Sensitive Hearing, It’s Not Just for Vampires Anymore

I’ve heard remarks about my sensitive hearing my whole life. “Oh, yes, Marianne hears everything.” That’s my mother’s lament. Most of my unusual traits set her teeth on edge. I guess life with me must have been like living with an odd little ghost. My niece dubbed it ‘Vampire Hearing’, but unlike my mother, she finds it fascinating. She finds me fascinating.

The worst thing about hyper-sensitive hearing is that sounds are scary. When someone is walking behind me on the sidewalk, I get scared. Scared enough that I move to the side so they will pass me, and they WILL pass me, because I will not move again until they are well ahead. This does not quite describe it, though. When someone is approaching me from the side, usually in a big store, I can hear them and I turn my head away from them in order not to see them, because i am already scared. Then the suspense of when or whether they will pass me heightens my stress. If I can’t stand the stress any more, I turn my head just enough to get an idea of who is there. Sometimes it makes it better, and sometimes it makes it worse. If it is a tall and hefty being, it makes it considerably worse, because i will not lift my eyes to see the face. The face might be nice, but i am not taking that chance. I will react badly if I lift my eyes and see ‘resting bitch face’. I am already scared and ready to escape. I want to go home.


Today I bought some bluetooth noise cancelling earbuds. Because they are bluetooth, nobody will know that there is likely no audio, just less noise. I have a fear of being regarded as crazy, because it is unwise to be different from the tribe. wm-back-big

Getting people to stop walking behind me would be a big step in the right direction.

Crowds and Chaos and Noise, oh my.

Where I live there seems to be no such thing as an inside voice, or even a taboo against urinating on a toilet seat. These two things may seem unrelated, but they’re not. They show a lack of civility, moreover they show a complete lack of concern or awareness for others.

I  grant that my Asperger’s Syndrome causes me to hear sounds more acutely than most other people, but I do not understand why people who are out in public choose to speak in the same volume that they use in their own living rooms. Maybe I do know, maybe it’s because they feel the need to talk over the rest of the people in the restaurant who are speaking voce forte least one word of their scintillating conversation be lost. We might never know how important they are. They might become invisible in the din.

The lack of civility, the lack of awareness of a standard of consideration necessary to society convinces me that if I don’t leave, my head will fall off. Call it sensory overload if you must, it’s not all the Aspie’s doing. It’s not always the Aspie’s fault for not tolerating the intolerable.


3 thoughts on “Sensitive Hearing, It’s Not Just for Vampires Anymore

  1. I especially like the grumpy cat picture, to show “resting bitch face”, because most prople with that condition don’t know they have it. Maybe Autism Speaks can use some of their funds to cur “resting bitch face”, or at least make people aware they have this affliction.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jean Fredette says:

    Not just Aspies suffer with sensitive hearing. Loud noises hurt! And I’d never last at a rock concert, with or without earbuds.

    Nice, very nice expressive writing–you teach us a lot about where you’re coming from. Well done.


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