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Lady Strange
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21 Jun 2021, 9:28 pm

For those who are not in the USA, this time of year means 4th of July which means lots of fireworks. I have always had a real bad time with this time of year due to bad sound sensitivities. Do any of you also struggle with this? The only way I've found to survive without complete meltdown is using noise cancelling headphones and hiding in the bathroom (most soundproof room of our apartment). I hate it so much it really makes it difficult for weeks out of the summertime. People all around like to light off the fireworks. The only person who knows in real life how i cope with this is my husband, its just miserable and embarassing but its the only way i can get through. I've looked on the internet but most sites are geared toward children handling this which is annoying because it doesn't magically go away at 18 years old.


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Edna3362
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21 Jun 2021, 10:47 pm

Not me.

I struggle more around processing via quantity or unfiltered-half processed, processing power and space stealing inputting.

Sensory issues concerning intensity and tolerance is the least of my worries. :|
I don't deal with misophonia or something similar or equivalent, nor deal with anxiety based issues with noise as triggers.


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CinderashAutomaton
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22 Jun 2021, 12:14 am

Sort of. Fireworks can be pretty disruptive for me, but seems like not nearly as badly as it is for you Lady Strange. Sorry you have to go through this every year.

This is kinda long so I'll divide it into sections.

Solutions

I do have other sources of environmental noise pollution that do hit me pretty hard. To deal with it I have a couple solutions, listed in order of noise-blocking effectiveness.

a) First is the ear plugs. I bought a large box of decent quality ear plugs, with ~32-33 decibel rating. They're cheap, plentiful and comfortable enough that I can use them without any concern. In the long run it might be cheaper and more effective to get a custom-molded, reusable set of ear plugs, but the risk losing or damaging them is too much stress so I just keep to the disposables (which can be reused a fair amount).

b) Second is some audio tracks, like grey noise, rain, fireplace, winter storms etc.. which I can play on some speakers to produce a (typically) more overpowering noise environment which isn't so disruptive.

c) Because of financial and motivational/energy difficulties I haven't been able to try and create a box of noise baffles (those foam spike thingies) and sound-dampening blocks to put furniture on like I've been wanting to. The dampening blocks would be for my bed (since sound travels through solid objects much better than air), and I'd put the baffles on some cubicle walls as well as hang it from some wooden boards I'd just suspend on top of the cubicle walls. I wanted cubicle walls and an overhang so I could move it easily and use it elsewhere besides just around my bed, and it'd be a lot less complicated than trying to cover your bedroom walls, ceiling and floor.

d) My final measure is using some inner-ear ear phones to play this at full volume: https://youtu.be/omGD0GwS-VM . It drowns out absolutely everything. *Caution, it's reaaaally loud.*

Theory
I have a theory about noise disturbance and our brain's 'alarm' trigger (alarm as in something to be wary of, not the wake up sound from your smartphone in the morning):

Rather than the volume of the sound we're hearing, what triggers our body's alarm system are spikes in either the intensity of the volume or certain sound profiles (like barking dogs, yelling voices or sharp bursts like something falling or breaking).

Depending on the intensity, the disturbance increasingly interrupts our thoughts, forces us to focus on the trigger, increases our mental stress and heart rate, and releases adrenaline into our system.

So, the method I use to counteract this is to both lower the intensity of incoming sounds via barriers or noise cancellation (sound waves of similar frequency/pitch and intensity that run into each other cancel each other out), and create an artificial noise environment that covers a wide range of frequencies at an intensity high enough so that the intrusive disturbances, and the spikes of intensity they represent, just disappear into the artificial noise environment.

Personal Experience
Blasting my ears with what sounds like a 747 airbus taking off in the next room is hella loud and distracting at first, as one can imagine, but eventually it just drops into a background noise that one can sleep a full night through. To counteract the level of disturbances I face (perhaps you might not need to go as hard as I do) the volume kind of tippy-toes into the realm of potential long-term hearing loss, but the exchange of health costs and benefits is greatly to my advantage so I just accept it as an overall win.

All that I've said here has helped me to get through two potentially fatal situations. One was a constant sleep disturbance (getting multiple heavy injections of adrenaline every time you sleep, for over a year, isn't good for the heart), the other was frequent-to-near-constant daily disturbances that stressed me out so bad it changed my very nature as a quiet, gentle pacifist and did terrible things to my blood pressure and mental health. These days I'm feeling better than I have in over a decade. I still employ these measures and they help me achieve an ever-improving overall state of health.


I hope something I've mentioned helps.


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timf
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22 Jun 2021, 6:29 am

Can you and you husband take some vacation time and go to Canada?



Fireblossom
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22 Jun 2021, 9:20 am

timf wrote:
Can you and you husband take some vacation time and go to Canada?


Or some other country. Or in the middle of nowhere in USA; it's such a huge country so finding a place far enough from other people should be possible. Of course, budget is likely to get in the way of these solutions, but if it doesn't, then you're good.



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22 Jun 2021, 10:03 am

timf wrote:
Can you and you husband take some vacation time and go to Canada?


That'll just get you fireworks 3 days sooner. :wink:


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Lady Strange
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22 Jun 2021, 8:57 pm

CinderashAutomaton wrote:
Sort of. Fireworks can be pretty disruptive for me, but seems like not nearly as badly as it is for you Lady Strange. Sorry you have to go through this every year.

This is kinda long so I'll divide it into sections.

Solutions
I do have other sources of environmental noise pollution that do hit me pretty hard. To deal with it I have a couple solutions, listed in order of noise-blocking effectiveness.

a) First is the ear plugs. I bought a large box of decent quality ear plugs, with ~32-33 decibel rating. They're cheap, plentiful and comfortable enough that I can use them without any concern. In the long run it might be cheaper and more effective to get a custom-molded, reusable set of ear plugs, but the risk losing or damaging them is too much stress so I just keep to the disposables (which can be reused a fair amount).

b) Second is some audio tracks, like grey noise, rain, fireplace, winter storms etc.. which I can play on some speakers to produce a (typically) more overpowering noise environment which isn't so disruptive.

c) Because of financial and motivational/energy difficulties I haven't been able to try and create a box of noise baffles (those foam spike thingies) and sound-dampening blocks to put furniture on like I've been wanting to. The dampening blocks would be for my bed (since sound travels through solid objects much better than air), and I'd put the baffles on some cubicle walls as well as hang it from some wooden boards I'd just suspend on top of the cubicle walls. I wanted cubicle walls and an overhang so I could move it easily and use it elsewhere besides just around my bed, and it'd be a lot less complicated than trying to cover your bedroom walls, ceiling and floor.

d) My final measure is using some inner-ear ear phones to play this at full volume: https://youtu.be/omGD0GwS-VM . It drowns out absolutely everything. *Caution, it's reaaaally loud.*

Theory
I have a theory about noise disturbance and our brain's 'alarm' trigger (alarm as in something to be wary of, not the wake up sound from your smartphone in the morning):

Rather than the volume of the sound we're hearing, what triggers our body's alarm system are spikes in either the intensity of the volume or certain sound profiles (like barking dogs, yelling voices or sharp bursts like something falling or breaking).

Depending on the intensity, the disturbance increasingly interrupts our thoughts, forces us to focus on the trigger, increases our mental stress and heart rate, and releases adrenaline into our system.

So, the method I use to counteract this is to both lower the intensity of incoming sounds via barriers or noise cancellation (sound waves of similar frequency/pitch and intensity that run into each other cancel each other out), and create an artificial noise environment that covers a wide range of frequencies at an intensity high enough so that the intrusive disturbances, and the spikes of intensity they represent, just disappear into the artificial noise environment.

Personal Experience
Blasting my ears with what sounds like a 747 airbus taking off in the next room is hella loud and distracting at first, as one can imagine, but eventually it just drops into a background noise that one can sleep a full night through. To counteract the level of disturbances I face (perhaps you might not need to go as hard as I do) the volume kind of tippy-toes into the realm of potential long-term hearing loss, but the exchange of health costs and benefits is greatly to my advantage so I just accept it as an overall win.

All that I've said here has helped me to get through two potentially fatal situations. One was a constant sleep disturbance (getting multiple heavy injections of adrenaline every time you sleep, for over a year, isn't good for the heart), the other was frequent-to-near-constant daily disturbances that stressed me out so bad it changed my very nature as a quiet, gentle pacifist and did terrible things to my blood pressure and mental health. These days I'm feeling better than I have in over a decade. I still employ these measures and they help me achieve an ever-improving overall state of health.


I hope something I've mentioned helps.


Hmm, well thank you for the suggestions. I too have found that having other noise around helps it not be as bad, though I don't blast anything quite near as loud as you describe. I do use noise canceling headphones (like you'd use for shooting a gun level of noise), and also wear earbuds in my ears to play music or something distracting. Just please try not to damage your ears too bad, maybe wear earplugs while blasting the 747 sound? Actually sound dampening walls or portable walls is an interesting idea I've thought about.
I agree with you about the intensity of the noise being the big problem. It is the suddenness of it that does me in, and not being able to predict it that makes it particularly torturous. If it were loud but very predictable (like a steady rhythm to it) it would be bothersome but not as bad to cope with.


As to the questions about can I take a trip or vacation time sadly I cannot afford that, or else I probably would try to make something like that work. I wish I could as it would be the easiest option.


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Figured out in summer of 2020 about 99 percent sure that I have autism (with lots of research and help of my husband and doctor). Cannot get official diagnosis yet (can't find anyone to diagnose adults).


IsabellaLinton
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22 Jun 2021, 11:51 pm

I'd try watching the fireworks display. That way you aren't taken by surprise as much, you're expecting the sounds, they have a function, and you can appreciate the beauty.

I have misophonia but mine is for soft noises.



Lady Strange
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23 Jun 2021, 7:12 pm

IsabellaLinton wrote:
I'd try watching the fireworks display. That way you aren't taken by surprise as much, you're expecting the sounds, they have a function, and you can appreciate the beauty.

I have misophonia but mine is for soft noises.


Well, that's the thing there isn't really a way to predict when they go off as it is mainly just random people about lighting them off. It isn't for a fireworks show, sorry I wasn't very clear in my initial post. We live in an urban area so they light them off at random which is the worst, and sometimes they can be very loud like professional grade fireworks (I have no idea how regular people manage to get ahold of what sounds like dynamite going off). Definitely during a normal display what you say would work better as it would be more predictable and it could be watched from a distance.


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Figured out in summer of 2020 about 99 percent sure that I have autism (with lots of research and help of my husband and doctor). Cannot get official diagnosis yet (can't find anyone to diagnose adults).


IsabellaLinton
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23 Jun 2021, 7:35 pm

Ah, OK. I understand. We have that here too and it happens randomly for about a week, on top of any organised displays.

The random ones don't bother me but I know of many autistic people and people with sensory disabilities or trauma who are very stressed by fireworks, not to mention animals.

I wish I had a solution for you. :(



Lady Strange
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24 Jun 2021, 9:13 pm

IsabellaLinton wrote:
Ah, OK. I understand. We have that here too and it happens randomly for about a week, on top of any organised displays.

The random ones don't bother me but I know of many autistic people and people with sensory disabilities or trauma who are very stressed by fireworks, not to mention animals.

I wish I had a solution for you. :(


Thank you, yeah I just have to get through it. I remember as a kid being made to attend a 4th of July party with fireworks at a neighbor's lake cabin. I stayed inside the cabin with all the dogs (a number of people brought their dogs with them) while the other guests went out to watch the fireworks. I petted and comforted all the dogs because they didnt like the fireworks either and they all gathered around me. I made lots of canine friends that day.


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Figured out in summer of 2020 about 99 percent sure that I have autism (with lots of research and help of my husband and doctor). Cannot get official diagnosis yet (can't find anyone to diagnose adults).


IsabellaLinton
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24 Jun 2021, 9:39 pm

I was in America three or four times for the 4th of July. It was seriously crazy with street parties and all the flag waving. It was like everyone in the city celebrated, pulled their kids in wagons with stars and stripes clothing, and put flags on their lawns. Not to mention nearly all the adults were drunk or high.

Bizarre.

I wish you strength and some super-duper headphones!



Lady Strange
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26 Jun 2021, 9:49 am

IsabellaLinton wrote:
I was in America three or four times for the 4th of July. It was seriously crazy with street parties and all the flag waving. It was like everyone in the city celebrated, pulled their kids in wagons with stars and stripes clothing, and put flags on their lawns. Not to mention nearly all the adults were drunk or high.

Bizarre.

I wish you strength and some super-duper headphones!


Thank you! Yes people here love their holidays. I just want to hide! They love it as an excuse to make a lot of noise.


_________________
Figured out in summer of 2020 about 99 percent sure that I have autism (with lots of research and help of my husband and doctor). Cannot get official diagnosis yet (can't find anyone to diagnose adults).