What Is the Fear of Loud Noises?

Ligyrophobia

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The fear of loud noises (ligyrophobia) is a specific phobia, a condition in which a person has an excessive and irrational fear in response to a specific stimulus. For a person with ligyrophobia, a loud noise can create an immediate reaction that ranges from anxiety to panic. They may arrange their life to avoid loud noises.

When a phobia disrupts your day-to-day life, you can find help through a mental health professional. They can diagnose the condition and treat it with various types of therapy. The fear of loud noises is also called sonophobia and phonophobia. This article will discuss the symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of lygophobia.

Woman covering ears against loud noise

Teeramet Thanomkiat / EyeEm / Getty Images

Symptoms

While anyone can find a loud noise startling or annoying, a person with a specific phobia of loud noises has more extreme symptoms from anxiety to panic. The reaction can happen during the noise, before it happens, or after the noise has ended. The symptoms range in severity for each person. They can include:

  • Fear
  • Shortness of breath
  • Increased heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Dizziness
  • Anxiety
  • Screaming
  • Fainting
  • Chest pain

A person with a phobia of loud noises will often take measures to avoid loud noises in their daily life. Both the symptoms and avoidance can interfere with their ability to carry out their daily tasks.

Diagnosis

Lygophobia is considered a specific phobia. A specific phobia is when an individual has an irrational or extreme fear of something that poses a minimal danger. They will have extreme symptoms upon exposure to a specific object or situation. Sometimes even the thought of exposure is enough to elicit the phobic symptoms.

When a person visits a licensed mental healthcare professional for a diagnosis, they can expect questions about their overall health, additional conditions, and family health history. Depending on the practitioner there may be more forms to fill out regarding your mental health.

One of the tools used to establish a diagnosis for a phobia is the "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders" (DSM-5). The following criteria must be met before a person can be diagnosed with a phobia.

  • Displays a level of excessive fear toward a specific object or situation.
  • The reaction occurs immediately within the presence of the thing that is feared.
  • The fear causes the person to avoid the cause of fear endure it with extreme distress.
  • The fear or phobia causes significant distress or limits the day-to-day living of the individual.
  • The symptoms of the phobia have been present for at least six months.
  • The symptoms cannot be better explained as being due to another condition.

Causes

The specific cause of ligyrophobia is unknown. In general, there are different reasons why people develop phobias. They may be due to a learned behavior (such as observing a parent who has the phobia), genetics, or an experience that led to the development of the fear or phobia.

In the case of ligyrophobia, certain hearing disorders may predispose a person to developing the phobia.

Treatment

The treatment options for lygophobia include the following:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): This treatment is a form of talk therapy. It helps the patient challenge maladaptive thoughtsand behaviors surrounding the specific phobia as well as incorporating other techniques.
  • Exposure therapy: The mental health professional and patient will work together so the patient will have increased exposure to the trigger of the specific phobia (in this case, loud noises). Depending on the situation, this can happen gradually. It may be done by imagined exposure, real-life exposure, or virtual reality exposure.
  • Relaxation techniques: Relaxation and other mind-body techniques and practices (such as yoga and mindfulness meditation) that can help the patient calm down may be incorporated into therapy.
  • Medication: Although not generally a primary treatment for phobias, medication can sometimes be prescribed to manage certain symptoms associated with the condition. It can also be used to treat any co-occurring depression symptoms or other anxiety disorders that may be present.

Summary

The fear of loud noises is called ligyrophobia. When a person has this condition, they have extreme fear or reaction to loud noises. There are treatment options such as CBT, exposure therapy, relaxation techniques, and medications. Working with a licensed mental healthcare professional can help you overcome the fear of loud noises.

A Word From Verywell

If you have a phobia, you are not alone and there is help. You can speak with your healthcare professional about your concerns. Together, you can find a licensed mental healthcare professional and other resources for support.

The first step is acknowledging that you have a phobia that is impacting your life. With the right help and support, you can reduce and/or eliminate the symptoms of your phobia.

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5 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  2. National Institute of Mental Health. Specific phobia.

  3. Johns Hopkins. Phobias.

  4. National Health Service. Phobias - self-care.

  5. National Health Service. Treatment - phobias.