Sparky, man among men, told me to go stay at a hotel for a few days. That man rocks! The air conditioning in this hotel? Not so much. So, I stepped out to have lunch with a dear friend while they fixed it. Lunch was wonderful; air conditioning is on probation.
On my way back to the room, I was joined in the elevator by two women who were having a conversation about the color a friend had chosen for her wedding. I think; it wasn’t all in English. The elevator here has no carpeting in it, so the acoustics are…intense. As the doors opened and we got in, the volume of their conversation amplified ten fold. It reverberated off the walls and made my ears throb. All I could think was, OMG! don’t they know how loud they’re talking? I guess they didn’t because they didn’t lower their voices an iota. I’d probably be deaf by now if they had gone further than the second floor. I’m only mostly kidding about that.
So, yeah. Loud noises. Not a fan.
Zoo Keeper used to be bothered by loud noises as well, but seems to have outgrown that. BamBam, on the other hand, covers his ears and chastises me when I get excited reading to him and say, “All aboard!” too loud. He snuggles one ear into the booth or my leg and covers the other with his hand when the waitstaff at Red Robin sing their birthday song to anyone in the restaurant. I think that’s part of why he leaves movies, even sensory sensitive ones, early: to get away from the sound.
That’s why, when Zoo Keeper wanted to see the fireworks at a local summer festival, we decided to keep BamBam home. That meant I got to stay home as well, which was fine by me. Apparently there was a funk band playing before the fireworks started and Zoo Keeper had a fabulous time getting his groove on. Sparky texted me while Zoo Keeper danced, “Concert here, loud music. B would already be ready to leave…You too 🙂 ” I would have been ready to leave in the car before we got there, but that’s the kind of spoil sport I am.
When I was a teenager, it drove my parents mad that I could hear whatever they were talking about, wherever in the house they were talking. Different floor, opposite end of the house. Good thing they didn’t talk to each other that much.
My startle reflex is on hyperdrive, too. I think it’s because I have excellent hearing as well as an ability to focus on what I’m doing, so if I don’t hear you approaching and you touch me, I scream bloody murder. One of my college roommates had to wake me up a couple of times and she hated it because my reaction of intense fear at being startled awake scared the shit out of her. Still sorry about that, J. 🙂
On the other hand, the startle reflex could be due to my inability to hear in certain situations. My dad had the same thing, but we called it selective hearing. I understand now that it’s not selective at all; given the choice, I’d be able to hear in any situation. As it is, when there’s too much background noise, I can’t discern the voice of the person sitting next to me. I don’t mean rock concert level background noise, either. I’m talking restaurant level.
I was recently visiting with some friends in a restaurant that wasn’t especially loud. The friend sitting across from me thought she had offended me when I asked her to repeat something and I thought I had offended her by her reaction. I’m really glad she reached out later to talk about it because I was able to tell her that I wasn’t at all offended by what she said, I just couldn’t hear her the first time.
So, loud noises and sudden (to me) noises. Shrill noises bother me, too. Finger nails on chalkboard, though I think that’s a pretty common one. Silverware scraping on plates. Those noises physically hurt me, though I can’t say exactly where they hurt me. A chill runs down my spine and my whole torso clenches. Doesn’t hurt my legs at all, so I got that going for me, which is nice.
Auditory processing disorder coupled with “superhuman” hearing (that is what my daughter’s audiologist called it). I’m sure you, B, and I would be given the same diagnosis. As I read this and was reminded of many of the times I’ve been driven to near madness because of sounds, it dawned on me that I should be thankful for the inability to concentrate on one sound in the presence of too much background noise (APD). I think I may have actually been driven to madness at some points (especially at night when needing sleep) if playing white noise or music did not cancel out the annoying noise.
My mom is deaf in one ear, which meant that she is a loud talker. As kids, we had to remember which side to sit on if we wanted her to hear us. (It was a big family – I’m sure there were times my mom was happy to have quiet at least on one side!
Marty and I have noticed that our condo, with its concrete walls, is MUCH more soundproof than our old house was. Sometimes we can hear more going on in the street below us than we really need to hear, but it seems quiet inside most of the time. It can be frustrating if you’re trying to talk to someone in the next room, though – it’s like speaking through a sound barrier!