Sensory overload

Since I had my stroke I am struggling with what I guess is sensory overload. I have awful tinnitus which I can best describe as high pitched ringing with interference in the background - sounds a bit like a badly tuned radio I guess. I also hear my heartbeat in my ear (can feel it in the back of my head at times too) & I can’t cope with noise. Especially things like cutlery on plates, hoovers, fans, TV etc etc. Everything sounds extra loud & is worse when I’m tired.
I’ve been to the tinnitus clinic this afternoon & seems like there’s not a lot they can do for me. They said I wouldn’t benefit from hearing aids as my hearing is normal. They have referred me to someone who will help me learn to manage my tinnitus & I have to see ENT in Dec because of my pulse. The problem I have is that the sensitive hearing etc is feeding into my fatigue & I’m also avoiding going places because I can’t cope with the noise or bear the week of fatigue that comes after I’ve been anywhere.
Does anyone have any tips / advice / recommend anything that can help so I can start to get my life back?
Hope you’re all keeping cool :sunglasses:
Thank you.

Ann xx

Oh Ann, that sounds horrendous to have to deal with on top of everything else. Unfortunately I don’t have any tips or advice but hopefully others on the forum do and they’ll be able to share them with you.

Best wishes and big hugs

Hi Ann
That’s really grim. Have you found the RNID website? It might help: and

Shwmae Ann, for about nine months I had severe auditory overload. Like you, cutlery and other objects that produced a clank or any loud noise would hurt my head. I bought aural ear filters, the kind people wear at concerts. I still have tinnitus but it’s worse in the morning. I do play music to distract me from it in the morning and at night. Gentle sounds, not at a loud volume, and usually something soothing. Tinnitus is caused by the brain thinking there are missing channels of sound and then compensating. I get the hissing kind, like a radio being tuned into a station but never quite getting there. For auditory overload, it should hopefully correct itself over time. I never really worked on it, but I did use the filters quite a bit until I lost them. It’s important not to deprive oneself totally of sound all the time because the brain needs to be able to adjust, I imagine auditory overload is a similar symptom as light sensitivity which I still do have to some degree, and tactile sensitivity which I don’t have.

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@Mahoney thank you. Its not great & was really hoping they’d be able to help today. A little disappointed but onwards we go. Hope you’re keeping well xxx

@CarefulScot thank you. I hadn’t thought about RNID. I will definitely explore their website.

Hi @Rups thank you. I’m encouraged to hear that there’s some hope it’ll get better in time. I’ve had it for almost 9 months now. I will gaveca look at some ear filters. Hopefully they will help. I have a high pitched ringing& also the “hissing” sound that you describe. Occasionally the hissing will ease for a few seconds & I’m just left with the high pitched ringing. If does only last a few seconds though. I am trying not to avoid noise but sometimes I just can’t cope. It’s the awful fatigue that it feeds in to that’s the worst.
I’m hoping they can find a cause for the pulse in my ear…wondering if its my dissected carotid artery causing that.
Hope you’re keeping OK x

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Hi MrsK5, I am sorry that suffer from sensory overload, I can’t advice but there is always someone on who can help. I hope things improve for you. Moira

Thank you Moira, I’m really hoping it improves soon. Hope you’re doing OK.
Best wishes Ann xx

I’m sorry to hear about your Tinnitus @Mrs5K - I have it permanently and it always reminds me of someone screeching/radio blaring away, or a late night bonfire, crackling away with crickets chirping in the background! I was told I could use music to drown out the noise but I just try now to ignore it and get on with other things. It’s difficult I know but there’s not much anyone can do about it. Everything seems to cause an overload of some sort.
Talking of overload, my wife bought me this book the other week - take a look at the cover - it about says it all! :rofl:

@Bert it’s weird the variety of noises we all hear. They gave me info leaflets on apps etc today which I’ll look at to see if I can find anything to help.
I love your book. I need one :grin::grin:

Just do a little research into white noise, I have read that it can make it worse long term.

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@Rups I will do. I think I saw something that suggested that too.

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Heard on radio recently that tinnitus is a brain thing not ear thing which was news to me.I am very intolerant now of certain noises and emotional storylines on radio, still can’t watch drama on tv. Was at grandchildren’s and had to endure film Frozen’ Boy I could have screamed but didn’t.
I know kids love it but I thought it twaddle. Was a super cool very tolerant guy before,but now ashamed of how I react sometimes but am working on it

I was wondering that. Mine all started with my stroke so would make sense it being a brain thing.
I’m not very tolerant of noise now. Some worse than others. Well done on not screaming during the film.
It’s so difficult when the changes to our temperament happened out of our control. I’m sure you’re making good progress with it though. I find I tend to walk away now. Mainly because I just get upset if I don’t.

Hi Ann @Mrs5K , sorry you’ve got that to deal with, it’s not pleasant . I have it to some degree & did before the stroke but is worse now (mostly in my good side ear). However unlike you I don’t have a problem with loud noises as have a slight loss of hearing (wife & son would say more than slight) which I think is made worse by the stroke related tunnel “vision” that makes it harder to take in multiple things going on around me.
I have been told that it is best not to focus on the tinitus as that can make it worse so I too use distraction such as listening to music.
I hope you find some help when you see the specialist.
Good luck.

@Ingo66 thank you Mark, I try not to focus on the tinnitus but difficult at times. I think it’s a mix of the 3 issues at the same time that I find difficult & just so tiring. My husband is hard of hearing so that adds to my difficulties. Just yesterday I had to leave the room when he was watching TV as it was just too loud for me. Am really hoping the specialist can sort at least one of the issues out :crossed_fingers::crossed_fingers::crossed_fingers:
Best wishes


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I often put subtitles on (very small) & my wife and son don’t mind them. So we don’t have to blast the volume!

@Ingo66 we always have subtitles on too but hubby still turns volume up. We have invested in some WiFi headphones which are great as we can watch TV at our own volumes. He doesn’t use them in the day though just in the evening. They are a little anti social but not as anti social as sitting in separate rooms :rofl:

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sound like a good idea! At least that way it’s still a shared experience (& you can sign to each other :rofl:).

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