* I am sharing this today (4th of July) to bring awareness to sound sensitivities big and small. I ask that whether or not you have experienced this type of sensitivity, you begin to notice when certain sounds make your friends and family uncomfortable and empathize with their very real discomfort. Thank you! *
There is sound all around us, whether we attend to it or not. If it's an unpleasant or overwhelming sound, we call it noise.
In rural areas, you may hear wildlife, wind, water rushing over stones in a river, perhaps an airplane overhead or a tractor tilling land.
In urban areas, you may hear cars honking, the movement of people coming + going, laughing + crying, sirens, music playing, dogs barking, etc.
These sounds and any others you experience make up your personal soundscape.
When we are out of alignment with our soundscape, we experience any number of feelings such as anxiety, fear, anger, confusion, distraction, panic, and overwhelm. This is super common.
If you think about it, our fight or flight response gets triggered by sound for many good reasons: babies needing to eat and sleep, animals in trouble, emergency vehicles rushing to an accident. This is a very helpful tool to keep us safe when danger is present, but sometimes our brains react to non-threatening sounds similarly. And THAT is where it gets complicated.
I personally struggle with sound sensitivity and in my journey to make peace with my soundscape, I have found several tools to self-soothe especially useful. (I am not a doctor or therapist and if you are needing more help, I encourage you to seek it! This post is based on my personal experience.)
Here are my top tips for dealing with noise:
- start a sound meditation -- you can find these online or in meditation apps.
(I am publishing my own sound meditation soon as well!)
- try using a noise app -- I use sleepio both while sleeping + awake if it's extra noisy out.
(look for pink or brown noise if high pitch noises bother you)
- take action - if it feels safe speaking to the noise creator, let them know how you are feeling and see if they would be willing to compromise their volume for your comfort.
- listen to music - sometimes filling your ears with more pleasant sound is all you need.
- embrace change - if all else fails, remember that your needs + self-care are more important than where you live/work/play and it may be worth relocating to a more peaceful space.
These tools have contributed greatly to my feeling of ease + alignment with my soundscape and I hope they do the same for you!
If you have any other tips for dealing with noise, leave a comment below!