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can loud noises cause seizures?

3 Answer(s) Available
Answer # 1 #

Only a few people said they hadn't noticed any triggers at all and that their seizures just happened 'randomly'. Feeling helpless in trying to avoid or minimise the risk of seizures was very frustrating for many. Physical triggers The physical triggers that young people described included:

Reflex epilepsy is the name of seizures which are triggered by the person's sensitivity to sensory stimuli (something that stimulates the senses). The most common is photosensitive epilepsy, rarer triggers include noises or music. Several people said that tiredness was a definite trigger for them. One woman said that if she gets overtired, a seizure is 'guaranteed' to happen. Besides lack of sleep, irregular sleeping patterns were also a trigger for some.

Many people said they tried to avoid getting tired by not staying up late at night, studying or watching TV. Others said that if they'd been up late, they made sure they slept in the next day or, if planning to go out and stay up late, they got plenty of sleep beforehand. One woman said that if she needs to go somewhere in the morning, she makes sure she gets up early enough to avoid having to rush around.  A few people for whom tiredness was a trigger said they had to bear this in mind with work. Some were wary of working shifts, for example. Not eating properly was a trigger for some people. They tried to make sure that they ate regularly and healthily and, if they were planning a night out, made sure they'd eaten a proper meal beforehand.

A few people had noticed that extreme temperatures made them more likely to have a seizure. For most this was hot conditions, for example hot nightclubs and gigs or travelling in hot countries. For one woman it was cold temperatures that made her have a seizure, so she had to be extra careful in the winter. A few people's seizures were triggered by doing sport and exercise. Some people had had seizures when playing football and rugby, whilst running or at the gym. A couple of people had their very first seizure while doing exercise. Those whose seizures were triggered by exercise said they'd become cautious about doing sport at all and one young man said he is too scared to play football anymore.

**Collapsing during exercise can be a serious sign of a heart problem and always requires immediate medical assessment. For a couple of people, loud and unexpected noises triggered their seizures. These included loud bangs, dogs barking, rock concerts or noisy sports crowds.

For a few of the young women we spoke to, seizures were more likely to happen around the time of their period. When seizures occur around the time of menstruation, it is called catamenial epilepsy.

One woman said hormones seem to generally affect her epilepsy and noticed that her seizures became more regular and severe after she'd had a miscarriage.  Being photosensitive Photosensitive epilepsy means having seizures that are triggered by flashing lights, strobe lights and for some, by certain geometric shapes and patterns. About 5% of people with epilepsy are photosensitive (NHS Choices 2014).

Quite a few young people we spoke with had been diagnosed with photosensitive epilepsy. For many, flashing lights and strobe lights in night clubs and concerts could trigger seizures. Because of this, a couple of people couldn't go to clubs at all, others had found ways around this. They, for example, called the box office or the event organisers beforehand to ask if the event would have any flashing lights and if it was safe for them to go. Just closing their eyes or covering one eye when flashing lights came on also helped some.

Going to the cinema was a problem for some people who were photosensitive. Again, they would call the box office or ask friends who'd seen the film if it was OK for them to go. Some cinemas now provide a warning when showing films with flashing lights. Working on computers, watching PowerPoint presentations or using overhead projectors in school affected many who were photosensitive. Using anti-glare screens helped some, and they all said they tried not to spend too much time on the computer and took a lot of breaks. One woman followed all the PowerPoint presentations at university from paper copies.

A couple of people, not diagnosed as photosensitive, said they'd noticed that flashing lights could still make them feel 'uncomfortable' or 'iffy'. One young woman said she sometimes got an aura from flashing lights. A couple of people also described a feeling of being 'sucked in' by the TV and feeling like they might have a seizure if they went too close to a big screen.

Psychological & emotional triggers The psychological triggers young people talked about included school or work-related stress (including exam stress), emotional stress, being nervous or under pressure, feeling upset and being depressed.

A few people had their first seizures in, or just before, their GCSE exams. Concentrating hard on something for a long period of time was a trigger factor for a couple of people.

Emotional stress at home or in relationships was also a trigger for some people's seizures. One man said his seizures increased after he'd split up from his long-term girlfriend. One woman had more frequent seizures during the time her parents were getting divorced and home life was unsettled. Feeling nervous and upset could also trigger seizures for some. For some people, individual trigger factors didn't affect them but a combination of a few made having a seizure very likely.

Medicine taking and lifestyle triggers Some people said that missing their medication, irregular medicine taking, drinking alcohol, having a hangover or using recreational drugs triggered their seizures (see 'Alcohol, smoking and recreational drugs'). A few people said that missing a dose of their medication made them feel 'shaky' and likely to have a seizure. One woman described this sensation as feeling 'a bit epi'. A couple of people said they sometimes took their tablets at irregular times because taking them at set times every day was difficult to remember (see 'Medication'). Several people said alcohol triggered their seizures. Many felt they knew their own 'safe limit' with alcohol; for some this was one glass of wine, for others it was more. A couple of people said that it wasn't so much the drinking but the hangover the next day that triggered seizures. People's approaches to drinking varied a lot. Some had decided to stop drinking completely to avoid possible seizures, others drank in moderation. A few said they didn't want to compromise on this aspect of their life and so hadn't made any changes.

Similarly, a few people said that taking recreational drugs made them have seizures. Drinking alcohol and using recreational have particular risks for people with epilepsy (see 'Alcohol, smoking and recreational drugs').

Sandeep Offerman
Social Worker
Answer # 2 #

Startle epilepsy is a type of reflex epilepsy in which seizures are provoked by loud noises or sudden surprises. Most patients with startle epilepsy are only sensitive to one sensory modality (i.e. temperature, taste, sound, pressure).

Hansen nnqgd Farzana
Answer # 3 #

Hi,  everyone and thanks lIbrought her out of itaurie for posting this thread! I am Melissa a.k.a. Melkcar, I'm 18 years old and my mom is online with me as she often is - cause some graphics (animated) and other things put me into absence szrs. and I tend to "swallow my tongue" during some szrs.

My problems began just one year ago-Saturday was my anniversary-lol- 'cause if you don't, we'll cry That's my mom talking!  The first two doctors in two ERs spent hours talking about recreational drugs, until my mom said"Why don't you run a tox screen so you can stop asking if I'm sure she isn't on something/ And then maybe we can move on and actually DO something about this?" To compress several months into a paragraph we went to Sick Kids, where the neuro resident and his supervising doctor thought she has Tourette's Syndrome- probably because Melissa has a lot of vocalization (tics). Anyway, this neuro assured us that what we now know as absence szrs and atonic szrs were definitely common in TS. Well, he referred her to the TS Clinic at Toronto Western. After three weekly one hour appointments, they declared she does NOT have TS. We went to a neuro in a nearby town several times-he's pretty cool since we started speaking frankly to him-he makes referrals and orders tests AND he actually returns phone calls. He's the "co-ordinating" doctor -Melissa and I felt like every doctor was just passing us off to the next one- kind of like ping-pong balls- so this neuro said he would act as a primary doctor and co-ordinate things. Anyway, after Melissa had an atonic szr while walking from the waiting room into his office right by his side, he stood with his mouth dropped and the two receptionists came running in. I brought her out of it and the neuro said "What was that?" We said "This is what we've been telling you about-she can be walking, talking, doing anything - and then she just drops to the ground - no warning - just smack to the ground or floor. We've been telling you this for months. That's why she has been in a wheelchair at school. What did you think we were talking about?" (Sorry to you guys, i must sound like i'm ranting and raving - but you know how it is! you are probably the only people who know how it is!) And it is good that Dr.M. witnessed that episode - that's probably half of why he treats Melissa so attentively. But still it was Melissa who went on the internet, typed in types of seizures and found By the way, i noticed the Editor of the site answered Laurie's initial inquiry, if you are reading this - thanks for your website, we've learned a lot here, and this chat room/message board idea is amazing!!!

Anyway, through the Types of seizures section, Melissa found the names for what happens to her - she has absence szrs, atonics, simple partials, complex partials, clonics, tonic-clonics and clonic-tonic-clonic szrs. Just two days ago, we discovered Reflex Epilepsy (I'm embarrassed to admit we didn't read the entire website sooner)  We are wondering if reflex epilepsy could explain why she has vocalizations? Loud noises - such as trucks passing/near us when we're in the car make her squawk or shriek, any unexpected noises, like a baby crying or just making loud vocalizations in a store or restaurant-make Melissa repeat the sound. Both the sirens and the flashing lights on Emergency vehicles make Melissa vocalize loudly. I should mention that Melissa has had a headache since May 28 last year when this whole thing started with what she thought was an ear infection - because at first it was just pain in her ear and a headache. During last summer, with the heat and humidity, she would be lying on the kitchen floor (the coolest place-and kind of the hangout room at our house) anyway, Melissa would be lying on the floor with pillows under her head, her arms and her feet crying for literally hours and shreiking at the top of her lungs when somebody turned on  their lawnmowers-because both heat and certain noise triggers make her headache escalate to what she says is like a knife going through her head again and again. This also happens when somone clicks quickly through tv channels with the remote. She always vocalizes or shrieks - and sometimes will go out. Absence/atonic szrs happen mostly when there is a light factor-either the tv or flashing lights on ambulances, etc. From reading, we know other people have szrs from light triggers but do any of you have the vocalization thing? I'm afraid to jinx it, but it sounds like Laurie and some others are having T-C szrs from lights - so far Melissa doesn't, just absences and atonics from strobe-like effects. She feels that heat may be a trigger for many of her T-Cs. When she first started AEDs she had zero T-Cs for about six weeks, then when the weather warmed up to the 70 degrees F and warmer, she is having muktiple T-Cs for several days at a time. What do you guys think?

Finding the Reflex Epilepsy information was also fabulous for us because so far we have no knowledge of any family history of Epilepsy, but on the reflex E info sheet it relates Reflex E to children with a parent who is also sensitive to flashing lights. That is a link for Melissa - I have suffered migraines for over twenty years and strobe-like light effects are probably my worst trigger. Also flickering lights, like an almost burnt-out flourescent, the cop cars, ambulances and tow truck lights, the sun flickering through trees, .... and Melissa also is affected by most, if not all of these. Melissa's older sister also has had migraines since she was 17 or so. Melissa's twin does not, neither do either of her brothers.

Sorry to have gone on so long, I apologize for ruining your eyes for the next hour or so (which happens to Melissa-espescially with textbooks or poorly photocopied handouts)

Melissa also has her own language, and after some szrs she finds she cannot talk at all, also sometimes she cannot move the left side of her body - but we'll have to get to those things another time. (people cringe).

Thanks for listening! and looking forward to some replies,

Melissa and her mom.