Posts Tagged ‘sensitivity to sound’

Enjoy the Silence?

May 26th, 2010

There was a time when I thrived on noise, hullabaloo, cacophony…loud stuff. Loud meant life. Loud was exciting–whether it was the Police’s ‘Synchronicity’ blaring from my car stereo at full blast in high school or the varied carny sounds of the state fair midway, I liked the aural stimulation.

Now in my early forties, I find loud noise–particularly sharp, quick clatters– generally objectionable, and not just because I suffer a congenital hearing loss. It’s because loud noises can shatter my thoughts, rob me of my peace.  Sometimes even my wife’s innocent footfall on the stairs after her long day annoy me–though not nearly as much as the way she sounds as if she is breaking dishes rather than loading them into the dishwasher.

I walk with a quiet step–learned it in acting training years ago and never lost it. I put the dishes in the dishwasher or the cupboard deliberately, efficiently and often almost silently. Economy of movement equals quiet.

A ringing phone irritates me before I even know who’s calling.

My toddler’s cries are generally music to my ears, but there are times when her plaintive whining and screaming for cookies is a feeling akin to pain between my ears.

My wife and child have done nothing wrong, they are merely doing what comes naturally. It’s my unnatural sensitivity that is out of the ordinary. I have to deal with it.

Sensitivity to sound can also be a symptom of depression or anxiety, which I have lived with most of my life. Though not in a depressive mode now, I still lapse into severe sensitivity to sound several times a month. It makes me irritable and jumpy. Unsettled.

There’s really no cure for my issue with loud noise.  There are times–usually alone in my car–when I crank the stereo way up–so perhaps it is sound that is not created on my terms is the problem? Perhaps it is my lack of control over the sound? Ooph.

Right now, as I type this alone in my house I can hear the cars passing outside, a generator running across the street and a slight ringing in my ears.

It is not silence, but it is actually pleasant.