Stressed out women are more sensitive to sound

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Stress-related exhaustion can cause hypersensitivity to sound in women, according to a study from Karolinska Institutet and Stockholm University's Stress Research Institute in Sweden. Even the sound level of normal conversation can be painful. The study was published in the online scientific journal PLoS One. The subjects were 208 women and 140 men with low, medium and high levels of “emotional exhaustion”. It found that men and women with low levels of exhaustion were less sensitive to sound when exposed for five minutes of noise compared to women with high levels of exhaustion. Some women in the study even found 60 decibels – the level of a normal conversation -- uncomfortable. The same trends were observed in the male subjects but were not statistically significant. "When you are hypersensitive to sound, some normal sounds, such as the rattle of cutlery or the sound of a car engine, can feel ear-piercing," says Dan Hasson, Associate Professor at Karolinska Institute's Department of Physiology and Pharmacology who is also affiliated with Stockholm University's Stress Research Institute. "Given how common it is for people to work in environments with different kinds of disturbing sounds, this hypersensitivity can be really disabling for certain individuals."

Source: Science Daily.

Rose Simpson