World Listening Day is the perfect time to educate our head injury patients and their loved ones about hearing hypersensitivities. A lot of head injury patients suffer from hypersensitivities in hearing, vision, and processes.
- Sounds alarm or startle you.
- Places you used to be comfortable in now are too loud.
- You often feel overstimulated or overwhelmed.
To make matters worse, pain and fatigue can increase hypersensitivities. This can be a double and sometimes a triple whammy for those with head injuries. Head injuries are often accompanied by pain and difficulty sleeping. Having these hypersensitivities has been known to trigger anxiety and increase sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) response.
In busy areas:
- Try to avoid crowds and busy places.
- When with friends, ask them to do their best to speak one at a time (explain your situation as best you can).
- Plan to only stay for a short time.
- Bring earplugs.
- If you start feeling overwhelmed, apply pressure to your body or palms (this can help incorporate another sensory system to focus your brain on something besides the sounds).
- Sit on the outskirts and sneak out to take breaks when necessary.
- If you become overstimulated, take deep breaths.
- Use ice packs over your forehead and eyes, if possible.
At home or with friends:
- Avoid getting together with too many friends at once.
- As stated above, ask your friends to speak one at a time.
- Put on relaxing music or white noise.
- Ask loved ones to use headphones.
- Put food in bowls to avoid continual noise from bags.
- Try yoga, dance, art, aromatherapy, etc.
- Shop and do errands when stores are less busy, think early in the week and early in the day.
- Eat out at restaurants between rush hours or get your food to go.
- Sleep during car trips.
- Avoid nicotine, caffein, and alcohol (limit your salt intake if you have vertigo).
- Gradually increase your exposure and tolerance to sounds rather than eliminating them completely (this is how you heal).
If you or a loved one continue to have issues with sound hypersensitivities (or other sensitivities) due to a head injury, please call our office. Our physical therapist Dr. Mary Finck has helped several patients overcome their limitations caused by head injuries and she is the best vestibular therapist in the area.
Mary Finck is a Doctor of Physical Therapy at ESP Sports Medicine who specializes in neuromuscular conditions including brain injuries, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, spinal cord injuries, and more. She has been a physical therapist for 10 years and uses a variety of tools to improve function. These tools include dry needling, muscle scraping, and vacuum cupping. She also uses function and motor control exercises. Mary is proud to be part of an amazing team of chiropractors, massage therapists, physical therapists, and new age medical doctors. This network of providers allows her to get the best care for her patients to improve their quality of life.