Light & Noise Sensitivity in Fibromyalgia Patients

Light and noise sensitivity is something that doctors and researchers have closely linked to fibromyalgia since the early 1990s when medicine started to recognize it as a real condition. However, despite its recognition, it is one of those fibro symptoms that are not priority on the long list of fibromyalgia symptoms that most of us experience.

If this is one of the symptoms you experience and that your doctor seems to downsize, you are not alone. Light and noise sensitivity in fibro patients have been scientifically known for quite some time but there is no real treatment option to help patients deal with this issue.

Some mornings, I am not affected by noise and sound and other mornings it feels like I have been run over by a monster truck. I have pain, nausea, dizziness, trembling and extreme sensitively to noise, light and even smell. No one really knows what causes light and noise sensitivity which is often called “generalized hypervigilance.”

There is not a lot of information out there about generalized hypervigilance or, at least, information that makes sense for us lay people, and most the information and research is directed towards the medical community. Basically, it is the amplification of sensation so it does not just apply to just noise and light. Those of us with this condition are oversensitive to external stimulation and preoccupied with pain sensation. There was a research study that compared fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis and chronic pain patients. Of all three groups, the fibromyalgia patients were least tolerant and most sensitive to stimuli.

Common symptoms of generalized hypervigilance include anxiety, rapid heartbeat, trembling, rapid and labored breathing, sweating, irritability, fatigue, sleep disturbances and of course, sensitively to light, noise and even smell. Because there is not a lot of information out there, there is really no specific treatment for this symptom of fibromyalgia. Some natural supplements for anxiety and stress can help to deal with this symptom. Patients may also benefit from massage or acupuncture.

Some things you can do ease light and noise sensitivity include:
• Wearing sunglasses when you are outside
• Staying away from fluorescent lights if possible or wearing tinted sunglasses in that environment
• Wearing ear plugs in noisy environments
• Deep breathing and relaxation techniques during these episodes
• Explain the issue to family and friends so that they can be considerate in turning down the volume or turning lights off when you have these types of episodes.
• Adjust your computer screen if it is too bright.


6 thoughts on “Light & Noise Sensitivity in Fibromyalgia Patients

  1. Thanks for the information! My husband looks at me like I’m nuts when I wear earplugs out in public – I told him that some days it’s the only way to keep my sanity!

  2. I get it terrible, sometimes loud noises even make me have waves of pins and needles. It can be dreadful at times. Neurolagist said it was definitely my fibromyalgia.
    My eyes get so achey, plus I can’t bare to look at the t.v or monitor when it gets bad. Sunlight seems ten times brighter.

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