A bus screeched to a stop in front of me as I waited to cross the street.
I grimaced and instinctively covered my ears.

I turned to my husband Jim and asked, “didn’t that sound hurt your ears?” No, he says. “Ugh,” I said. “It literally HURT my ears.”

A few days later, we are walking down the street and a car goes by and breaks the silece with a loud horn HONNNNK! I involuntarily let out a small yelp. And jumped a little bit.

“Why did you yell?” Jim asked, a little annoyed at my outburst.

“I can’t help it.” I said.

So, yeah. I’m very sensitive to sudden noise, loud noise, incessant background noise, and high-pitched screeching. When someone would walk up to my cubicle at work and start talking to me, often I would jump. I didn’t want to jump; I couldn’t help it.

Oh, and I can also hear when a TV is on but the sound is muted. Even in another room. There is some really small, high-pitched electronic-y noise that comes from TVs that I’ve been able to hear since I was a little kid. Sometimes I’ll be like, “that TV is still on,” even when it looks off. And sure enough, it turns out that it’s on. It’s a pretty useless superpower.

I asked my husband–since he’s known me for 10 years–if he could think of any examples of me being jumpy around noises. His answer was interesting: “You jump when you hear any loud random sound that’s unexpected. It doesn’t even have to be loud–just squeal-y or high pitched. It’s anytime anything unexpected happens to you.”

Oftentimes, I’m *thinking* about something when sudden noises occur, so the sudden noise is disturbing me and jerking me out of my train of thought. That’s why I jump. I’m jumpy.

As far as I know, there’s nothing I can do about this. I can’t prepare myself for unexpected noises.

Further reading: Here is a fantastic article about how noises affect HSPs more than others.