Many people may not have heard of this condition before now, but it’s real, and I have it. I decided to write about my experience with hyperacusis and how I’ve learned to live with it.
I don’t recall a specific time frame that this problem began, it feels like I’ve always had it, but I was told about the condition and told that this is what I have a couple of years ago when I went to go and see a doctor about it. I was probably at my worst with it at this time, the slightest sound would send me off into a frenzy of rage, sounds like people eating, breathing, the sound of cardboard rubbing against each other, sounds that are generally unpleasant anyway, turned up a notch and sent me flying.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s no way I’ll ever get over it and sit in a room happily whilst someone next to me is eating, it’s always gonna aggravate me, but I’ve just learned different coping methods to get me through it without screaming at them to, “Shut the hell up.”
There are too many sounds to list that are a trigger, it’s why I went to see a doctor to begin with because I just couldn’t live like it anymore and it was affecting my relationships with my friends and family – more my family than my friends though. I decided that enough is enough.
When I was telling the doctor about the issue, how angry I get and how I was verbally attacking people and sometimes getting physically violent too, she seemed understanding and asked me if there’s anything I do to calm down so I told her, “At night time I sleep with earphones in to block out the sound of my sister snoring, but that’s about it.”
She told me that the condition I was suffering was called Hyperacusis, and explained what it was, and that it is a name for a condition where the sufferer experiences levels of intolerance towards sounds which causes significant distress to their moods and affects their way of living. She told me to continue using my earphones to block out the sound of snoring, but not to play the music too loud, even though less than a year later Lauren moved out and I didn’t need to use my earphones anymore and instead sleep with my music playing out loud since I’ve ended up conditioning myself to be unable to sleep without music. She then told me it was best to leave a situation where I was getting angry, even though sometimes I’ll be put in a position where I can’t just get up and leave, so to also practice tolerance a little more.
I took her advice pretty seriously, and four years on I still sometimes have to remind myself of what she told me. I can tolerate sounds for a slightly longer amount of time now before speaking up or leaving the situation, sounds still make me feel disgusted and angry, it won’t change, but that little bit of tolerance has made all of the difference.
Living with hyperacusis isn’t life threatening but it is linked to anxiety and depression, which is obviously a massive issue on its own, and some sufferers experience different levels of pain through certain sounds too. There is also no known cure for hyperacusis, you can’t just take some medicine and the problem is gone, so it’s all about practicing tolerance and handling your moods IF you’re not one of the sufferers who also experiences pain with certain sounds too, otherwise you do have the option of trying different therapies.
Ever since hearing about what this condition is, and knowing that I’m not some weirdo who hates the sound of people putting a fork through some fries to the point she could punch ’em, I’ve learned a lot about coping, and learning tolerance. This just felt like a good time to talk about it properly, and I hope that anyone experiencing this goes and talks to a doctor about it too.