Acousticophobia (from Greek φωνή – Acoustic, “sound” and φόβος – phobos, “fear”, also called ligyrophobia) is a fear of loud sounds. It can also mean a fear of voices, or a fear of one’s own voice.For example, listening to a CD that starts with a minute of silence and then suddenly goes into loud rock music would be extremely startling for most people, assuming they had no prior knowledge of the content of the CD. Being startled is in itself a normal reaction, but the key difference is that people with ligyrophobia actively fear such an occurrence.

Ligyrophobics may be fearful of devices that can suddenly emit loud sounds, such as computer speakers or fire alarms. When operating a home theater system, computer, television, CD player, etc., they may wish to have the volume turned down all the way before doing anything that would cause the speakers to emit sound, so that once the command to produce sound is given, the user can raise the volume of the speakers to a comfortable listening level. They may avoid parades and carnivals due to the loud instruments such as drums. Other ligyrophobics also steer clear of any events in which fireworks are to be let off.

Another example is watching someone blow up a balloon beyond its normal capacity. This is often an unsettling, even disturbing thing for a person with ligyrophobia to observe, as he or she anticipates a loud sound when the balloon pops. When balloons pop, two types of reactions are heavy breathing and panic attacks.[4] The sufferer becomes anxious to get away from the source of the loud sound.

Phonophobia occurs with an estimated 15% of the world’s population known to suffer from it.

It may also be related to, caused by, or confused with “hyperacusis“, extreme sensitivity to loud sounds Phonophobia also refers to an extreme form of misophonia.[5]


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