I can hear you chew like you’re crushing gravel in my ears. The dog licks herself like she’s clicking and slurping in surround sound for me. The omnipresent beep of scanners at the grocery store vibrates in my teeth.
You might have guessed–today’s post is about hypervigilance and its offspring–misophonia. After a violent attack, or any sort of life-threatening trauma, your body’s alarm system gets a bit broken. It goes off all of the time for no good reason.
And mine goes off when evening approaches. I was attacked at night, so sounds crescendo before the sun even sets. And I’m on edge, like I’m trapped in a closet in a slasher flick, and the killer is just on the other side of the door.
I used to hide in my closet a lot because the world was too loud. And I couldn’t handle normal dinner time sounds with my kids. No one did anything wrong. I just couldn’t coexist with the noise.
Here are a few things that helped: noise cancelling headphones (though I haven’t found a pair that I can’t hear through), ear plugs, learning not to put myself in crowds for long.
Caveats: I communicate clearly about my noise intolerance so that my family know why I am hidden away. And I should warn you that people sometimes think you’re a rude teenager who won’t take their headphones off, if you walk around in public with the headphones on. People also assume you can’t hear them, even if the headphones are only making the roar around you bearable.
I have looked into earplugs designed to only reduce certain frequencies like Calmer. I haven’t tried it yet though, so if you have insight into that product, I’d love to hear about it.