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Why am I so sensitive to noises?

Posted by Julia on July 12, 1999 at 01:33:58
For the past few years (at least) I have been extremely sensitive to sound.  For one thing, loud noises seem to hurt my ears more than others around me, and I always think other people have the volume on tvs and stereos uncomfortably loud.  But the most difficult part is that I find certain noises extremely annoying and anxiety/anger-provoking, whether they are loud or not.  For example (one out of many):  at times, my coworker's computer hard drive makes a grinding sound every twenty seconds or so.  This sound is NOT loud, but when I hear it I can't focus on anything else but that sound. I wear earplugs almost all day at work, and often at night, but sometimes I can STILL hear the sounds through the earplugs, and I'm tired of wearing them all the time.  People always tell me I'm crazy - they can't believe I'm bothered by all these barely audible sounds.  Why does this happen, and is there anything I can do to make myself less sensitive?  Thank you!

Posted by HFHS M.D.- HG on July 16, 1999 at 07:00:04
Dear Julia
Several medical and psychiatric conditions can cause a person to have problems with noises. Auditory hallucinations are false perceptions of sounds, during which a person can hear sounds or voices of people when no one else around them can hear. I am not convinced from the information you provided that you ever had hallucination. Medical problems, particularly ear diseases, can make a person hypersensitive to noises.
I would recommend you to consult your physician to have a thorough evaluation to rule out any medical causes for the problem. If the problem still persists, you should consider evaluation by a trained mental heath professional. For scheduling an appointment at Henry Ford Hospital Behavioral Services, you can call 248-689-7476. This information is provided for general educational purpose only and should not replace evaluation by a physician.
Key words: Hallucinations

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