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Loud Noises and the Anxiety Surrounding Them



Apr 18, 2021
Hello everyone! I struggle a lot with anxiety and physical symptoms of it too. I have been diagnosed in the past with Anxiety, Depression, Bipolar Disorder, ODD, and a few more.

Recently (as in the past few months) I have been having really annoying issues with loud noises. I visibly jump and my heart goes incredibly fast. I even start to hyperventilate. At this rate I have been avoiding going or being in places where there could be loud noises. Which unfortunately for me, is literally everywhere....

Are there any tips anyone can give me?


Well-known member
Dec 17, 2018
California, US
Hi! I hope you feel welcome here. I've endured the symptoms you've described, they're awful and at times I had to turn straight around and go back home.

The terms I use to describe sensitivity to loud noises (and other stimuli) that is anxiety-based are: hyper-awareness and hypervigilence.
When these two symptoms are acute, my senses are like the volume knob on a loud stereo turned all the way up!

You asked how do I manage. Before I walk out the door I do a self-assessment, think of this as a pilot doing a pre-flight check on an aircraft:
  • What's my current level of arousal, 1-10?
  • Can I feel or hear my heart beating, pulse pounding?
  • Do I feel tightness in my body (stomach, throat, etc)?
  • Hows my skin--sweaty? Cold?
  • My breathing--rapid? Shallow?
  • Can I name two emotions I'm feeling right now?
  • What thoughts are passing through my head right now?
Completed my body and mind check. Next, what do I need right now and what can I do right now to improve any or all of these just slightly before I go outside?
  • Sit and be still, pay attention to my breathing until it slows.
  • Place my hand on flat on my heart, just breathe.
  • Listen to some calming music with headphones.
  • Run cold water on the insides of my wrists, splash it on my face.
  • Hold an ice cube in each hand and squeeze hard.
  • Change my clothing to something more comfortable.
  • Smell a comforting scent (orange? Cinnamon?)
  • Watch something that will make me laugh.
  • Call a friend.
  • Put on blue or purple colored sunglasses.
  • Is this a time to take my anxiety med?
  • Should I stay home?
Realizing that I'm already at anxiety level 8 out of 10 before I'm even out the door, that helps. Then taking care of my self by clicking that number down to a 6 or 7, which I can only do in an environment where I'm comfortable and safe.

Hope this was helpful!
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