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There are several parts of living in this world that give me stress and anxiety. Yet my greatest source of fear is, and always has been something which is named “globophobia”.

Essentially globophobia is referred to as a fear of balloons, usually as a result of the noise they make when they burst. Yet this phobia does often extend to anything else which makes the same noise.

The name “globophobia” isn’t as well known as some others are. However the phobia itself has been heard of by most people at some stage of their life. As young children it’s rather common to experience fear of the shock of loud and sudden noises. But it becomes a lot more unusual as we progress to older children and into adulthood.

From the very beginning of my life I have been terrified of loud, sharp noises; as well as being fearful about receiving the distinctive shock in my heart from hearing a noise like that. My autism also heightens my reaction to sensory stimuli including noises around me.

When I was three years old I met a clown at a fairground who was blowing up a balloon to give to me. But instead of being excited I screamed and ran away. Mum then told him that I was a child who’s scared of balloons, yet my then 18 month old sister did like them. So the balloon was offered to Jessica. Though mum (after thanking him extensively) explained that the mere sight of a balloon nearby would make me very fearful. Events with fireworks shows would also make me equally frightened. There has too been an additional feeling of guilt within me that all of my younger siblings (while I was present) missed out on a lot of these experiences which children should enjoy.

During my school years (primary school in particular) my phobia came out into the open more, and this added embarrassment to my list of uncomfortable feelings. Whenever we had balloons in the classroom I would instinctively cover my ears and run out of the room. There were some kids who teased me because of that. In Grade 2 our class was set to go to a local theme park to see some circus and magic shows. Yet mum and my teacher agreed that I shouldn’t go along due to my phobia. I agreed too, despite that meaning that I couldn’t go to the Warner Bros theme park.


At the age of fourteen I went to see the stunt police car show at that same theme park. However when they were firing guns (which were fake but with an identical loud cracking sound) I was shaking and crying. Finally at the end of the show there was a massive explosion. During that I lost control completely and was screaming hysterically. It took a long time for my family and the helpful staff at the show to calm me down, and I was extremely embarrassed.

Throughout my entire life to the present moment, this phobia of mine hasn’t passed or lessened. I’ve never been able to enjoy a fireworks display while hearing the sounds, and whenever I see a child bouncing on a balloon I instinctively cover my ears and run away (even into a busy road or car park, if there’s no where else to run away to).

However in the past decade I’ve been travelling to California a few times and visiting the Disney parks. It’s been during those trips when I have desperately wished that I wasn’t too scared to enjoy the spectacular pyrotechnic displays at nighttime. It’s a 13 hour flight from my home town of Brisbane, though it took us many trips to find a solution to the problem. However it finally came to us that the perfect solution was to use earmuffs. Regular earmuffs aren’t strong enough to cover the noise of fireworks and balloons bursting. But industrial earmuffs are, and luckily they are easily available to us because we own and run a car/motorcycle spray painting workshop.

So on our most recent trip to Disneyland me and my brother Dylan (who also doesn’t like loud and sharp noises) wore earmuffs while watching the fireworks show. I felt so happy because I finally got to enjoy my first pyrotechnic show. Dylan felt exactly the same. As for balloons it’s a bit more of a challenge because I can’t walk around shopping centers wearing earmuffs the whole time just in case I unexpectedly see a balloon. The reason being that I would be unable to hear anyone talking to me. However over the years I’ve learned to keep a sharp eye out for any signs of a balloon and as soon as I see one I’ll do my best to stay clear of that area.