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Around six or seven years ago, I began noticing a sensitivity with sounds. On occasion, I’d have lunch in the cafeteria at my work, and some days I’d just want to run outside away from all the noise. The clattering of dishes, the loud conversations, and the cell phones… God, the cell phones… they drove me insane.

I began to find different places to eat my lunch and I even invested in a pair of noise cancelling headphones for the rare occasions I’d need eat in the cafeteria.

A few years went by, and I found myself struggling at my desk at work. I worked in the lobby of a hospital, so again, I was subject to the cell phones and peoples loudspeaker phone conversations and sometimes it would just be too much. I did some research and discovered Loop, some ear plugs that are designed to quiet sounds down just a little and I began wearing them from time-to-time.

Then in 2021, Brandy and I moved in with my mom and stepfather after she was laid off from work, and that didn’t help my sound sensitivity. My stepdad only has one volume, and that’s loud. He slams doors, cabinets, and the cell phone is always on full blast and speaker. The TV is window rattling loud and pretty much from 6 AM till 11 PM it’s like being in a building with a circus.

When that relationship dissolved, and we moved out rather quickly, we ended up in the terrible apartment we just moved out of. I’ve lived on first floor apartments in the past, but this one was beyond terrible. Non-stop stomping all hours of the day and night, parties on the deck most weekends, loud music in the bathrooms, and horrific food smells. I did everything in my power to try and work with the neighbors and the apartment complex, but at the end of the day, I ended up with a lot of sound machines, fans, the TV on YouTube brown noise videos, and air fresheners to make it through the night.

Thankfully, I do not have that problem at my new apartment. It’s much quieter and with exception of the occasional noise from the parking lot, I rarely hear anything. We still sleep with one small noise machine to drown out any parking lot noise, but it’s so much quieter than having our TV on nearly full volume trying to get through the night.

At my job, I spend a good portion of my day on the phone. I take a lot of calls and if you don’t interact with the public on the phone, you may not realize that people seem to lack simple phone etiquette. Most of the time when I answer, the other person is talking to someone while the phone is ringing, and they don’t hear me. If they do hear me, odds are they are on a speaker phone or in car, and then will complain that my signal is bad. Of course, when I ask them if I’m on speaker, sometimes they hang up, other times they turn off speaker and magically they can hear me fine.

I deal with a lot of loud people and it’s irritating. Luckily, when the phone isn’t ringing, my office is pretty quiet, and it’s a nice reprieve. None the less, I’ve noticed my patience is running thin with the rudeness and my personal pet peeve, someone calling and ranting for two minutes and then having the nerve to ask if I’m there even though I haven’t had a moment to speak.

This past Saturday, Brandy and I stopped at Burger King. Our Burger King locations have gone downhill over the past couple of years, but she still enjoys their Original Chicken Sandwich, so once or twice a year we grab a bite there. I decided we’d go inside and hopefully get a little better service, and we could relax and eat since it was 10:45 AM and the place was nearly empty.

As we were chatting, enjoying our Saturday morning, a lady nearby decided to conduct some business on her cell phone. She was loud, very loud. She ran her mouth for three or four minutes, then asked the person if they were still there. She just kept going and going, and I began to lose it. I even yelled out loud, “Seriously!?” while glaring over at her. I tried to finish my story I was telling my wife, and she insisted we go ahead and leave.

This may not seem like a big deal, but I’m a very calm person. I don’t typically have outbursts, nor do I have to restrain myself from losing it on someone, like I did on Saturday. We left, and I quickly moved on from it, but even my wife was surprised that her “always calm” husband about snapped.

Was it due to annoyance left over from work? Is it because loud sounds and conversations bother me? Or was it simply I’m exhausted from the non-stop rudeness the world seems to have embraced? I’m not sure, but after Saturday, I realized I need to look into this. So, I took the first step yesterday and reached out to a therapist. It sounds like she’s booked up till the end of March, but out of the people I researched she seemed like the best bet for me. I’m hoping she can help me figure out this sound sensitivity thing as well as help guide me from becoming quite so worked up over some of this stuff. I’ll follow up once the therapy begins.

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  1. […] spoke about my reason for seeking therapy a few weeks ago: Sound. I have some other things I’d like to discuss as well, but first, I need to make sure this is […]

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