View Full Version : Sound sensitivity syndrome


kinddog
11-28-07, 12:37 PM
I came accross this when trying to find some information on my own sound sensitivity. It has caused me so much upset in my life and I've never been able to understand what is wrong with me. I've noticed that there are many posts on eating sounds etc (these are my worst). Anyway, have a read up on this, it's most fascinating:

Selective soft sound sensitivity (SSSS) syndrome......it's called 4S and was named by an audiologist who studies this problem. There's even a forum set up for people like us. At last there's a name for it.....makes me very sad as it's caused me years and years of difficulties and I've never told a soul as thought it was just me :(

QueensU_girl
11-28-07, 12:50 PM
There are others here with sensory issues.

Have you read up on "sensory diets"?

It is the idea that people do better when their sensory input is controlled. (e.g. some kids "behavior problems" and "stress problems" and such are the result of SENSORY OVERLOAD.)

Modulating and regulating input can help a person with sensory overload issues. (e.g. normal people cannot understand that for some folks, a light is 10-100x stronger for the Sensory-different person. It is not illuminating, it is *blinding*.

Some hyperactivity can be the result of a person being "irritated" in their nervous system. (This certainly is true in the lab with cells exposed to toxins and other smaller animals put under stress.)

Hyperactivity (or other ADD problems) may reduce when sensory toxicity is reduced.

We have a place here in Toronto called MUKIBAUM that teaches a lot about SID (sensory integration disorder), etc.


http://www.mukibaum.com/Programs/progsensory.html

Lunacie
11-28-07, 12:58 PM
Interesting post - quick question, are you sensitive to the noises of your own eating or of hearing others eat?

Looking for more information on SSSS led me to this site on hyperacusis - I can't believe there is a name for a problem I've had for as long as I can remember.
http://www.hyperacusis.net/hyperacusis/3+types+of+sound+sensitivity/default.asp

Matt S.
11-28-07, 01:13 PM
White noise machines work wonders I have two of them and I don't get startled by outside stimuli.

Lunacie
11-28-07, 01:29 PM
White noise machines work wonders I have two of them and I don't get startled by outside stimuli.
Even with white noise (or a fan going) I can't deal with the sound of a child whining or a baby crying or a dog yapping or a door slamming or a foot tapping or a vacumn cleaner or an alarm going off or a motorcycle driving by or children playing the same room I'm in ... it's not that they startle me (although some do), it's that they are just too loud an annoying - creating stress and tension and a sort of anxiety attack that can last for hours.

It's only when I don't get enough sleep that soft sounds (like someone else eating) really irritate me.

kinddog
11-28-07, 01:43 PM
Thanks for the replies, to be honest I've only just started to look into it. I'm 45 and my dad always had this sensitivity too. My sister's the same as me and 2 (out my 4) kids are the same. I could name a number of things that I'm completely over sensitive to but eating noises are the worst. My poor mum...I just can't be around her when she eats. Some people bother me more than others but the feeling of irritation is so intense. It gets to the point where I have to leave the room and have perfected all sorts of avoidance techniques over the years so I don't have to be around people eating.

I do find myself sort of 'zooming in' on someone and once their eating sounds are upsetting me I do tend to focus entirely on that, with the extreme irritation building up inside. Then I'm stuck, I either have to leave the room or wait for them to finish the last mouthful and stop eating. Then I just carry on as normal. It's exhausting I must say. I'm now thinking that I sound really crazy:eek:

Funnily enough, I have never been irritated by my own eating!

Matt S.
11-28-07, 01:45 PM
I feel the same way but I have a room that I hide in and use those machines (I have to use two of them) and it block it out for awhile, crank them at their highest and I can say they become a lot less noticeable, it doesn't get rid of them but in the long run I am less anxious over it because it isn't as intense for me.

Another thing that makes me feel like that is when I type.

rubbdog
07-18-08, 08:27 AM
Even with white noise (or a fan going) I can't deal with the sound of a child whining or a baby crying or a dog yapping or a door slamming or a foot tapping or a vacumn cleaner or an alarm going off or a motorcycle driving by or children playing the same room I'm in ... it's not that they startle me (although some do), it's that they are just too loud an annoying - creating stress and tension and a sort of anxiety attack that can last for hours.

It's only when I don't get enough sleep that soft sounds (like someone else eating) really irritate me.

Wow, this describes what I go through to a T! It's interesting that these items (lets add lawnmowers and ice chewing to the list), only bother me on some occasions, but can then ruin my day for hours. I'm interested in your observation about sleep, and plan to try tracking my sleep patterns to look for a corallation.

My doctor has been helping me with some "fixation" issues I get from time to time (can't stop working on a project, or reading web forums like this one all night long LOL). As mentioned elsewhere in this thread, these sound issues often feel like a fixation as well. Once I tune into the sound, I notice it more and more, until I am anticipating it before it has left my MIL's mouth (ice chewing, in her case). The interesting part is that my doctor tells me that ADHD often goes hand in hand with some mild OCD symptoms, and that OCD symptoms have been linked to imbalances between dopamine levels and seritonin levels in our brains. Now seratonin helps regulate our sleep patterns, and melatonin (a precursor used to create seritonin) is only produced by our bodies when we are in deep sleep, so it could be concievable that these are all tied together. Lack of quality sleep=neurochemical imbalances=OCD symptoms=sound fixations?
Time for bed...

rubbdog
07-18-08, 08:32 AM
Thanks for the replies, to be honest I've only just started to look into it. I'm 45 and my dad always had this sensitivity too. My sister's the same as me and 2 (out my 4) kids are the same. I could name a number of things that I'm completely over sensitive to but eating noises are the worst. My poor mum...I just can't be around her when she eats. Some people bother me more than others but the feeling of irritation is so intense. It gets to the point where I have to leave the room and have perfected all sorts of avoidance techniques over the years so I don't have to be around people eating.

I do find myself sort of 'zooming in' on someone and once their eating sounds are upsetting me I do tend to focus entirely on that, with the extreme irritation building up inside. Then I'm stuck, I either have to leave the room or wait for them to finish the last mouthful and stop eating. Then I just carry on as normal. It's exhausting I must say. I'm now thinking that I sound really crazy:eek:

Funnily enough, I have never been irritated by my own eating!

Kinddog
See my previous post about that "zooming in " behavior, and as an experiment, try eating with earplugs in. What I've found is that all of a sudden the sound of my own eating is horrendously loud, defeating the purpose of putting earplug in in the first place!

Lunacie
07-18-08, 09:31 AM
Chewing ice has to be about the worst sound!

Fortunately I don't spend any time around ice chewers anymore.

*knocks on wood*

sloppitty-sue
07-18-08, 10:50 AM
My poor mum...I just can't be around her when she eats. Some people bother me more than others but the feeling of irritation is so intense. It gets to the point where I have to leave the room and have perfected all sorts of avoidance techniques over the years so I don't have to be around people eating.



I was just talking about this type of thing with my therapist this week. I also have these "sensitivities" and more . . . and they are part of the reason why I doubt the possibility of my ever having another serious romantic relationship or marriage. When I've been forced to look at it (like when someone has had to spend the night, like a close friend travelling from across the country, etc.), I realize that the things I'm "wierd" about are quite numerous. And most people (when I've told them, I try to hide it instead if possible) seem really wigged out by my issues.

When you mentioned how some peoples' eating is more irritating than others, I remembered telling my therapist about how growing up there were many mornings where I'd be sitting at the table in tears because of my father's eating. And my poor younger sisters still are upset to this day about my hostile morning behavior that always consisted of the remark, "DO YOU HAVE TO EAT THAT HERE!??"

Besides being bothered by sounds, there are a few sights of things that do the same thing to me. And these things are common items, mainly food items, that I can't even view without going bezerk (can't view or even write their names). Weird, eh?


Sue

Lunacie
07-18-08, 04:23 PM
I was just talking about this type of thing with my therapist this week. I also have these "sensitivities" and more . . . and they are part of the reason why I doubt the possibility of my ever having another serious romantic relationship or marriage. When I've been forced to look at it (like when someone has had to spend the night, like a close friend travelling from across the country, etc.), I realize that the things I'm "wierd" about are quite numerous. And most people (when I've told them, I try to hide it instead if possible) seem really wigged out by my issues.

When you mentioned how some peoples' eating is more irritating than others, I remembered telling my therapist about how growing up there were many mornings where I'd be sitting at the table in tears because of my father's eating. And my poor younger sisters still are upset to this day about my hostile morning behavior that always consisted of the remark, "DO YOU HAVE TO EAT THAT HERE!??"

Besides being bothered by sounds, there are a few sights of things that do the same thing to me. And these things are common items, mainly food items, that I can't even view without going bezerk (can't view or even write their names). Weird, eh?


Sue

I know what you mean about having doubts about being in another intimate relationship. Living with my daughter and grandchildren I am able to retreat to my own room and close the door when life gets too overwhelming for me. After being married to a snorer with sleep apnia issues (which he denied) for over 20 years, I don't really want to give up being able to sleep in peace and quiet, without someone bumping me or touching a very sensitive (and often ticklish) spot in the night.

I have a friend who keeps begging me to come and spend the night or the weekend in her spare bedroom. She isn't wigged out by the fact that I would have to bring my own (all cotton) sheets and my own (allergenic) pillow, and a fan for white noise, or that I have to get up to pee at least 2 times each night minimum. But why would I want to drag all that baggage with me to someone else's house?

Imnapl
07-19-08, 02:20 PM
Interesting post - quick question, are you sensitive to the noises of your own eating or of hearing others eat?

Looking for more information on SSSS led me to this site on hyperacusis - I can't believe there is a name for a problem I've had for as long as I can remember.
http://www.hyperacusis.net/hyperacusis/3+types+of+sound+sensitivity/default.aspVery interesting. Here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyperacusis) is a list of causes.



Migraine (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Migraine)
Severe head trauma (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Head_trauma)
Facial nerve (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Facial_nerve) dysfunction (to Stapedius (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stapedius))
Surgery (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surgery)
Ear irrigation
Tension Myositis Syndrome (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tension_Myositis_Syndrome)
TMJ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TMJ) (Temporomandibular joint disorder)
Adverse drug reaction (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adverse_drug_reaction)
Williams Syndrome (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Williams_Syndrome)
Autism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autism)
Bell's palsy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bell%27s_palsy)
Méničre's disease (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M%C3%A9ni%C3%A8re%27s_disease)
Asperger syndrome (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asperger_syndrome)
Superior canal dehiscence syndrome (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superior_canal_dehiscence_syndrome) (SCDS)
Chronic ear infections
Minor Head Injury
A vestibular disorder: see below.

tree oh tree
08-08-08, 08:07 AM
For along while I've noticed that I'm particularly easily startled by loud noises or sudden movements. Certain touches as well. This can cause alot of offense to friends, loved ones or strangers.
Some people would make the incorrect assumption that it was a result of drug use (this was prior to any drug abuse, asside from the ocassional and moderate use of canabiss, and alcohol).
I'm not sure if there is any remedy for it. At one point I was prescribed propanol, but that had no effect on it.
Diet in general I find difficult to moderate and sometimes I think specialist diets are just assumed to be effective in all cases, and it can be hard to be aware of when it is a placebo or not, as to often I've thought this problem has gone away only to find that it returns when I least expect it.

luvs2read
09-19-08, 03:22 AM
Hi All! Newbie here. Holy cow! I stumbled on this thread while googling for something, anything, to describe what I have been dealing with. It is comforting to know that I am not alone.

Although, I never would have thought that what I have could be related to ADHD. But who knows. I know when I was a kid I had some sort of mild hearing disorder that they told my mom it was called "audio acuity deficiency" or something along that line. This was more than thirty years ago, so I'm not exactly sure.

I've been scouring the internet trying to find some answers, because recently I have been afflicted with severe, unrelenting migraines. While the migraines are always accompanied by the usual light and sound sensitivity, I have noticed that the sensitivity continues even when the pain is under control. I take Imitrex, Neurontin, Topamax, Midrin and the occasional Excedrin.

If I am really honest with myself, I would have to admit to always having some level of light, and more specifically sound, sensitivity. I have never been one to be able to tolerate loud venues. It has always been difficult for me to concentrate on work in a typical open cubicle workspace environment, even in the most quiet of offices. I suppose that is where the ADHD would come into play, if it were there. Otherwise, I am very, very focused and productive in quiet environments.

Harsh lighting is another headache and irritation trigger for me, especially fluorescent. My neurologist said it is because of the imperceptible flickering that can irriate the neurons of the brain. I have been stock-piling incandescent bulbs, because they will stop selling them next year in the U.S. in favor of the fluorescent halogen bulbs.

The feelings I get when I feel overwhelmed by the lights and sounds around me can drive me to the point of tears. My nerves get so shattered, for lack of a better word, that I either cry or lash out at others. I hate how debilitating it can be, with no rational way to explain it others. I hate feeling like I am going crazy inside my own skin.

Are there any other people on these boards that are migraine sufferers that have similar problems with sensory sensitivities when they are not having a migraine? If so, what do you do to cope so that you don't appear to be a complete nutcase to those around you? I have tried to discuss this with my neurologist, but I'm not even sure he gets it.

Thank you all for listening, and best of luck to you all. :)

Lunacie
09-19-08, 01:46 PM
**waves**

Another migraine sufferer here who is also light/sound/scent/touch sensitive. Fortunatly not so much with taste, but with sensing other things at times (empathic - paranormal).

Hyper sensitivities don't always equate with ADHD, so don't jump to any conclusions without doing more research into typical ADHD symptoms. And of course, these are issues that everyone has from time to time, and are only diagnosed as ADHD when they affect your life in a serious way for some length of time.

I also get so overwhelmed by the amount of light and sound (etc) battering me that I may be become quite emotional, sad or angry or jittery. I've never been to see a neurologist, but if you can give your doc some information on the problem, perhaps he will be able to suggest something to help you.

Misz LaLa83
10-26-08, 11:54 AM
I have had something like this same problem since as far back as i can remember, im 25 years old now and i remember the same problems when i was 5... I have never told anyone about this, and for a while i thought i was the only one with this problem, mine is slightly different from alot of yours, because certain sounds like, clocks ticking or sounds that make a repeating pattern, and some lights too that blink, or make a pattern, i looked everywhere on the internet with some one who was experiencing something similar to this and i found this thread, some im starting to think this is what i have... it has affected certain things in my life for years!! i look forward to talking with people who are experiencing this too.:)

tree oh tree
10-26-08, 04:15 PM
Aqpparently there is a sub type of people with AD/HD who are jumpy and sensative to sounds, and this is usually found in those that may have developed adhd as a response to a traumatic event when they were younger. Or something like it was in this book about children with emnotional oir behavioural; difficulties. It said though that only 1 in 100 have asdhd but this book was from 1999.

ADXP
11-24-08, 06:12 AM
Wow, this describes what I go through to a T! It's interesting that these items (lets add lawnmowers and ice chewing to the list), only bother me on some occasions, but can then ruin my day for hours. I'm interested in your observation about sleep, and plan to try tracking my sleep patterns to look for a corallation.

My doctor has been helping me with some "fixation" issues I get from time to time (can't stop working on a project, or reading web forums like this one all night long LOL). As mentioned elsewhere in this thread, these sound issues often feel like a fixation as well. Once I tune into the sound, I notice it more and more, until I am anticipating it before it has left my MIL's mouth (ice chewing, in her case). The interesting part is that my doctor tells me that ADHD often goes hand in hand with some mild OCD symptoms, and that OCD symptoms have been linked to imbalances between dopamine levels and seritonin levels in our brains. Now seratonin helps regulate our sleep patterns, and melatonin (a precursor used to create seritonin) is only produced by our bodies when we are in deep sleep, so it could be concievable that these are all tied together. Lack of quality sleep=neurochemical imbalances=OCD symptoms=sound fixations?
Time for bed...

Make sense. Great analogy. Rewarded!

tree oh tree
11-24-08, 06:40 AM
Apparently sound sensitivity can also occur becasue of damage to the ears or head trauma. I think maybe my sound sensitivity could be because f ythat, I have what may be slight ringing in my right ear, but then again, I'm not sure if the sound sensitivity was there before... Dilema... I should really get my ears checked out, as I do put them through alot. Yes feedback is great.

olavia
11-24-08, 07:26 PM
I just hate the sounds some people make when they eat. It is so bad that it is one of my criteria for a boyfriend:-) If he makes unpleasant sounds while eating, I just canīt see myself living with that. And how to explain the problem, lol! If I am really stressed or tired, unwanted sounds can freak me out so much. I have found myself changing place in the train again and again because somebody in the seat behind me was chewing gum!

An interesting thing perhaps worth mentioning to people interested in this, was that after a week on ritalin i developed hyperacusis. It was very very scary. I could not eat because of the sound my teeth made when they took a bite of something, I could not shower because drops of water falling sounded like bombs reaching the floor. I was simply dead scared. Luckily it passed after a couple of days. I am not sure exactly what caused it, but I think it might have happened because I stopped taking Effexor that didnīt work at all for my ADD abruptly and went directly to ritalin, and I was also taking a lot of herbs that I didnīt know could exacerbate the effect of ritalin.

Anyhow, never had that again, but once I developed an echo for like an hour, also a bit scary. If somebody could explain what all this is about, it would be great.

And yeah, I got tinnitus for 14 years. Constant annoying tinnitus. Is there a link here somewhere?

olavia
11-24-08, 08:08 PM
OMG! Looks like I just got myself a new diagnosis. Looked up selective soft sound sensitivity on the hyperacusis network message board. This is what I have! And what more, there are tons of people who have this!!

Anyone interested in this topic, do go to that forum, it is just a hilarious read with all the gum and popcorn haters. (I thought I was the only one who would change my place because of somebody chewing gum, lol.)

tree oh tree
11-26-08, 01:58 PM
My point being is that the hyperacusis could be related to hearing damage, get yourse;f checked out by a specialist if it's causining you trouble.

olavia
11-26-08, 05:57 PM
Thanks, I did, but the specialist could not come up with anything useful, and just said you have to live with that.

tree oh tree
11-28-08, 06:25 PM
Epic Fail

stef
11-28-08, 07:19 PM
well this doesn't concern me at all but i once had a colleague who was extremely upset by certain sounds - also a migraine sufferer. thanks for the explanations!

meadd823
11-30-08, 05:17 AM
Some sound sensitivity can also be caused by just having ADD and good hearing - without medications I can't filter out any stimuli so it all bombards me - I do not have brain damage or any such thing I have had my hearing tested and I hear better then 98% of the working population - I say working because it was an occupational incident that caused me to get a hearing test to begin with

My ear drums are concaved to a noticeable extent more so on one side then the other. This means it take less vibrations for me to detect sound plus I am able to detect direction and distance extremely rapidly.

I agree with having any bothersome symptoms check out by a professional though