound at church.

We went banger racing nk Holiday Monday knowing it would completely trash me but I dont want to miss out anymore. I left there shaking like a lwaf and unable to function at all - still same today. It happens cos' our brains ate unable to departmentalise.

I went to my GP who referred me to ENT thinking that nothing would come of it, but the gave me an appointment. I was ecstatic to say the least. I went and he regerred me on to another hospital for therapy - i asked what that meant e he said think if it as brain training. I am waiting for that appointment to come through and will let you know what happens.

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Hi I went through a referral process from ENT to audiology but they said it was for desentisation.

I have the added problem of having hereditary hearing loss. It would be easy to assume that having noise intolerance would make hearing loss better and I don't completely understand it but it doesn't. Both are totally unrelated. I decided end of last year to seek out private treatment which is slowly working. 😁

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There are so many noises out there to get us.

Bizarrely I can cope with some noises. We went to see a band a couple of weeks ago and I was fine with it. Done the banger racing too and was fine.

The variety of pitches of people talking loudly or laughing loudly is the worst at times.

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I have two kid's myself and I must say it is extremely difficult at times, especially when you first get up in the morning, or when the fatigue starts to hit. Noise volumes seem to be double, if not trebled to somebody with a brain injury. It's nearly impossible for people to truly understand without first hand experience, therefore a noisy family situation is hard.

Just spend an hour in the toilet and blame the food!🤢

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Hi @Teynboy

I see your injury was 2012 just like mine.

A couple of suggestions for you.

Push for a referral to audiology. They can assess your hearing and have a wide range of options available.

I was prescribed filters but there are white noise and pink noise things as well and they are only what I've heard of.

In terms of family get togethers ....I'm not sure about the numbers but having smaller groups and spreading celebrations is an option.

When the very young are involved I find it difficult to balance the wanting to make the most of the time with them and the need to decompress.

Paxos idea of loo breaks is great but , in my case, the length of time it takes to get some balance back would have people asking questions.

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Paxos idea?? Am I on a different thread? :-)

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Oops! Sorry my fault trying to take in too much information.

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Thank you - feeling a bit paranoid!

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That’s a good shout. Thank you.

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Shout - that was no joke intended by the way.

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I have found that I have got better with coping at the time, though still crash afterwards so end results is the same, lot depends on the noise.

One single noise I can generally cope, as long as I’m not tired, busy multiple sources, I find hard work, if it’s dark then i tend to overload as my vestibular system doesn’t work well.

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