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Symptom Areas

Light and Noise Sensitivities

Updated Jul 31, 2019

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Why So Sensitive?

Many people feel more sensitive to lights, motion, sounds, or busy places, after concussion. For most people, these symptoms tend to improve on their own.

Initially, you may need to limit being in some environments if they make your symptoms a lot worse. For example, you can choose less crowded spaces, reduce the volume on the radio, or dim bright lights.

Light and noise sensitivities

Downsides of Avoiding Triggers

It is logical to avoid triggers that cause discomfort, but it can backfire. Too much avoidance for too long can make you even more sensitive.

Your nervous system is designed to adapt to the environment. If you jump into a lake, it is very cold at first, but as your body adjusts, it no longer feels so cold. In the same way, for your nervous system to re-adjust to light and noise, it needs an opportunity to get used to them.

What you can do to reduce tinnitus

Building Tolerance

To build tolerance, you need practice. Start small, and introduce light, noise, and busy settings gradually. If you are using things like ear plugs or dark glasses indoors, begin to reduce them.

Like we learned with the Activity Zones framework, some symptoms are normal and expected as you get back to life. A major spike in symptoms could be a sign to pull back a little. Over time, your tolerance for light, noise, and busy settings should get better.

Zone of activation therapeutic

When to Get Help?

Visual symptoms that don’t seem to be getting better should be evaluated by your doctor, and, if necessary, a health professional who specializes in the assessment and treatment of vision (e.g. ophthalmologist, optometrist).

If you are experiencing vision symptoms, consider reading the article Vision Changes.

Vision changes clear chart

Taking Action!

You’ve just learned about sensitivity to light, noise and stimulating environments. Is this an issue you want to take action on right now? If so, consider using the Action Plan tool [doc] to set a concrete goal to increase your exposure a little bit at a time. For example, one goal could be to dim the lights a little less each day.

Take action
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