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Phonophobia is the fear of loud noises. It can be triggered by incessant honking, car alarms, sirens, firecrackers, and more. While loud noises can make most of us uncomfortable, a person suffering from phonophobia not only has more intense reactions to loud noises but also feels deep stress and anxiety in anticipation of loud noises. Therefore, experts say, phonophobia isn’t a hearing disorder but an anxiety disorder.

Why this is an important issue:

Phonophobia is an important issue as the general population do not understand the severity of the situation. Phonophobia is not something that you can control by yourself, and it is indeed something that is real. Normally, people disregard the fear of sounds as something that is trivial and consider it as “overreacting” when in truth, the person who is experiencing the symptoms of phonophobia is in incredible anxiety and fear. Hence, I think that this issue is important as people should be more aware of this phobia that is happening to people around them.

What research can be done?

To date, only a few studies have been done to examine the symptoms of phonophobia. Research on the trigeminal autonomic cephalgias, autonomic symptoms, sensory stimuli as well as migraines can further prove useful in the study of phonophobia. Other than so, research on hearing disorders such as hyperacusis can be beneficial to the studies of phonophobia.

How can we help people with this issue?

Phonophobia is not something that you can just rid off all of a sudden. However, it can be helped by providing a safe environment for the person who has phonophobia. Helping patients who have symptoms of phonophobia face their fears gradually while providing them a sense of security along the way is probably one of the best ways to ease this phobia. I believe that by doing so, patients will see that they have more control over their mind than they think. When they discover this, they will be able to control their levels of anxiety and hopefully be free of the torment phonophobia has given them.

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