Sound moderation


Moderate sound

Even the most diehard fans of amplified music may find themselves reaching for the volume control during withdrawal, when loud sounds can take a toll on a dysregulated nervous system. Acute sensitivity to noise, or even to everyday sounds, is a familiar experience to many people who are withdrawing from psychiatric drugs. Sound sensitivity can come in many forms—whether a startle response to a sudden noise such as a car door slamming or an aversion to background sounds such as papers crackling, refrigerators humming, people chewing, a clock ticking, or many other things that were once a normal part of the fabric of your life that may now cause undue irritation or agitation.

For many people in withdrawal who experience sound sensitivity, a prime coping strategy is simply to obtain a supply of earplugs. Some opt to invest in a good pair of noise-canceling headphones as well. Experimenting with layering a constant ambient sound, such as the noise from a fan or a white noise machine—or downloading a white noise app—may be useful, as might listening to soothing music or other audio at a low volume (where sound is concerned, what works best can be highly individual). One app/website with an extensive sound library is myNoise. YouTube is also a great resource for white noise, ocean waves, birds singing, or other sounds you might enjoy.

If you need to be in an environment where noise is expected to be problematic, consider minimizing your exposure by aiming to leave early or taking intermittent breaks to protect your nervous system from a cumulative effect.

ear plugs