How Anxiety Causes Hypersensitivity to Sound

How Anxiety Causes Hypersensitivity to Sound

Anxiety-it’s a condition that saps the the joy and peace out of the lives of so many in our modern society, and it brings with a variety of little-known side effects that contribute to the overall misery of its sufferers. One of these little-known side effects is hypersensitivity to sound. Fortunately, hypersensitivity to sound, like every other symptom caused by anxiety, is treatable. Read on to learn more about this condition, and advice on overcoming it.

Hypersensitivity to sound is related to biochemical changes in the body, due to increased levels of stress and anxiety. Sound familiar? Stress, in moderate amounts, is vital to the proper functioning of our bodies, but an excessive amount can take a drastic and devastating toll. Many anxiety sufferers have reported increased auditory hypersensitivity, especially during panic attacks. Not only that, but the site reports that all of our sensory perceptions tend to be heightened during these times, including our sense of touch, taste and smell. Fortunately, once the anxiety abides, so do these symptoms. The key is to deal with the root cause, the anxiety. Nutritional formulas may also be helpful. Studies show that magnesium deficiencies can create hypersensitivity to sound, so it wouldn’t hurt to increase magnesium levels in the diet or to take magnesium supplements.

Specifically, anxiety sufferers feel that every noise they hear is amplified. No matter how minute the noise may be, it strikes them with an intensity that it is much more difficult to bear.

As you may already know, our bodies are evolutionary wired for the “fight or flight” response. When our bodies go into panic mode, we react with an increased heart, increased muscle intention, accelerated breathing, and a “zap” of energy that was designed to aid us in escaping from a potential predator. Hence, we also tend to experience an increased awareness and heightened sensory perceptions.

However, it’s important to note that hypersensitivity to sound, on its own,  can be a symptom of several different problems.  Typically, symptoms of anxiety disorders include difficulty sleeping, muscle tension, jumpiness, anxious thoughts and excessive worrying. The worrying experienced by an anxiety disorder is above and beyond the typical worrying that we all experience in our daily lives, and is an extreme response to situations that should only warrant mild concern.

To truly address the symptom of noise hypersensitivity, it’s important to address the root of the problem-the anxiety. Deep breathing, meditation and yoga are all wonderful methods of addressing anxiety. In fact, studies show that yoga can actually increase GABA levels in the brain, the same chemical that pharmaceutical drugs for anxiety are said to address. Also, it’s important to cut stimulant drugs from your diet, specifically caffeine. The goal is to calm your nervous system, not energize it! Unfortunately, these treatments won’t be enough for all people, and at that point, professional help is called for. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a wonderful form of counseling that can address the faulty thinking that so often leads to anxious feelings.

By implementing the above methods, you’ll be well on your way to conquering anxiety.


“Sound Sensitivity: A Summary of Probable Causes of Hypersensitivity to Sound.” AIT Institute. October 6, 2012. <>

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