Fear Of Thunder

The booming crash of thunder in the sky above us can be frightening. While most people are able accept the sound of thunder as a natural part of life, others cannot: they develop a phobia known as Brontophobia.

Reasons For This Phobia

The fear of thunder may develop due to the sound itself. Thunder also signifies the strong possibility of dangerous lightning strikes. In areas of the world where thunder and lightning are common, more fear may result. If a person with Brontophobia is afraid of extreme weather and electrical storms, they will become stressed and agitated when they hear the boom of thunder.


The Sound Of Lightning?

Thunder is the way lightning sounds. We tend to see lightning before we hear thunder, only because of the speed at which these forces travel. So, often, a fear of lightning, known as Astrophobia, can coexist with Brontophobia.

For those with sensitive hearing, the fear of thunder can stem from the sound itself. The decibel level of thunder is usually measured at about 120 db, a little under that of loud power tools like chainsaws. Therefore, the volume of thunder can be off-putting to those who fear hearing loss, already have some measure of difficulties with nerve damage in the ears, or other hearing ailments, or anyone who needs to protect their hearing.

Since thunder can come from out of nowhere, it can be difficult to protect the ears against this level of noise.

Thunder is often used to denote intensity and power in music lyrics, films, and so on. The natural force of thunder and lightning is a potent reminder that Nature is truly its own mistress. There is really no way to control the weather or to stop extreme weather from occuring. For some, the crack of loud thunder in a stormy sky can be an unwelcome reminder of human weakness and even mortality. The common theme of Man Vs. Nature, which comes up in literature and poetry, is also a trigger for Brontophobia.

One popular song by hard-rock veterans AC/DC, uses the imagery and power of thunder to great effect. In their rock anthem, Thunderstruck, singer Brian Jones sings:

was caught
In the middle of a railroad track (Thunder)
I looked ’round,
And I knew there was no turning back (Thunder)
My mind raced
And I thought what could I do? (Thunder)
And I knew
There was no help, no help from you (Thunder)
Sound of the drums
Beatin’ in my heart
The thunder of guns!
Tore me apart
You’ve been – thunderstruck!


This song uses thunder as a metaphor, comparing it to gunfire, drums, and strong emotions.

Those who fear thunder may exhibit some compulsions, such as checking weather forecasts obsessively. The Weather Channel and other means of monitoring weather may make it easy to avoid triggers, but weather predictions are often wrong. For this reason, there is really no clear and reliable pathway to avoiding thunder.


Anxiety, tension in the muscles, nausea, headaches, and dizziness can come when fear of thunder arises. Sometimes, panic attacks will occur. If the person with Brontophobia gets caught outside in bad weather (thunder), they may become very frightened. Sometimes, fear of going outside (Agoraphobia) can be a result of this phobia. When Brontophobia affects daily life, treatment options should be considered.

The fear of thunder is also referred to as:

  • thunder fear
  • phobia of thunder
  • thunder phobia
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