My Cure for Sound Sensitivity

Messages
13
Likes
16
I have discovered something that has cured my sound sensitivity, it is TINNITUS RETRAINING THERAPY. I had HORRIBLE sensitivity to sound, and tinnitus retraining therapy SAVED me. The sensitivity was so bad that I was literally on the verge of ending it all, I thought there was no hope, I thought there was no chance it would work, but I had to give it a shot, and it WORKED. I highly, highly, highly recommend it to all CFS patients suffering with sound sensitivity (hyperacusis). It works for all types of sound sensitivity, no matter the cause. It is the only CFS symptom that I have ever been able to improve. If sound sensitivity is something you are struggling with, please please please try tinnitus retraining therapy. I did it without spending a dollar.
I find that when I force myself to tolerate noise, I often experience a spell of PEM after. Was this a problem for you with the training?
 

valentinelynx

Senior Member
Messages
1,022
Likes
2,694
Location
Tucson
She said that the reason our brains are freaking out at sound is because something has happened to cause them to erroneously believe that these low levels of sound are too loud and will do damage to our hearing, so a large part of fixing it is using your conscious thoughts as much as possible to remind yourself that “No, brain, you need to relax, these levels are WELL below anything that would hurt me.”
I find that a strange thing for your audiologist to tell you. Maybe it's true for some individuals, but it's not my experience. I don't find all noises intrusive. If I'm paying attention to a radio or TV show or music then I need it loud to understand it, but if I'm not listening to it, I find it painfully intrusive. The same is true for me and sources of continuous noise, like air conditioners, heaters, or any kind of fans.

I don't like "white noise", meaning continuous rushing sounds. I'm not fearful that these sounds will injure me, but rather I find them constantly annoying. It's like I don't adapt to it like a normal person would. When a fan shuts off, I immediately feel relief, like a weight has been lifted off of me. On the other hand, truly loud noises, like certain hand drying blowers (those at WalMart and Target are of this kind), make me cringe. These are loud enough to cause hearing damage with frequent exposure (I've actually measured the decibels with a phone app while sitting in a stall :eek:), and I don't understand why they are allowed in public bathrooms.
 

Hip

Senior Member
Messages
12,946
Likes
23,895
She said that the reason our brains are freaking out at sound is because something has happened to cause them to erroneously believe that these low levels of sound are too loud and will do damage to our hearing, so a large part of fixing it is using your conscious thoughts as much as possible to remind yourself that “No, brain, you need to relax, these levels are WELL below anything that would hurt me.”
I am not sure if this audiologist's explanation of hyperacusis — the idea of soft sounds erroneously being perceived as loud — entirely aligns with my experience of sound sensitivity.

For me, hyperacusis is a brain "firewall" malfunction (sensory gating malfunction): it's the intrusion of the non-relevant sound stimuli into consciousness when the firewall should be filtering them out.

The brain's firewall (sensory gating) constantly performs a vital role of greatly filtering down the amount of sensory stimuli that reaches conscious awareness. If it did not do this, consciousness would be completely overloaded with billions of sensory stimuli from our surrounding environment.

This firewall is a highly intelligent process: have you ever experienced the phenomenon where you are considering buying a particular model of car, and all of a sudden, you become aware of that model whenever one drives past you. You start seeing that car everywhere, whereas previously you never noticed it. This is because the firewall knows what is relevant and irrelevant to you, and filters out the irrelevant sensory stimuli, but passes the relevant into conscious awareness.

More about the brain's firewall and hyperacusis in this post.



So for me, at lot of the hyperacusis is extraneous environmental sounds disturbing my consciousness while I am concentrating on something else. The sounds disturb consciousness because they are not being filtered out by the firewall. In this way, sounds can feel horribly "intrusive" in the mind.

Such sensory gating issues are known to exist in autism and schizophrenia.



I expect your audiologist may be trained in the somewhat dubious central sensitivity syndrome (CSS) notions, which tries to explain the symptoms of diseases like ME/CFS in terms of inappropriate signal amplification in the brain and nervous system. However, even if CSS exists, sound sensitivity may be unrelated to central sensitization. More about CSS and sound sensitivity in this post.



But going back to your white noise video treatment for sound sensitivity: it may that consciously focusing attention on this white noise soundtrack helps train the brain's firewall, so that it becomes more adept at filtering out irrelevant, meaningless auditory stimuli from relevant ones.
 
Last edited:
Messages
97
Likes
201
Location
Kansas City, MO
I find that when I force myself to tolerate noise, I often experience a spell of PEM after. Was this a problem for you with the training?
No, because when I did this training, I was laying down, with my eyes closed, and while deep breathing. My focus was not on pushing my brain to do anything. It was on acceptance. Accept that it is uncomfortable. Passively accept it and lay there long enough that you get lost in thoughts and you can actually forget about the noise
 

Dainty

Senior Member
Messages
1,751
Likes
2,525
Location
Seattle
I'm so glad you found something that helped you. Thanks so much for sharing it!

I had really severe hyperacusis that improved when the rest of me did. A lot of mine is/was tried to trauma. I still have pretty severe PTSD from my severe years and certain noises can still result in hyperacusis. A lot of it, for me, depends on the energy behind the sound. E.g. happy dogs at a dog park play barking do not trigger it, but stressed out frantic dogs barking will have me collapsed. My husband doing dishes is fine--my mom's doing dishes makes my brain go blank mid-sentence and I can't think and I have to leave the room ASAP.

My theory behind observing my own hyperacusis is whenever my brain is trying to rest is when it's most sensitive to unwanted sound. During my severe years, that was 24/7. Nowadays it happens when I haven't had enough sleep for a few nights in a row or some similar equivalent exhaustion.

Again, so glad you found something that helps you, that's free, that others can try as well! Maybe I will experiment with it one of these days.