Along with so many weird phenomenon attributed to the Change comes a newfound sensitivity to noise. The simple sound of breathing can be too much, too loud. The football game, the leaf blower, or the stereo are in danger of triggering a psychotic break. Even my favorite music or the mew of a beloved cat can tighten my neck muscles so taut that my shoulders rise up to my ears and my teeth clench tighter than a victim of lockjaw. Most of the menopausal women I know suffer from this malady. Sound is more than an irritant – it’s an invasion.
Perhaps our menopausal hypersensitivity to noise can be likened to that of people who overdevelop one sense when another sense is waning or diminished. We seem to be losing our visual acuity (along with our mind – but that’s another story), but we can hear every freaking sound for miles around. Clock tick, computer hum, bird chatter, cereal crunch, water drip, coffee slurp, page turn, leaf fall, breeze blow, tire whoosh, stomach gurgle, icemaker, fridge motor. It is sensory overload and threatens our sweet dispositions, not to mention our sanity.
I’ve managed this week to wend my way into the back canyons of Zion National Park in Utah, where I can soothe myself with the rhythms and ripples of rosy sandstone. Red rock simply sits there beaming beauty and it does it QUIETLY.
Although we can’t always travel to out of the way places to find quietude, we can find ways to garner solitude and silence in our daily lives: in our garden, taking a walk, or indulging in a warm (not hot) bath. Midlife women crave quiet.
(Adapted from our upcoming book "Venus Comes of Age: The Wit and Wisdom of Menopausal Goddesses".)
Wow, I just found your blog as I sit in my "silent" office. I thought it was just me, turning into a hermit. I can't stand the radio in the car, the sound machine my husband uses, or the loud TV. Hallalulia I'm NOT going mad.
/Two kids out of the house!
This is so totally me. I used to like so much more music in my life, but now I just want blissful quiet. My dear spouse is getting deafer each year, and his high volume on the TV puts me over the edge. It is a continual source of friction. I've had the gentle, kind talk about him getting hearing tested and told him it doesn't mean he'll have to get "aides", but it will quantify what is going on. I doubt he'll do it anytime soon. I thought I was "just sensitive".
I just found your blog. This will be a godsend to me. I did not realize noise was a menopause symptom. At least now I know my husband is not just deaf!
Oh my Gosh! That is sooo true. I thought it was just me!!!
I REMEMBER RIDING TO WORK WITH MY HUSBAND, OUR SHOP WAS IN THE INDUSTRIAL AREA, SO ALL THE SEMI TRUCKS WOULD ALREADY BE OUT ON THE ROADS DELVERING AND PICKING UP LOADS. I SWEAR, MY EARS WOULD HURT!, IT WOULD GET BETTER AS THE DAY WENT ON, BUT FINALLY, AN EXPLIANATION!, MAHALO – RAE
How funny! All this time I just thought I was weird, and it turns out I'm more normal than I thought.
The Sounds of Slience Have become very meaningful to me.. relief from the constant barrage ….I live in a suburb of Chicago … I wake up in the middle of the night to hear the trains fully 2 miles away … the music in the store where I work … makes me want to scream,, turn the damn music down… which falls on deaf ears ( I wonedr how they got that way)The TV when my other half is watching I am sure you can hear in the next county… So when I went to Nova Soctia a few years ago … one of the first things I noticed is THE QUIET… no Airplanes no traffic.. no uninvited music… big spaces for the noise to disappear before it ever gets to me … I think I need to go back…
It is good to know that other women have the same thing. Before menopause I did not mind loud noise, so I hope it is just whier I am going thought menopause.
And here I thought I was going crazy! Thanks so much for validating my gut instinct: every little noise sets me on edge because of menopause. I knew it!
It was good to find this, however, I want to know if anyone also has a head pressure, eye pressure or ear fullness along with this. I’ve had the head pressure on top of my head for 14 months now with no relief. I’m basically living in a bubble and every noise hurts. Any suggestions? Tried BHRT and made it worse!
I thought it was just me. I teach and the noise of the kids in the lunchroom does me in. My husband practices the trumpet everyday and this makes the muscles in the back of my neck tighten. Loud TV’s, cars, dogs barking; it seems anything sets me off. Does this last forever or goes away once menopause is over?
It does diminish over time, I’m happy to report. Although I think my teeth are smaller from all the clenching I did for awhile. Hang in there, girlfriend.
It give me hope to hear you say it diminishes over time. I literally can’t go anywhere. Restaurants are terrible, kid’s plays, any sound at all makes my constant head pressure worse. Do any of you have that? How long did you have it before it diminished, or did you find something that helped. My quality of life is horrible, and it’s making my husband and teens’ lives miserable.
I remember about six bad months and then things got a lot better. Honestly, my husband crunching his cereal used to make me crazy. I did wear earplugs a lot to take the noise down to an acceptable level. I’m okay now, just some residual irritation with loud TV, but that could be more about the television than the noise itself. Give yourself breaks of silence – walking, taking a bath, etc. It really helps. Hang in there, we feel your pain.
Thank you for letting me know that my sensitive ears are one of the menopausal symptoms. I also thought it was just me.
Oh yes, it happens to most of us. And while it does get better – it still persists to some degree. However, I no longer cringe at the cat breathing or my husband crunching his cereal. Whew.
I am so going to show this to my husband ~ I keep telling him he is breathing too loud at night, LOL And oh yes, I am all too familiar with this heightened sense of noise “invasion”. I spend a lot of time wearing sound-cancelling headphones, it bothers me so much. I am glad to read some of the comments that it does abate some down the road. I shall wait with bated (quiet) breath… 🙂
Yup, me too. I live in NYC, and have become so hyper-sensitive to sound that i have a headache all the time from the constant buzz of a nearby apartment building’s heating system. It buzzes 24/7 and unnerves me to the point of wanting to move. My friend doesn’t even notice it, and says I have “Lassie Ears,” but to me, it is awful… I’m wondering if any nerve-calming herbs might help take the edge off. Any suggestions?
Hmmm. Kava might help, but you have to be careful with dosage and let your doctor know you are taking it. If you have liver problems, you can’t take it. Chamomile tea, lavender scents, are calming agents. I didn’t find anything that really worked for me except time. Keep us posted.
Wow!!!!! I thought i was being a nag, everytime my husband picks his teeth or flosses it bugs the heck out of me its so piercing to my ears i want to choke him I asked him to stop kindly he thought I was just nagging him. Thaks for your site Im glad im not the only one going thru this 😌 we just have ro push sisters we will come out of rhis one too.
I am so glad to see that it was’nt only me, I literally think I am going crazy, the kids playing basketball outside drives me nuts any car that shuts there door. I just hope it does’nt last for ever. Thank you
How long does this last ? Is there anything that helps ? what causes this ? Is it lack of hormones?
Hi Renee, For me it lasted a little over a year – can last as little as 6 months or a couple of years from what women have told me. No one really knows what the cause is – maybe hormones but some who’ve taken hormones also noticed it. Even now, I don’t like a lot of noise, but it’s nothing like what I experienced that first year. Good luck – hang in there. BTW Bose noise cancelling headphones might help.
Thanks so much for responding !!! I have been to drs. due to menopause symptoms they just tell me I haven’t made it to menopause yet and they cant find anything wrong. in my labs. i will check out the headphones.
Good luck – keep us posted! Hugs, Lynette
Interesting that this popped up in my feed today. I see that I commented on this in January of 2015… and I am still dealing with it (and am now 1.5 years post-menopause). Unfortunately about 6 months ago we acquired a VERY noisy neighbor who has a few acres behind us and, in addition to constantly mowing, weed-whacking and chainsawing, he has a mini-bobcat that he runs all the ##$%# time. THAT nearly sends me over the edge with anxiety and I resent wearing sound-canceling headphones in my own house often, but it is about all that helps save my sanity. I’ve talked to him about it, and while he is nice enough, I haven’t seemed to get thru to him – even on Sundays when I have particularly asked him to give it a rest. Jeez, one day a week of peace, please?? I have even started considering selling the house. Anyway… STILL waiting for the sound-sensitivity to abate…