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Posts: 1
Reply with quote  #1 
Hi, I'm new to this forum, so please bare with me.

I have panic disorder and associated agoraphobia which I am only beginning to realise the extent of.  One of my 'issues' is an inability to filter out noise and is playing havoc with my working life.  I am a teacher in a special school and while I can cope with the relatively low and predictable noise in my classroom, I can't sit in the staff room, the dinner hall and have to make my excuses to leave debate - type staff meetings.  Basically, if more than one person is speaking in a room I feel as though my head is going to explode.

My issues with going into public places are a little more complex than just noise, but I was hoping that in solving the 'noise' issue the others may be easier to deal with.

Can anyone help me?  I would love to understand what has caused this and how best to tackle it.

Posts: 14
Reply with quote  #2 

Your tale sounds quite very like my own problems.

I have had no actual diagnosis, but Im sure I have some sort of stress/anxiety/panic disorder.

I am totally unable to turn many sounds off, and if I actually start to dislike certain sounds (eg car noise, bass music) , then I can get very very anxious and uncomfortable (even if they are not actually that loud).

But now the whole spectrum seems loud to me, and I have real trouble not just at home with kids etc, but also at work in an open plan office.

I can relate to the issue where if there is more than one source to the noise, it feels like my head will explode.


Posts: 117
Reply with quote  #3 
Hi Short/Miso,

I am relatively new to the "hearing disorder" category - mine being the result of a static shock conducted through my iPod/earphones causing head trauma, hyperacusis, tinnitus and an "impressive" audiogram (off the audiological chart).

I spent three months with an allergy to noise.  Experiencing excruciating pain at the smallest sound.  I am two months into eight months of Neuromonics treatment.  While it has been great, I too experience what you two do.

I'm unable to work as I cannot tolerate the sound of airconditioning, computer fans, ringing telephones, more than 2-3 people speaking at once.  Lately I have been experimenting with getting amongst larger and larger groups (read:  more than 10 people).

I am a lawyer and was employed by a medium tier national firm until October this year.  I find it unacceptable that I cannot focus around more than 2-3 people.

Some things I have found that help:

- a point of focus - it is very 'unsociable', but if I am left by myself, I pull out my iPhone and start surfing, texting, anything ... it helps to make background noise, background (otherwise things get unbearably loud)
- better if someone is with you and you can just focus on their speaking (places with water features seem more conducive to this - as it is a neutral noise)
- Neuromonics hearing device on low volume works a treat (if you have a normal audiological profile, ie not sensitive hearing, relaxation music on an iPod may do the trick for you)
- some alcohol ... more than enough and things start to become insanely funny to me ...  (as then each conversation becomes crystal clear, and people say the darnedest things when they think no one is listening)

Not sure how the latter would go down in a school setting but running shrieking from the room (as I sometimes feel prone to doing) isn't a good look either! 

Posts: 429
Reply with quote  #4 
Hi Shortstuff,
I don't really have agoraphobia, just T and H, but have been trying meditation as a means of helping myself.  Recently my hubby found a book with a Cd which he ordered for me.  It is called In Stillness Conquer Fear by Pauline McKinnon and it outlines a method called Stillness Meditation Therapy.  The reason why I think this may be of interest to you is that the author herself suffered severely from agoraphobia for 8 years and finally was able to cure herself by practising this meditation method under the guidance of the psychiatrist who developed it.  The book tells her story as well as explaining the method and can be ordered on line and it is not horrendously expensive.  This method is not difficult and the CD is a great help to get started.

Perhaps reducing the panic disorder might help to reduce the hearing sensitivity.

Posts: 443
Reply with quote  #5 

lack of magnesium (& other 'anti-stress' minerals) is generally linked to anxiety, depression, and similar stuff.. there are studies on medline to prove it... AND some people link magnesium, zinc, calcium etc. to hyperacusis too (mostly anecdotal, personal experience too..)

So if you start tracking your nutrition on or Cronometer or such, you will best see which minerals or vitamins you are lacking and what you need... to take in more with food or supplements... but consult doctor and/or nutricionist or pharmacist, & many books or sites yourself, before taking anything..
Maybe you need to eat different foods, &/or more often...

And this may help both your 'issues' - the psychological and the noise sensitivity...

Please stay away from alcohol: sugar, alcohol and coffee actually deplete minerals or prevent absorption and may make things worse in the long run...
Some people also have food sensitivities (eg to gluten, milk/lactose etc), so you may want to keep a food diary and see when it's better and when worse..

If you tell us a bit about your nutrition and what you lack (from tracking on or Cronometer for a few days at least) we may be able to tell you more.. Are you vegetarian or vegan? It may be even more important to track your nutrition or any supplements then...

Also, EFT ( )or CBT (=cognitive behavioral therapy, with a good therapist, or at least a good book or two) might help you for phobias etc. But nutrition is still key!!
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