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Noise

I wanted to share this because this is a problem which limits my life and my Neurologist has not discussed with me despite my mentioning the problem every time I visit him. I have asked the MS Society to put information about this problem in the magazine.

Why Noise Can Be a Pain in Multiple SclerosisBy Deborah Mitchell G+

2013-12-31 09:33

Noise sensitivity and MS

One of the features of multiple sclerosis (MS) you don’t hear about much (pun intended) is noise sensitivity, also known as hyperacusis. Yet while it appears from my inquiries and from exploring the forums that hypersensitivity to noise and sounds is a common issue among MSers, there also seems to be amazingly little literature on the topic.

Everyone’s experience with hyperacusis is unique, but generally it is characterized by an increased sensitivity to everyday sounds in the environment, such as barking dogs, honking horns, traffic, clapping, and rattling dishes. The most irritating and disturbing sounds are usually high-pitched noises like a smoke alarm or screaming young children.

Read more about MS triggers

Some people with hyperacusis become so bothered by this problem they develop phonophobia, or fear of noise. This phobia can cause them to try to completely avoid situations and places that can have distressful noise. Unfortunately, that can lead to people becoming afraid to leave their home and being unable to cope in the real yet noisy world.

Hyperacusis and MS
According to the limited literature I could find on the subject, hyperacusis in MS can occur in one or both ears and happens in people who otherwise have normal hearing. The hypersensitivity is associated with demyelinating lesions present in the central auditory area.

One report explained the findings of three individuals with normal hearing, hyperacusis, and MS. One of the patients experienced sharp pain in his cheek whenever the phone rang while another felt intense sensations from various nonverbal sounds. The third individual experienced annoying echoes and problems with directional hearing.

All three patients underwent measurement of their brainstem auditory evoked response to measure their brain wave activity as well as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brainstem.

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The three individuals all showed changed auditory evoked potentials with suggestions of a lesion in the brainstem. The subsequent MRI then revealed demyelinating lesions in the ipsilateral pons and in the central auditory pathway.

How to deal with hyperacusis
In the study just mentioned, the authors suggested the use of serotonin reuptake inhibitors, which include Celexa (citalopram), Lexapro (escitalopram), Prozac (fluoxetine), and Zoloft (sertraline), but they can cause significant side effects. Another suggestion was acoustic lenses. Some people have reported some success using ear plugs or wearing ear muffs.

If you also suffer please email the MS Society and lets get more focus on this silent, invisible symptom which is blighting our lives.

Cheers, Moira

Hello,

Thansk for posting this, it rings a very loud (sorry :wink: bell for me! Since I was dx in 09 I have been very sensitive to noise, and it is particularly bad when I’m relapsing, as i am now, though it isn’t just noise, I’m also very sensitive to bright lights, so does that fit with the hyperacusis pattern? Supermarkets in paticular are just a sensory overload, so I’ve given up even trying. In fact I’ve been hiding at home for the last two weeks, as going anywhere busy makes me so dizzy and wobbly and gives me unbearable panicky feelings. Today I attmepted a trip to the library and was fine on the bus journey, but walking along the busy road was awful, I think mainly because of the noise of the traffic.

I live in a busy household, with three teenagers, and there’s often the radio in one room, the tv in another, two or three differnet bands playing in other rooms, aural nightmare! I have to retreat outside or to my room till things quieten down. It definitely has a detrimental effect on my life, haven’t been able to go to the pub for months, and haven’t yet returned to work. I will be very interested to see how others cope with this problem.

Gilly xxx

I’m another who suffers with this.

Sleeping is a nightmare - we’re under a flight path but 200 miles from Heathrow. I’m woken every day at 4-ish when the planes start going over. I cannot have a window open, even when it’s really hot, as the noise just kills me. My neighbour has 3 dogs that bark a lot and it physically hurts my ears. Even birds on the roof or cawing and sqwaking outside upset me.

A few years ago, another neighbour had 2 cockerels outside my bedroom window that not only woke me, but kept crowing all day. It sounded as if they were sitting on the window ledge with the window open. I was suicidal.

The ice cream van is another noise that physically hurts, even when the windows are closed. Some musical noise will hurt, too - the ting in the Dexter theme music makes me cringe. Ear plugs hurt and give me lingering ear-ache, even the new types that fit on the outside of the ear rather than the ones that sit inside the canal.

Bright lights also affect me quite badly. I also have a filter on my computer screen to cut glare that hurts my eyes.

I’ve been called a miserable old bag, too, but these symptoms are very real and really hurt and upset me. I’ll be reading this thread with interest to see if someone out there has the answer. Here’s living in hope!

I’m another who suffers with this.

Sleeping is a nightmare - we’re under a flight path but 200 miles from Heathrow. I’m woken every day at 4-ish when the planes start going over. I cannot have a window open, even when it’s really hot, as the noise just kills me. My neighbour has 3 dogs that bark a lot and it physically hurts my ears. Even birds on the roof or cawing and sqwaking outside upset me.

A few years ago, another neighbour had 2 cockerels outside my bedroom window that not only woke me, but kept crowing all day. It sounded as if they were sitting on the window ledge with the window open. I was suicidal.

The ice cream van is another noise that physically hurts, even when the windows are closed. Some musical noise will hurt, too - the ting in the Dexter theme music makes me cringe. Ear plugs hurt and give me lingering ear-ache, even the new types that fit on the outside of the ear rather than the ones that sit inside the canal.

Bright lights also affect me quite badly. I also have a filter on my computer screen to cut glare that hurts my eyes.

I’ve been called a miserable old bag, too, but these symptoms are very real and really hurt and upset me. I’ll be reading this thread with interest to see if someone out there has the answer. Here’s living in hope!

Arrgh! Apologies - I have no idea why I keep having double-posts.

i told my neuro about the distress i had in a busy shopping centre (trafford centre) due to the sparkly flooring and the multitude of young children running about.

he sympathised with me suffering from sensory overload but had no suggestions for helping it.

i feel like a miserable old bag as well but woe betide anyone who calls me that!!

carole x

And there was me thinking I was just turning into Mr Grumpy!
This thread has unravelled a huge conundrum for me!
I can identify with so many of your symptoms it’s a real revelation!
Even though after having spent my working life in heavy industry with all the associated noise I have been diagnosed with Industrial deafness yet I still find “sharp” high pitched noises make my head “rattle”!
I had hearing aids prescribed some years ago to help with the industrial deafness but have stopped wearing then as I find the
slightly muffled world a much cosier and friendly place!

Thank you all so much for sharing!

Steve.

This is really interesting. I seem to have developed a fear of low flying planes and cover my ears as doon as i think there is one coming. I tell myself its only a noise and cant hurt but leaves my heart pounding. I feel like a 3yr old. Also some other nouses make me feel im going to explodeinside (bit like the bird on shriek when fiona sings) its like my brain goes frantic almost over loaded. But other times i can play my music load when driving. i just thought i was getting a short fuse about my psrtners choice in music,yet i used to like it!

I had to put ear plugs in the other morning as my son was up early for work and he likes to play music to ‘bring him round’! I like to come round gently (I start work at 8.30 am but don’t wake up until 9.00 am unfortunately) and I couldn’t bear it. I knew he would just think I was being grumpy if I said anything so I put my ear plugs in which tuned it out nicely. I’m one of 5 children so used to be able to ignore background noise but now it really makes me grind my teeth!

I have given up shopping as it’s just too noisy especially at Christmas. I prefer to shop online or go shopping at odd times of the day/evening when it’s a bit quieter.

Tracey x

I don’t have a physical reaction to noise but a strong emotional one - I feel a mixture of very strong anxiety and anger and I know I over-react very quickly to a neighbour doing something noisy - particularly to loud music. I don’t know if this is connected to the subject under discussion or not.

I posted separately about the anxiety that I’m suffering at the moemtn, and one of the triggers is definietly loud noises, it’s a bit of a chicken and egg question though, do I hate loud noises because of the anxiety, or do the loud noises make me anxious?

gilly xxx

Thank you for posting this…I hope my oh will read it.

He cannot understand why it makes me edgy and then crazy when he scrapes cutlery on dishes and plates.

I find noise and bright light especially distressing when I am very tired…most of the time.

Even the birds which I used to love to hear chirping in the hedge near my window drive me nuts.

I too shop online, hate supermarkets and if on a rare occasion I do go into one I am out asap but oh wants to browse…again he cannot understand why I am so desperate to leave.

It is a horrible added ms issue and I will write to MS Society to back up your request to have more articles and info on this.

Ell

Hi all

Thank you for responding. I am now getting my dander up about this and would lik to ask for your help.

Please send a copy of your comment to infoteam@mssociety.org.uk with a request to have some editorial on this in the MS Magazine.

Sensory overload is overlooked and often ignored by Neurologists as in the too hard catergory and I want to raise this as much as possible.

Keept discussing it.

Have a nuice quiet day.

Cheers

Moira

I was reading about hyperacusis and hypervigilence a while back. Anxiety from what I read can cause hypervigilence (being on guard and an enhanced state of sensitivity) I think I had both when I had my VI nerve plasy double vision. Thanks for the thread about hyperacusis.

Hi Moira

I totally get you with this! Lound, noisy places really bother me. Supermarkets and traffic noise especially drive me crazy. As I have balance problems do to my vision I assumed my hearing was extra sensitive to make up for it but this is very interesting,will ask my Neuro next appointment.

Dave