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Dealing with noise sensitivity

Discussion in 'Hypersensitivity and Intolerance' started by Lucinda, Aug 29, 2010.

  1. Lucinda

    Lucinda Senior Member

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    Hi

    I suffer a great deal with the 'wired but tired' state. It's like I can't calm down and am on edge and restless all of the time. I know that it is very important to get out of this state so I can truly rest and give my body the break it needs, and am currently trying different things to achieve this.

    However, one thing I'm stuck on is my noise sensitivity. Noise - esp talking, the tv, radio, music, anything loud - makes me so much worse. I don't think I'm ever going to calm down unless I am in a very quiet environment, because the slightest noise puts my body in a panic state (unless I am the one in control of it - for example if I am in a silent house but feel well enough to have some relaxing TV show on low, or some classical music - I can cope).

    But, the thing is I live at home with my parents and brother who are noisy, and I do not have the money to move out and get my own place. My parents are at home all day as they are retired, and spend all day talking loudly in the living room, watching tv, listening to the radio, etc. I simply cannot escape the noise - it is constant. Even when I am in a different room I can usually still hear the noise, or am on edge because I know that they will be noisy soon.

    I have tried ear plugs and ear muffs, but found that they did not cut out enough noise. Plus I found listening to my heartbeat also made me feel bad, probably because I have a fast heart rate and suffer palpitations.

    I'm wondering - what can I do? Is anyone else in a similar situation of being sensitive to noise, and yet unable to escape it? I've talked to my family about this a number of times but they don't really understand, and I guess it's unrealistic to expect them to become really quiet.

    I'm kind of desperate here as I'm just not sure I'm ever going to get much better unless I can somehow reduce the noise I am exposed to, so any advice would be welcome, no matter how small.

    Thanks, Lucinda x
     
  2. lancelot

    lancelot Senior Member

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    i am in the same situation of not being able to move out because i'm too sick to take care of myself as well as financially. i have 3 others family members that live with me, but they understand my hypersensitivity and try to be as quiet as they can by turning down the volume on tv's and radio, not slamming doors, talking in other rooms away from me, and invitiing minimal guests over. I also have another tv room where i can keep the doors closed. Their noise is minimal but still annoying due to my hypersensitivity. i find relief late at nights when all is asleep and quiet outside. 11pm-6am feels like the preferred world to live in. Ear plugs are a must for proper sleep as any bit of noise can keep me awake or awaken me. You may want to take some calming supplements like L-theanine, magnesium glycinate and chamomille tea or anti-anxiety medications like activan or vailium. Also, as you improve from CFS/ME, your hypersensitivity will improve too IME.

    Good luck! lancelot
     
  3. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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    My hearing is really sensetive.

    I've just been buying a new hi-fi, and I'm constantly finding things that bother me about it's sound. I also listen to it at such low levels that their tech guy could barely believe me when I told him the normal volume I listen at.

    But I also find that if I choose to I can work at disengaging from these irritations. Sometimes it's useful to focus on these little sounds, find out what's causing them and do something about it (especially if it's a mosquito). Other times the best thing to do is adopt a more meditative approach and try to accept the disruption as it is, allow your mind to grow used to it and stop responding to it in a way that demands your constant attention.

    I always sleep with earplugs (and people are amazed at how clearly I can hear through them), and find that it's harder to disengage from noise irritation when you're half way between being asleep and awake.

    I'm not sure if any of this will be of any use to you, but good luck with it all.
     
  4. Lucinda

    Lucinda Senior Member

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    Thanks a lot Lancelot :)

    The thing is, in some ways my parents are quite supportive. They look after me a lot and financially support me since I have been too ill to work for years. However I don't really know how to get them to understand my need for quiet. In fact, it often ends up in an argument if I ask for them to be more quiet (which makes me extremely ill - so I've got to the point that I don't wanna bring it up!). I know they think I am overreacting. Of course I am overreacting - my body is overreacting and I can't help it!! I am hypersensitive (I am sensitive to other things too, like artificial scents, certain foods, etc, but those sensitivities aren't so severe and are much easier to deal with!).

    It's also hard as the only other room I can really go to is my bedroom - but I only have a bed and a dining room chair in there, neither of which are good to spend much time in (as spending too long in bed can make it hard to sleep at night, and the dining chair takes too much energy to sit up straight in, and both bring on my backache!). I really need a room with a sofa in for me to use, but unfortunately there is no space to do this.

    In any case, thanks a lot for the drugs and supplement advice - that's really helpful. I’ve tried L-theanine, magnesium, and chamomille tea (have had all three today actually) and found them all helpful. I have found L-Theanine the best for calming down my ‘wired’ state though – really love the stuff. Still need much more help with this though so I’ll try your other suggestions.

    - Lucinda x
     
  5. Lucinda

    Lucinda Senior Member

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    Thanks Esther

    I have to say, I have tried lot of psychological techniques to deal with this and had very little success. I have tried focusing on the sounds and trying to keep relaxed, I have tried keeping myself distracted, I have tried Buddhist mindfulness and meditation techniques, I have tried hypnosis anxiety-relieving CDs and actual hypnotherapy sessions, I have tried all sorts of stuff really and not found any of it helpful. Well, I find meditation helpful when I am calm enough to do it - but that is it (and meditation, whilst lovely for my well being, hasn't decreased my hypersensitivity that much, even though I do it quite often and have been taught it very well as I used to regularly attend a Buddhist Centre).

    Thanks though. It's good to know I'm not the only one who suffers from noise sensitivity. I used to think it was only me, and didn't really realise it was connected to my CFS for ages!

    Lucinda x
     
  6. shannah

    shannah Senior Member

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    Hi Lucinda,

    When you're in your room, turning a fan on may help to drown down the noise.
     
  7. serenity

    serenity Senior Member

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    i have the same problem for sure, for me it is noisy neighbors. they have screaming children, barking dogs, blaring music... etc.
    it's hard, but i have had to fight to get some peace. i had to threaten to take one neighbor to court over the constantly barking dog. they finally stopped him.
    we are moving to what i hope will be a quieter neighborhood soon, but really these are things you can't escape. theres always gonna be kids & dogs & trains & ambulance sirens. i feel for you tho, when i go to visit my parents or in laws i can't believe how noisy they are. my husband & i are even looking for a house with a room far enough from mine that he can have his TV on as loud as he wants it.
     
  8. Lucinda

    Lucinda Senior Member

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    Thanks Shannah. I have noticed that fan noise is one of the noises that don't bother me much. Hmmm, I need a fan that doesn't make my room cold though! I'm prone to feeling cold.

    And thanks Serenity. And yes, I also have a noisy neighborhood. I live next door to a school, and their playing field is the other side of the fence in our back garden, so there is often a lot of noise from the school kids. Plus a lot of my neighbours do not work and spend all day in their back gardens chatting, moving the lawn, cutting down trees, etc, so I can rarely find peace in my back garden either!

    We also own a dog who barks whenever someone walks through the front door, whenever the doorbell goes, whenever she gets overexcited, whenever the kids are in the field, etc. I love her to bits, but I hate the barking and I'm often not in the room, or don't have the energy to shut her up myself. Still, her barking doesn't bother me as much as the noise my family makes, as she isn't noisy continually (only when something sets her off), whilst my family is.

    It's just noise everywhere! Sometimes when I am well enough I go to the park, dreaming of some peace and quiet amidst trees and lakes and flowers. But usually the park ends up being noisy too! (I live in a very populated area - so nowhere is quiet). Think I need a desert island of my own to live on lol!
     
  9. Lesley

    Lesley Senior Member

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    Lucinda,

    I have a much milder problem with noise sensitivity, but I do find that at times I feel like everyone is yelling! I have enough control over my environment that I can usually escape.

    One thing you might look into is noise canceling headphones. I don't know much about them, but there is a description on wikipedia that would be a good start. It may not be a good solution for the kind of noise you are dealing with.

    The other thing you could try is white noise. I have played white noise through earbuds when they were working on my house and making a lot of noise. I also use it to distract myself from the sound of my ears ringing at bedtime. I have it on my iPod, but you can buy CDs and white noise machines. I don't know if the white noise would just add to the other noise, or help to distract from it.

    ETA: I just saw the discussion about the fan. The white noise would be like the fan without the cold!

    Lesley
     
  10. Lucinda

    Lucinda Senior Member

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    Hi Lesley

    Yes I have heard of noise cancelling headphones, and actually bought some cheap ones, but didn't find they cancelled any noise! I soon researched them more and found that in reality you have to pay quite a bit of money to get good ones which I am reluctant to do at the moment as money is tight. However if anyone knows of any that are good and don't cost a fortune I'd love to hear any recommendations. Same goes for good ear plugs or good ear muffs.

    And actually I haven't tried white noise! I've heard of it, but have not properly looking into it. Could you recommend any CDs or MP3s to try? x
     
  11. Merry

    Merry Senior Member

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    Lucinda,

    At night and during my usual afternoon nap, I use a sound machine, which produces white noise, so I don't hear outside noises or my neighbor on the other side of the duplex. But I can't guess if that white noise would feel like too much for you. Occaisionally that sound feels irritating or tiring to me.

    Fortunately (?) I live alone so don't have the level of disturbance to contend with that you do.

    Good luck.

    Merry
     
  12. Lucinda

    Lucinda Senior Member

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    Hi Merry

    I have not tried white noise actually. Could you recommend to me a white noise machine to try? I know very little about it.

    Thanks, x
     
  13. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    Logan, Queensland, Australia
    Hi

    I use this trick too, as does a relative of mine (who I wont name) who has not been diagnosed with CFS. White noise gives a constant background noise that is still difficult to tolerate, but easier than the other kinds of noise. Bye, Alex

     
  14. lancelot

    lancelot Senior Member

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    southern california

    Lucinda,

    Your situation sounds exactly like mine as my elderly parents are very supportive and take care of their disabled son-ME. My family does everything they can without arguing even if they don't understand CFS/ME. I understand you cannot stay in your bedroom all day as that promotes bad sleep hygiene and restless confinement. i have a family member who sleeps in the living room so i can have another room for myself so you're welcome to share my sofa if you're very quiet! :sofa:
    i have the home phone far away from my room and at the lowest volume setting. i always keep my cell phone off until i need to use it which is almost never now. We are in a tough situation being too sick to even leave the house consistently and comfortably. I feel like i'm in prison not able to escape my home or family! HELP!!! But we must make the most of it and be at peace until we are cured oneday. yes CURED!!!

    As far as the drug recs or benzodiazepems, doctors will freely prescribe them but know that you will be taking a chance with addiction as benzodiazepens are very addictive and reports from prohealth members are not pretty when horrible withdrawals occur upon voluntary stoppage. i would not use them daily if you should choose to use them.

    Other supplements i use only for sleep can also be used for anti-anxiety such as GABA, valerian root, and 5-htp. i try not to use too many sleep meds during the day to prevent tolerance to them for sleep at night which is most important to me.

    I would try out those noise cancelling headphones, white noise machines, and other nature type cd's at stores like sharper image, walmart, sears, first. i've found any sounds whether they be of pleasant waterfalls or neutral white noise to be distracting still. i just try to buy the best and most comfortable ear plugs at walmart but again it's too easy to hear things even with them on.

    I am resisting being labeled disabled and applying for SSI, but i'm going on +2.5years now. SSI may be the only way for me to have my own peaceful place oneday should this DD not leave me alone! :Retro mad: But for now, sleeping during the day and living at nights seems to be of some relief and compromise to all the noise and people during the day. i fell like a vampire! i think the combination of sedating yourself with supplements and/or drugs and avoiding noise and people is the best combination to our constant "wired" feeling and hypersensitivity. How i wish i was stranded on gilligan's island! peace at last! :In bed:

    Take care! lancelot
     
  15. leela

    leela Slow But Hopeful

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    The noise thing is hard! Due to problems with my ears, I can hardly ever wear earplugs any more, but when I could my absolute favorite ones were Boules Quis from France, but a close second are the clear malleable ones for swimmers. I think the reason they work so well is because they are putty-like so you can tailor the size and shape, and you can actually achieve a bit of suction if you put them in right, which blocks so much more of the sound. But in reality, it's a drag to have earplugs in all the time!
    http://www.amazon.com/Boules-Quies-Protection-Auditive-Earplugs/dp/B000XABW7W
    (if you get the Boules, the challenge is getting the cotton off the waxy plugs before you put them in!)
    http://www.walgreens.com/store/cata...=G&ec=frgl_&ci_src=14110944&ci_sku=sku6003197

    If the walls in your place aren't paper-thin (as so many are) you could try putting weather-stripping around your door, and one of those draft-blockers at the bottom, and see if that cuts the volume some.

    Also, I finally broke down and got my doc to prescribe Klonopin (generic is cheap) per Cheney's protocol. I take even less than he recommends, and I sleep much better,
    and seem a lot less neuro-stimmy. You can take tiny pieces of a pill during the day and it can cut down on that hyper-sensitivity.
    I hope you find the right solution. I feel for you.
     
  16. urbantravels

    urbantravels disjecta membra

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    I take benzos + trazodone for sleep, it's turned out to be the best solution for me. I need to sleep much more than I need to worry about being "dependent".

    GOOD noise-cancelling headphones are excellent solutions for daytime noise (my boss used to use them so she could concentrate in our noisy office, and she truly couldn't hear anything at all outside of the headphones, so it was necessary to get into her field of vision to get her attention.) But headphones aren't comfortable to sleep in.

    I have a little speaker/amplifier thingy for my iPod and have downloaded various "sleep" sound and music programs to the iPod which I then set to loop endlessly before I go to bed. The one I like best is just ocean wave sounds.
     
  17. zoe.a.m.

    zoe.a.m. Senior Member

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    Many good ideas I've tried are already noted here, though I haven't tried noice-canceling headphones. I can imagine that if you could get a wireless pair (probably will be expensive) and can try some white noise, it would be a decent way to give your CNS some down time. For me, earplugs and headphones can increase the sensitivity sometimes, and yes, the pounding heart with earplugs is a pain. The swimmer/malleable ones mentioned upthread are the best for that; most of the time they are a good option.

    One thing I have done is to get some serious sound-blocking foam--like the kind used in sound studios--and created window blocks and things with it (though it needs to be left somewhere to off-gas for some time before using it (and I always ran my IQAir in that room--which also creates a great white noise). I'm all for actual changes to construction if you have uncontrollable noise where you sleep. I practice many kinds of desensitization and relaxation with noise, but truthfully, it can't do all that much. I wish that it could, and it's a worthwhile practice, but the CNS problems in ME/CFS are not mind over matter.
     
  18. Trooper

    Trooper Senior Member

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    I am also pretty sensitive to sound as well - I think I used to be a lot worse, but like my light sensitivity, I think it has got better over the years of being ill.

    I just wanted to add another vote for a fan or a white noise generator.

    I have a neighbour who works at a casino - woke me ever night for ages at about 5am (great!!). In their place, they must have an extractor fan and that would fire up and wake me. Over time I noticed there were 'pockets of space' in my room that were free from this noise. So I would rearrange my bedroom at 5am in an attempt to get it so my head was in one of these silent spots (it seems funny now.. but at the time....!). It's all to do with room acoustics I guess. It drove me half crazy and I thought about moving. I was so grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr! :Retro mad:

    After a bit of reading online I bought a vicks air purifier which has a fan on it and that combined with those yellow foam headphones means I don't wake up so much - it seems that if I create the noise I am ok with it - if someone else creates it, it winds me up sooooo much. This purifier does make the room cold though, so maybe try a hifi with a noise track on loop.

    Another thing is about the foam headphones - I used them for ages but not properly - I have to make them really tiny, like a pellet and then put them in and hold them for a min so they expand where they should. And replace them every 2 weeks. I find ones made by 3M to be the best so far.

    I found this site that has free white noise downloads - have a google to find more - http://cantonbecker.com/music/white-noise-sleep-sounds/mp3s.php

    It may be that you prefer the sound of rain or wind or birds or something like that, there should be free downloads of these too.

    I know this advice is more for night time - I hope you find something that works soon or it becomes less of a problem like mine did :)
     
  19. Tom

    Tom windows exterminator

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    Hi Lucinda and Others,

    You could try a part of The Perrin Technique to see if it helps.
    Sitting , with the fingers of both hands spread , comb your head with your fingers from your crown down the back behind each ear,(watch out for tender lymphs) then under your chin to below where your Adams apple would be.
    Do this 6 or so times then switch and comb from your crown forwards over your head and down yor face finishing as before.
    Doing this a few times daily should help by stimulating the drainage of toxins from your brain and lymphs on your head.
    Hopefully this may also help with visual stimulus overload and nasal stimulus overload too.

    All the best

    Tom
     
  20. Merry

    Merry Senior Member

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    Lucinda,

    My white noise generator is twenty-five years old, so I don't know what products are on the market now. The one I have is rather bulky, and if I ever have to buy another I would like one that is smaller, flatter. Something that would fit in a suitcase - not that I'm going anywhere.

    That you can download various white noises for free (as Trooper suggests) to find out what sounds are soothing seems like a good way to go. Many good ideas in this thread.

    Wishing peace and quiet,
    Merry
     

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