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Brain injury blog by survivor

Brain injury blog by survivor



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Brain injury blog by survivor

Brain injury blog by survivor



How home repairs trigger noise sensitivity of brain injury

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Until you suffer from noise sensitivity, it’s difficult to imagine what it’s like. Most people would think it’s where your ears hurt from the pitch or sheer excessive volume of a noise. And yes, of course that’s definitely a very uncomfortable factor that we do deal with. However, when you have a brain injury the experience is more complex and overwhelming than that.

You can try to dodge noisy occasions, but sometimes it’s unavoidable.

From time to time any home needs some essential repairs, and this week we finally did one that we had put off for as long as possible. Our house sorely needed new soffits and guttering. Literally we had put this off for years, but we finally decided that we needed to replace them. A local contractor quoted us a fair price and as we had hired him before, we knew his work was good. I want to be clear that this is not me complaining about his work. In fact the house looks very smart now, so we’re more than happy with the job. This is just highlighting the harsh reality of what it means to live with a brain injury.

I’m not going to try to describe the noises of them removing the existing materials and installing the new ones, I think you can use your imagination. But every bang felt like it was happening to my head. It was as if I was being pummelled on the back of my head, just below the crown. In turn, this made me feel a bit dizzy and totally drained.

As the pandemic is still lurking out there, I felt I had nowhere to go.

You’re probably thinking “just go out for the day when home repairs are happening”, and usually I would agree with you. I’d go window shopping, find a quiet café to relax in, or something along those lines. But as Covid-19 is still a threat I didn’t feel this was a feasible option this time. Instead I curled up on the sofa with my headphones on and a throw over my head to try to dampen the noise and its effects as much as possible.

But the hardest part of living with a brain injury is how when you need to be able to use your problem solving skills, you just can’t. In times of stress, pain and/or overwhelm, brain fog takes over. I kept thinking that there must be something else I should be doing to make this more bearable, but I just couldn’t think. Fatigue was at an all time high, and for once it made itself useful, for somehow I eventually fell asleep. Part of me thinks this was my brains way of backing out of the overstimulation.

But when the noise stops, the pain doesn’t.

There was some relief as the chaps packed up of the day and peace was restored. But that by no means that’s the end of the problem for me. My head and neck where still painful, which I’m guessing is caused by tension from stress. I did also have herniated discs in my neck from my car accident which I was just told would hopefully resolve themselves. As I don’t know if they ever did fully heal, I suppose my head and neck pain could also have something to do with those.

At least once the noise was gone I was able to start thinking about what I could do to make myself more comfortable. I have a microwavable heat pad with is curved especially to hug your neck. It just so happens to be a flamingo as well which always makes me smile. It has an absurdly massive eye which looks totally demented as it sits on the turntable of the microwave. Each time it comes to the glass door it looks a little more insane than it did the last time.  It’s like it depicts what my brain injury can make my feel like, and I do find it funny. Also I have a head massager with 4 figures that when turned on, vibrate. It really does help pushing this over the painful part of my head. It might be helping to relieve muscle tension, or it might be promoting blood circulation, honestly I’m not sure. Either way it helps.

The chaps have completed the work on the front of the house, but need to do the back tomorrow.  At least now I’m better prepared as I know that with these tools it will be a little easier.

Do noisy home repairs trigger your brain injury? What coping mechanisms work for you?


12 replies on “How home repairs trigger noise sensitivity of brain injury”

I can totally empathize with your situation. I get so that the sound of a spoon clinking on a bowl is painful to my brain. I am glad you are still able to find some humour in the situation. 😉

Our youngest daughter had a grade 1 astrocytoma removed from near her cerebellum 3 years ago. She was 17 and half way through her A levels at the time. The surgery went well, but triggered a condition called Posterior Fosse Syndrome. Effectively, her cerebellum shut down. She lost all speech, balance and coordination. It affected the nerves that control the muscles in her eyes which meant she was ‘cross eyed’, and caused double vision. Little by little she has regained most of this but still has balance issues and can’t walk unaided. Operations have straightened her eyes and she wears corrective prisms on her glasses. She rarely talks about her feelings, and when she does it is only to my wife, so I am left guessing as to how she is feeling, how things affect her. Your blogs give me some great insight into my daughter’s world and it is so helpful. Thank you for sharing, and I hope your recovery continues apace.

That’s so much to go through especially when being a teenager she’s probably experiencing some angst which is normal for that age.
You’re a great dad for doing your best to understand what she’s going through even though she doesn’t open up about it to you. The fact that you search out information is testimony to your commitment to her.

It’s sounds similar to my recovery after a mva head on collision I still experience ear splitters after 20years the frontal lob of my head inj nocked the sense back but left empty for all this time I have frequent ear splitters Daily preoccupation helps but as soon as I lay my head or try and find a peaceful moment somewhere it was always there

I have never related more to a post in my life! I don’t have a problem with headaches from my TBI, but I do have a really hard time with concentration and focus. Extra noise makes that so much harder for me. It’s really hard to do a rigorous graduate program from home in my extremely noisy apartment. I have nowhere else to go!

It’s such a bind that overstimulation from noise can soak up your concentration span. I feel for you as I’m sure the problem you’re doing is tough enough as it is.

I’ve had severe headaches since my TBI 7 years ago, but some things make it exponentially worse. The sound of the vacuum feels like a dagger through my ears. I try to leave the house when my husband vacuums (thank you!), or if not, wear earplugs and stay as far away as possible. Another sound that worsens my headaches are the motorbikes on the wooded trails behind my house. One is loud, more than 3 is mind crushing, and they are often riding for several hours. Of course, my bedroom faces the woods…the view, of course.

I hate the sound of motorbikes and they don’t set off a headache for me so my heart goes out to you. It must be like hell when they hang around for hours.

Oh my – your experience is just like mine.

I did eventually out grew the vacuum cleaner sound ripping me aprt. There was a period – for years, I had to leave the house. I am still very sensitive to low frequency sounds, low frequency vibrations – an idling diesel engine can make me nauseous. Same with certain motorcycles. It is helpful to know I am not alone!

Ed, I hope that just like you grew out of suffering each time the vacuum cleaner was on, I hope you do with low frequency sounds and vibrations. It’s so difficult, especially when they are sounds that are just part of everyday life and you can’t avoid them.

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