Saturday, 12 November 2022

MS, Noise Sensitivity & Tinnitus

Loud ambient sounds (such as a crowded shopping centre) occasionally seem unnaturally amplified and disconcerting to me.

"I feel like an unskilled juggler facing too many balls when trying to handle conversations from multiple sources in the same setting" - @PaulTraynier

➽ Then sometimes, certain frequencies seem very distinct (ie. often low/almost inaudible sounds: eg. the motor of the fridge running; the neighbour's vacuum, the washing machine in the distance, a fan running in the next room, the goldfish tank filters)...

➽ Another good example: the sound of the shower water gurgling down the drain seems very loud to me, so I cover the drain hole with a small cloth while the water is running, until the water level in the recess gets to c.1/2 inch / 2cms, then let the water drain out. Silly little thing... but works for me.

Strangely disconcerting!

And yes, it's an MS thing.

These days I wear special earplugs* if I go to see a live band etc; even then sometimes the sounds may seem too loud for me - which is very frustrating as I love watching live music.

"It’s very unsettling. Set yourself a safe place, like Chemist, bookshop or an open space in the middle so you know there’s somewhere to head to that you can help center yourself & get back on your way." - Annie Fisher @handmadebyagirl

"Hyperacusis is characterized by an increased sensitivity to everyday sounds. Most of the time, this hypersensitivity is accompanied by an aversion to the sounds, even if they are not typically considered unpleasant. In fact, you may be surprised that you are so easily bothered by noise. You may also feel head or ear pain, generalized physical discomfort, and annoyance in response to noises, even if they are soft or high pitched.

"Hyperacusis can affect one or both ears and you may have a heightened ability to hear certain noises even as you lose the ability to hear other sounds or frequencies. 

"You may also experience tinnitus (ringing in the ears), dizziness, loss of balance, nausea, or vertigo along with your hypersensitivity to sounds. This is because the region in the brain that controls hearing also controls your sense of balance." (Source)

"Tinnitus is commonly described as a ringing in the ears, but it also can sound like roaring, clicking, hissing, or buzzing. It may be soft or loud, high pitched or low pitched."

I've realised my Tinnitus (ringing/buzzing in the ears) is much more audibly noticeable some days, especially when I am very tired. Some certain frequencies sometimes actually hurt (and not loud ones!) This is not all due to loud music exposure, either. I often find it kicks in after a period of shortness of breath, and if I am feeling very tired, but passes after about 3 minutes or so.

And yes: it's an MS thing.

I do not listen to loud music/sound at all - honest!

Again - it happens randomly, and not all the time (but then, when there is normal background noise, I may not be aware of it? Hmmm...)

➽ Article: MS & Tinnitus
➽ Article: MS and Tinnitus: How To Manage Ringing in the Ears

*These are the earplugs I use to help alleviate loud sounds, like live music and lawn mowing etc. You can still hear everything clearly, but it sounds like the volume level has been reduced by c.75%.

Is it all connected to my occasional online "Sensory Overload"?

More Information: (01)  (02)  (03

Peas be with ewe 


  1. I have been noticing this more and more often. I have tried to describe my audio sensitivity and have found it almost impossible. How do you describe to someone without MS that some noises make me feel physical pain, my nerves actually hurt from certain noises. My family just looks at me like I am crazy and say okay; it is easier to do than to ask clarification questions. You know that pain when you hit your funny bone? Some sounds hurt me like that.