Earplugs Are in My Toolbox for Schizoaffective Disorder

March 30, 2023 Elizabeth Caudy

I have a tool in my toolbox for schizoaffective disorder that I haven’t written about before. The tool is earplugs.

Why Does This Schizoaffective Need Earplugs in Her Toolbox?

I have acute hearing. That means that sounds in my environment hit me really hard. If I’m in a loud restaurant, the din of chatter around me is amplified and can be quite disturbing. So, I use earplugs to cut out the chatter.

I try to be discreet about the fact that I’m wearing earplugs. I cover my ears with my long hair. But one time, at the opening of a show featuring the work of one of my graduate photography professors, it was getting very noisy. I put in my earplugs. Then I heard someone else at the show say, “Hmm. Earplugs.” I was really embarrassed, but I needed the calm.

I never used earplugs when I heard schizoaffective voices. Since the voices were in my head, earplugs would have just amplified them.

One Time I Really Needed Earplugs in My Toolbox

Now I want to share a funny story about when I needed earplugs. Well, it’s funny looking back on it. I was pretty miserable at the time.

My husband, Tom, and I were eating lunch at our favorite restaurant. There were another woman and man sitting at a nearby booth, talking loudly. I felt as though they thought they were so witty and clever they wanted people to hear what they were saying. That may be unfair. I don’t remember much of what they were saying, except that the woman mentioned she thought the rocker Liz Phair stinks. Liz Phair is from the Chicago area, where Tom and I live, so she brings up a lot of comments around here. (And, by the way, I like Liz Phair.)

The couple kept talking so loudly that other people in the restaurant, including Tom, joined in. That’s the point where I put in my earplugs.

So then, the woman came over to our table. She and Tom had a conversation, but I was doing my best to ignore her politely. I did catch that she and the man she was with were professional storytellers. But I was really at the end of my endurance for noise. I was focusing on the food I was eating, looking down. My earplugs dimmed the conversation. I just wanted her to go away. I didn’t even mind that she gave Tom her business card; I was so focused on my inner struggle. But I think that if she were hitting on him, she wouldn’t have done it in front of me. Also, she kept trying to bring me into the conversation. I wasn’t having it.

Tom promptly discarded her business card. I didn’t blame Tom for talking to the couple. It’s normal to want to get to know new people. Most people don’t feel as I do by strangers being friendly. I’m just not one of those people. And I especially don’t like groups of loud people. My earplugs are in my toolbox wherever I go.

APA Reference
Caudy, E. (2023, March 30). Earplugs Are in My Toolbox for Schizoaffective Disorder, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 22 from

Author: Elizabeth Caudy

Elizabeth Caudy was born in 1979 to a writer and a photographer. She has been writing since she was five years old. She has a BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and an MFA in photography from Columbia College Chicago. She lives outside Chicago with her husband, Tom. Find Elizabeth on Google+ and on her personal blog.

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