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Fear of Loud Noises


Updated June 09, 2014

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Question: Fear of Loud Noises

Ligyrophobia, sometimes known as phonophobia, is the fear of loud noises. The fear is most common in young children, but may occur in adults as well. Some people are afraid only of very sudden loud noises, while others fear ongoing noise.


Ligyrophobia in Small Children

Fears are a normal part of growing up, and many small children exhibit numerous short-lived fears. Loud noises, like any surprising stimuli, may trigger reactions even in very young infants. For most kids, however, these fears are mild and transient. However, children are just as capable as adults of developing deep-seated phobias. For this reason, if a child's fear lasts longer than six months, or if the fear is not easily consoled, it is important to seek treatment from a qualified mental health professional.

Ligyrophobia in Adults

In adults and older children, the fear of loud noises can be embarrassing at best and life-limiting at worst. Adults may find it difficult to function in noisy office environments, to drive on busy highways, or even to socialize in crowded restaurants or bars. Children may have difficulty paying attention in class, participating in team sports, or spending time with friends in noisy environments. Some people with this fear have a particularly difficult time falling asleep, as outside noises are often magnified when lying in a dark, quiet room.

Ligyrophobia and Other Disorders

A decreased tolerance for noise is sometimes indicative of another condition. Hyperacusis and misophonia are physiological disorders that cause increased noise sensitivity. Although they may occur on their own, these disorders are sometimes linked to conditions from Asperger's Syndrome to Meniere's disease. For this reason, it is important to consult with your family physician. A simple noise phobia is easy to treat, but if concurrent disorders are present, all conditions should be treated simultaneously. Your doctor may work in tandem with a mental health professional to properly treat your conditions.


American Psychiatric Association. (1994). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4th Ed.). Washington, DC: Author.

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