Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Son with possible schizophrenia

Yes, there’s a tendency to perceive things as too loud or feel overstimulated by light and sound when you are ill. Sometimes things a “normal” person might overlook. I remember during my hospital stay trying to track down a sound with another patient and finding a PA speaker that was buzzing in the ceiling near the nurses station. An intern asked us what we were doing and I showed him, and he chuckled and said, “Yep, it’s buzzing alright.” as if this was a normal if somewhat trivial thing.

I’ve mentioned in the past that inattentiveness in public and noisy spaces can sometimes be chalked up to desperately trying to process a cacophony of sound or follow multiple conversations at once. Behaviors like retreating to a familiar room or avoiding loud or angry-sounding voices may be an adaptation of self care or preservation. Playing music loudly is another coping mechanism. You may notice extremes of volume— either speaking very quietly or shouting very loudly and not much in between. Sound filtering and perception in my experience can be “off” because of the illness. This causes me issues to this day, not so much because of symptoms of hallucinations or “voices”, but rather I’m unclear what a “normal” volume is. It’s been exacerbated by my parents’ hearing decline, and my vocal / theater training, since I know how to project and can speak loudly and distinctly if pressed.

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The sound volume is his thing - usually he’s sitting in the garage, smoking and listening to CDs and I’m afraid he’ll bug the neighbors with it up so loud. I’ve threatened to super glue the volume knob in place but I know that it would be just one more radio/CD player/boom box down the toilet and he may be trying to drown out the other voices. I appreciate your insight!

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Thanks for taking the time to write this. A lot of good points and things to think about. As a wife I knew another man needed to suggest/tell/direct my husband to take medication because he was not and has not listened to me. It’s hard being a woman trying to tell /coax/convince a man what to do.

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