In our technologically filled world, noise and stimuli are found everywhere. You may crave some peace and quiet at the end of the day. For others though, the quiet can be just as overwhelming, if not frightening. Welcome to the fear of silence.
Those who suffer from a fear of silence may find more comfort in the noise. There could be many causes of this phobia, known as sedatephobia. To manage it, it’s best to learn as much as you can about it whether to help yourself or a loved one.
If you’re in a rush, here are some common questions that may bring some peace of mind to those of you who have a fear of being surrounded with silence.
How do I get over my fear of silence?
There is no set way for everyone to conquer a fear, but a good place to start is seeking outside help such as therapy. From there, you can learn different techniques to cope, or in severe cases, get prescribed medication to manage symptoms.
Why does silence make me anxious?
Silence can bring out a sense of anticipation in a way that you don’t know what to expect. It can stimulate anxiety as you’re waiting for something to happen whether you’re sitting at home or out and about riding a quiet elevator.
Why does silence make me uncomfortable?
Having background noise can be a learned behavior if you grew up in the city or with frequent noise in your household. Silence can then be something unnatural that makes you feel uneasy.
Why is silence so deafening?
Silence can be deafening when our mind is trying to process the loss of sound. It’s a sensation that can make the quietness feel heavier, or “deafening”, which can lead to such painful anxieties bubbling to the surface.
Understanding the Fear of Silence
If you’re trying to conquer your fear of being in complete silence, it starts with understanding more about it. This includes nailing down an actual name for this sensation, what can cause it, how to recognize it, and how to manage it.
Sedatephobia – What is It?
Like in many cases, having a fear of something translates to a known phobia. In this case, having a fear of silence is called “sedatephobia”.
There are a couple of prominent reasons why you may fear the silence:
- Learned Behavior: Many of us were raised on noise whether prominent or in the background. This can be the TV playing, the radio on, or even growing up in a full household. It can make sound feel natural, and the lack of it feel unnatural.
- Traumatic Experience: Like with many phobias, they can stem from a traumatic event. Something bad could have happened when it was quiet such as isolation, or the silence gives your mind too much time to think about trauma-filled past events.
Symptoms of Fear of Silence
Phobias, otherwise known as “irrational fears”, are instantly recognizable because of the reaction you have from them. Unlike having some simple misgivings about something like sitting in silence, a sedatephobia can lead to some psychological and physical reactions that deserve attention.
Many of these symptoms can resemble that of a panic or an anxiety attack because you may very well undergo one or both of these sensations.
Being in silence can get so overwhelming that it can lead to an emotional reaction. Common symptoms include:
- Disconnecting or feeling detached
- Fear of dying
- Fear of losing control
- Difficulty concentrating
- Sleep disturbances
If you’re having a panic or anxiety attack while being surrounded by silence, you may feel certain sensations such as:
- Muscle tension
- Rapid heartbeat
- Shortness of breath
- Chills or hot flashes
- Ringing in your ears
- Dry mouth
- Rise in blood pressure
- Chest tightness
There’s no single treatment option that will work for everybody, and this is true no matter what type of phobia you’re dealing with. However, there are still a few ways you can try to work your way through coping and effectively overcoming your sedatephobia.
Exposure therapy is used by psychologists and therapists alike in which you’re exposed to the source of your phobia in order to overcome your fear of silence.
This should always be done in a controlled and safe environment in case you do fall into a panic or anxiety attack during the therapy.
With this type of therapy, you can better learn how to do away with any negative connections you have to being surrounded by a lack of noise. It can also help you form a habit into being around less stimuli, which can make you less afraid of it.
Talk therapy is a common type of therapy in which you do as it states: you talk.
A common form of this is found in cognitive behavior therapy (CBT). In this case, you’re in a structured environment in which a therapist helps you become more aware of the negative thinking you have surrounding your phobia.
It’s a helpful way to learn how to handle any stress that can come up when you find yourself feeling anxious in a quiet situation.
Talking about your issues in general can simply help take the weight off your shoulders about it. If the phobia stems from a past traumatic event, talking it out can help bring that to the surface and put you on the path to healing. From there, you can unlearn your fear of silence.
In some cases, even if you go through therapy, the reactions you have while being in silence can be too overwhelming and interfere with your day-to-day life. If this happens, then a doctor may wish to prescribe you some medication to help you manage your symptoms in the meantime while you try to conquer your fear.
Some common medication you can be prescribed include anti-depressants and prescription sleeping pills if it’s interfering with your sleep schedule too much.
Phonophobia – Understanding the Opposite of Fear of Silence
While we’re discussing the idea of having a fear of silence, there can also be people that fall on the opposite side of the spectrum which is the likes of phonophobia, the fear of loud sounds.
It’s important to note that this is not the same thing as a hearing disorder.
This isn’t like tinnitus when you hear ringing in the ears (something that can be a symptom of your fear of being in silence, in fact). In fact, it can even be interpreted as an extreme case of misophonia, which is a condition where you have sensitivity to specific sounds or certain images.
No matter, phonophobia is an anxiety disorder. It’s important to understand it just as much as sedatephobia as they are two sides of the same coin.
Signs of Phonophobia
It’s normal for people to flinch or even scream when confronted with an unexpected loud noise. However, if you always feel an instant bout of anxiety when that surprise sound comes, it’s a sign that you’re suffering from a phobia.
This can lead to an anxiety attack or a panic attack, which can include feeling things like a desire to flee from the situation, a drastic mood swing, and an irregular heartbeat.
These things can begin to overwhelm and interfere with your life. For instance, you may find yourself having trouble going out in public if it means encountering what you fear most.
This can even make being at home a difficult situation in which you are obsessively controlling the level of noise all around you.
Likewise with treating your silence phobia, you can seek therapy to handle your phonophobia.
Exposure therapy is always a good route to take to get you out of your comfort zone so that you may feel more comfortable in the end. You can even steadily increase the noise that you’re exposed to in a safer way rather than trying to handle something like that on your own at home.
CBT can also be a good treatment choice. This can help you come to terms with your fear, learning more about what may have caused it, which can lead to greater treatment and management.
Having a fear of silence can make it difficult to navigate through life. It’s something that you can ward off if you listen to some music at home or play around with apps on your phone if out in public.
However, a time may come when you can’t avoid the quiet. You don’t have to let your phobia overwhelm you though. Through understanding it and taking control of it, you can get on the path of treatment so that you can better handle any exposure to silence, leading to a much healthier and calmer life.
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