February 26th, 2008
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“The dog is driving me crazy!” LuLu exclaimed during her grammar test last week. I was puzzled what she meant, since the dog was all the way across the room, chewing on her bone. But the sound of the dog’s teeth scraping across the bone was distracting to LuLu.

I’ve noticed, since being so attuned to LuLu’s sensitivity to noise, and the way she’s unable to stop her emotional escalation when noise is a trigger, that I, too, am irritated by noise.

As life goes on here, and Mom lives with many more stressors than I had a decade ago, I realize that noisy environments, screaming kids, and extremely loud music cause me to bristle. Kay laughs at me because I turn the radio down when traffic gets precarious while I’m driving. It’s like I can’t handle background noise and concentrate at the same time.


What causes noise sensitivity, and what can you do about it? LuLu’s noise sensitivity became apparent the first time she curled up into a fetal position at one of Kay’s softball games when she was only home a few months. I had no idea what was wrong with her, because prior to that she had been playing happily in the dirt behind the backstop. But the cheering of the crowd had not only startled her, but overwhelmed her sensory system (I didn’t know that then). By the time I picked her up, she was coming out scratching and biting (herself and me). It didn’t take us long to figure out that noise was a factor.

The OTs we took her to for evaluations told us emphatically that noise sensitivity was not the same thing as sensory integration dysfunction or problems with her auditory system (both of which LuLu turns out to have as well). But no one really offered much solution to the noise sensitivity.

The odd thing about it is that it isn’t consistent. While she would be triggered at the ringing of a fire alarm or a honking car many times, sometimes she wouldn’t, if she were very intently focused on something else. Before long, though, some basic situations where noise was likely were enough to cause her to be triggered. No more ballgames, large crowds, balloons, clapping, dogs (they might bark) or chirping key baubles when you lock your car. (We had to figure out how to silence these.)

Interestingly enough, I just found a website that suggests that noise sensitivity may be linked to magnesium deficiency. LuLu was highly magnesium deficient when we started doing biomedical interventions and supplements. But LuLu is still noise sensitive, even though she’s been supplementing magnesium for years.

Recently, after the HBOT, I’ve noticed an increase in her desire to wear ear plugs in everyday situations. I love it that she’s finally utilizing the ear plugs, and that they allow her to enjoy movies, church and other events more. But wearing them around everywhere is problematic, because it’s hard for her to hear me at a distance, and it makes her own speech much quieter and a bit more garbled.

But the website pointed out that some vitamins we’re giving LuLu, B6 in particular, are antagonists of magnesium. I knew that zinc and magnesium had to be dosed at different times, because they counteract. But I never thought of watching to see if her vitamins were counteracting other supplements.

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4 Responses to “Noise Sensitivity…What Causes It?”

  1. Chromesthesia says:

    Does she hate the chirping noise those walkie talkie phones make?
    I hate that noise. it goes all through me and so does gum popping. screichy noises like scratching nails on chalkboards and other such irratating things.

  2. condo-mom says:

    Joy cannot handle certain types of noise, some of which the rest of us enjoy. The singing in church, for example, is “Too loud !!” On the other hand she sleeps right through her (loud enough) alarm clock and the parakeet chirping right near her head. Certain kinds of sounds she simply tunes out: radio where people are talking a lot, like the news, will go right past her. She considers it cruel and unusual if I ask her to listen and then tell me what it was about. Well, I guess I should be glad that she’ll never run away and join a band or turn into a groupie . . . Rachel

  3. Toni-EvinNRobsMom says:

    I have a similar problem with Robert, everything has to be silent when homework is being done or he really can’t concentrate. Same thing with reading. If the T.V. is on or if I try to put the dishes away, it’s too much of a distraction. Before we knew wheat was going on with him, we’d be going somewhere and have the music on, and his eyes would start to tear up and he’s tell us to turn the music down. I feel bad now because looking back, we thought he was just trying to get attention.

  4. fbeauley says:

    My son had severe sensory issues. I used auditory therapy http://www.soundtherapysystems.com and it has helped immensely.

    Sharon did a wonderful job with helping me along.

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