Things have gotten worse over the past few years when it comes to my menstrual cycle symptoms. Some go away for a while then resurface again, some lessen in severity and some increase in severity.
Unfortunately, the past few cycles have yielded new symptoms for me- misophonia and hyperacusis. I know that some other women experience them during their cycles too.
In this post I will talk more about these two annoying symptoms!
What misophonia and hyperacusis are
These two disorders are slightly similar in that certain sounds pose an issue to one’s body and mind. Here is some information about each of them:
This is a relatively new term that was coined in 2001. It involves experiencing negative feelings/thoughts and physical reactions (not pain) to common sounds. These sounds that can trigger bad reactions include slurping, chewing, crunching, lip smacking and joints cracking.
To many, these common sounds are no big deal. For people with misophonia, they are awful and sound louder than they actually are. Some reactions to the sounds are as follows:
- Panic-One may feel an overwhelming amount of fear all of a sudden after hearing the sound. The feeling of panic can also bring on uncomfortable physical sensations. They also may try to run away from the sound.
- Irritability/annoyance- The trigger sounds may cause one to feel this way which in turn could make them seem grumpy to whoever is around them (or whoever is making the sound).
- Anger/rage- The sound (s) may make one have a more extreme response such as yelling, screaming, throwing/kicking things and possibly hurting others.
Misophonia may range from mild to severe. If it is bad enough it may disrupt one’s life due to these trigger sounds being an ordinary part of life.
This disorder is not very well known in the medical community and there are some uncertainties about it. Because of this, the official diagnosis of it may be hard to get. It usually involves a full physical and mental workup to rule out other issues first.
The cause of it is one of the things that the medical community is not totally certain of. The main theory is that it possibly is a dysfunction of the central auditory system. Some people may just hear certain sounds and have them create an overexaggerated response in the part of our brains that control emotions (anterior insular cortex).
It also may be a genetic thing. 23andMe has actually identified genes that could cause the disorder and will tell you on your DNA profile what your odds are of having it.
Misophonia can occur with other mental conditions (i.e. anxiety) and on its own.
This disorder is when one is sensitive to ranges of sounds. They will seem a lot louder to the person with the disorder then they do to others. The difference between this and misophonia is that there will be pain involved when the sound is heard.
The pain that people with hyperacusis feel is in addition to the negative mental reactions that they may also feel (the same ones felt with misophonia). When one is exposed to sounds that trigger their hyperacusis, their pain is usually in their inner. They may also experience a headache with the sound and/or tinnitus (ringing in the ears).
There are multiple causes of hyperacusis. These include brain injuries, MS, migraines, inner ear damage, chronic ear infections and prolonged exposure to loud sounds. It also tends to occur along with anxiety, autism and ADHD.
Hyperacusis is diagnosed by audiograms with the discomfort levels being noted as the test is done.
Both misophonia and hyperacusis are hard to treat. Things that have had some success in people include therapy for changing the way one reacts to the sounds, therapy for helping one be less aware of the sounds and using noise cancellation products.
Hormones causing misophonia and hyperacusis
Now that we know what these disorders are, there are a few reasons as to why they may show up during parts of your cycle. They are as follows:
- Your estrogen is high- According to Gabrielle Lichterman of Hormonology, your hearing is more sensitive when your estrogen is high (week two of your cycle). This means that you may have issues with certain sounds and ranges of sounds during this time.
- Migraines- If you are prone to experiencing migraines during your cycle, you may experience hyperacusis because of it.
- Just plain sensitive- Before your period, you may be very sensitive in general-mentally and physically. Because of this you may have issues with sounds.
What to do about these disorders
As stated before, treatment for both of the disorders is limited. Here are some things that you can do if you have issues with them on certain days of your cycle:
- Be prepared-If you know when in your cycle the issues with sounds happen, you should take note of that on your calendar so you are aware of what you may experience each day.
- Let others know- If you are having a hard time with sounds, tell your family and friends (if you are going to be around them) so that they can try to not make them in your presence if possible.
- Get and wear noise cancelling headphones- There are headphones that you can get that cancel out environmental noises. These can be worn in situations in public where there are noises that bother you or at home.
- Get and wear ear plugs- There are some good noise cancelling ear plugs on the market. This can be another option if you don’t like the look of headphones on yourself. The ear plugs and/or headphones could be kept in your PMS/PMDD toolbox if you made yourself one.
- Try meditation- There are some great meditation videos on YouTube that can help relax you when you are experiencing difficulty with sounds.
- Use a heated blanket- These can be comforting and stress relieving in general which in turn may help you deal with trigger sounds.
- Do some room soundproofing- You can put things like fans, air purifiers and white noise machines in your room (s). This can reduce the trigger sounds.
You may not get total relief of misophonia or hyperacusis but these ideas may help take the edge off during certain times of the month.
What I experience
As stated before, I have been experiencing both of the disorders. They come on a week or so before my period starts. Here is what I go through with each of them:
- Misophonia- I get extremely triggered by slurping and chewing noises. This has caused me to have outbursts of anger.
- Hyperacusis- I can’t handle things falling on the floor in my office the week before my period. It actually makes me cry due to the pain.
As a solution to these, I will be getting noise cancelling ear plugs and doing some meditation. I find this sensitivity very uncomfortable so I really need to do something to make things better.
It is amazing all of the things that hormones can cause. Some things they cause are good and some are bad- as is the case regarding these two disorders.
Dealing with misophonia and hyperacusis can be really hard. If you find it gets worse at certain times, there is some evidence that it could be a hormonal thing. Hopefully this post will give you some ideas as to how you can treat it.
Do you have any issues with sound at certain parts of your menstrual cycle?
Thanks for reading!
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#pmstreatment #pmddtreatment #noisereduction #misophonia #hyperacusis #centralauditorysystem #womenshealth #menstrualcycles #periods