Fibromyalgia Noise Sensitivity

I've been taking an online course on how to cope with Fibromyalgia. It's done via email and though we are told to keep the posts short, sometimes it's just impossible when you have lots to say. One of the members of the course had recently begun to experience noise sensitivity and had asked the group how their experience was and how they felt about it. The following is my response. I thought to share it here because it may help you too.

For me, noise is a constant issue. I wear ear plugs 24/7 to tone down background noise where ever I am. It helps, but on those days were everything is hypersensitive any constant type of noise is like a hammer. Like nails down a chalkboard, if I can't get away from the noise I have to STOP it. If I can't stop the noise then I have to leave where ever I am. If that means I'm at home and I have no where else to go.. well let's not go there. Think of construction for 6+ months on the outside of our building. Jack hammering the cement railings off the balconies, then putting up iron ones – all 20 floors. Yeah I do NOT recall that time too fondly.

As I sat here and really thought of why noise bothers me, I have to say that I think it's the presence of yet one more thing that I can't deal with. Like being hypervigilant all the time, living in "fight or flight" mode (on the bad days everything makes me jumpy). Where noise is one more thing to add to the top of things you are trying to cope with. Maybe noise becomes one TOO many? That noise may be one of the few things you can control, or stop. Then I was thinking, too, that maybe our energy envelope comes to play here too. Trying to cope with the noise is draining, eventually it becomes too much and you have to take action to stop the noise.  

I have seen/read this hypervigilance likened to PTSD. Loud noises can set off war veterans. Perhaps we're not so different. Now I'm not saying we've lived through or endured the horrible things a war veteran may have seen, or heard. But perhaps, to us, it IS similar enough. A person's perception is relative to their experience. Right? If our experience of noise is BAD due to our coping mechanism being overloaded because of hypervigilance, well it's no wonder it is likened to PTSD.  

See, I had to think of what happens when noise is really bothersome. Light bothers me then too. Worse, touch as well. If my hubby touched me during that hypersensitive time I feel like I'd scream or my head would shoot off into space lol. I don't like to be touched, mostly because it HURTS me. And I think I'd like to stop talking about it before I get really bummed out :)  

There is a really good article on light/noise sensitivities here.   Read comments section, many have replied and perhaps some of it will be helpful to you.   Please feel free to share your experience with light/noise hypersensitivity with us. Comments are easy to make, sign in with Twitter or Facebook with one click.

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  1. I’m quite sensitive to certain types of sounds, but not to point where I need to wear ear plugs. That must be so frustrating. For me, any kind of continual sound, especially lower register sounds really bothers me – for instance, the sound of the kitchen exhaust fan or driving with the windows down. It’s SO hard to describe to someone who doesn’t get it, but it’s totally unbearable and causes me anxiety for some reason. And I definitely get jumpy too! First I’ve heard anyone mention similar feelings, thanks for writing about it.

    • I’ve heard many folks with Fibro say they have noise and light sensitivity. I’ve had it for 20 some years and always thought it was just a quirk. When I started reading about Fibromyalgia I was literally floored to discover it was a common symptom. Learning more about Fibro was a revelation to me, suddenly all the odd things about my health over the years made sense.

      Thanks for stopping by Maranda :)

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