Noise anxiety: exceptional sensitivity to neighbor sounds

This post has been thanked 2 times. 14 January 2018 - 13:59

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Hi, dear OCD community,

I have searched for a similar topic on this forum, but couldn't find anything. I know that intolerance to certain sounds is a common problem between those with OCD - it is called misophonia or noise anxiety. 

I am having a very hard time with any sounds coming from my neighbours' apartment. These sounds don't have to be particularly loud - even a little bump causes me a lot of stress. Feelings of anxiety and anger overwhelm me each time I hear an unwanted sound and all that I can do is concentrate on this noise, trying to figure out where it is coming from and thinking of how inconsiderate my neighbours are. 

Recently, all this obsessing about neigbors' sounds has come to the level where I cannot work, read or enjoy my everyday life anymore. I feel tired, stressed, angry and filled with very dark thoughts. Earplugs hurt my ears very much, so they are not an option. I also cannot afford to move to some other place - anyway, I doubt if moving would help as the problem is obviously in me, not in my neighbours. 

I just wish I could pay no attention to all small sounds that surround me and have some peace of mind finally. If there are any people here who also suffer from the same problem, please share your experience.

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This post has been thanked 1 time. 22 January 2018 - 20:53

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Hi

This post seemed to temporarily disappear last week, because I noticed it , and when I went back to it it wasn't there!

Anyway just to say I can really relate to this post, and I have great difficulty with it also. Likewise i learnt from some research it came under related spectrum disorders. I think I am not just sensitive to noise but to other things, such as clothes feeling uncomfortable, light, and being sensitive to other people's emotions. There is a book called 'The Highly Sensitive Person' which describes these things.

One of the reasons for moving back in with my parents was noticing every single sound from neighbours in my previous flat, aswell as having to put up with a lot of downright unsociable noise from neighbours.

There is a therapy called "Acceptance and Committment Therapy" which would probably say it could help with such problems, but personally it hasn't helped me with this particular problem a great deal. I'm just mentioning it in case it could help you. 

Other than that just wanted to acknowledge your pain and it was refreshing to see a post about this from someone who shared the difficulty.

RF

 

 

28 January 2018 - 13:42

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Thank you so much for your reply, RouteFinder. In my country there is a very limited access to any kind of professional psychological help - here people still prefer to prescribe medication for any problem that you have, and this certainly not what I am looking for. Still, thank you for mentioning that such therapy exists, I will look for some information on the internet. Meanwhile, I try to make use of the white noise machine.

 

28 January 2018 - 20:38

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Hi Decameron, seems pretty tough there's no psychological help available where you live - in the UK it's available although with an absurdly long waiting list if you're not paying for it. Do you mind me asking where you live?

I saw in a previous post of yours that you lived in a student building so I guess I presumed you lived somewhere with a university.

Do you get any support anywhere else for your ocd difficulties?

RF

29 January 2018 - 16:41

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I live in Eastern Europe, in a country that belongs to the post-Soviet bloc. Although we are a free democratic country now, psychiatric and psychological treatment here is still in a very poor state: I believe that there are some really good private psychologists, but you have to be really rich to afford them - they're certainly not for a student. Those that work in the public sector (I'm not sure what the right word is) still have very limited - if any - understanding of what, for instance, cognitive-behavioral therapy is - they tend to prescribe serious medication really easily, usually with no explanation of side effects etc. As you can see, I have no one to help me with my problem, but I am very open about my OCD thoughts with my mother who is very supportive. 

I don't know how about you, but I somehow managed to control other OCD thoughts in my everyday life - you just adapt. For instance, if I worry excessively if my electric devices are really turned off when I leave the apartment I take the picture of the room with my phone - for some reason, this really helps not to worry if everything is OK at home. Something that I cannot control is constantly checking my purse when I'm out - if the money or the keys are still in there.

Going back to the noise problem, I still have no clue how to overcome it. But I have started reading a book about the acceptance and commitment therapy.

Thank you for your responses, you are very kind. One particular thing is interesting to me: you mentioned that you live with your parents. Are you annoyed by the sounds that your family members make?

This post has been thanked 1 time. 3 February 2018 - 4:27

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AlMy OCD is actually very sound oriented — like contamination but with sounds? So many sounds are just disgusting and dirty and horrible that it overwhelms me with anxiety and anger. However, something I’ve found to cope, is negating “dirty sounds” with “clean sounds”. I’m a musician, so for me the cleanest of sounds of Bach’s Motets. There is nothing more structured and clean and orderly, and if you get the right recording the pitch and tempos are all pristine!! That’s my clean sound, so now to work through the anxiety I’ll usually play one of those or even hum it — to the annoyance of everyone else, but honestly I’d rather be annoying than have a full blown panic attack lol. 

It’s not really a cure because it is kind of a compulsion (I must have a clean sound) to cope with an obsession (certain sounds are unutterably horrible)... but it is a temporary fix until meds and therapy can help you better if you so choose! 

Also, I’d like to add that I’ve found my anxiety to be lower and my tolerance higher when I workout that day. I suffer really horrible anxiety, so it isn’t a fix but there is a real change. I can sit next to a person who breathes audibly without feeling a need to scream or rip their head off, so really, a big change hahaha

3 February 2018 - 16:26

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Hi Decameron

Sorry I've not replied in a few days.

I've actually just spent the last half hour typing a reply to your post and somehow deleted it by mistake. My mind has gone so mushy now I will have to come back to it later. So annoying and frustrating!

RF

 

This post has been thanked 1 time. 4 February 2018 - 20:51

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Dear efthalia and RouteFinder,

thank you both for your replies. RouteFinder, I am sorry that you deleted your post by mistake, but don't feel any pressure and reply whenever you have time and are in a proper mood. It is very interesting to read what other people who have similar experiences think and how they cope with them. I also hope that you or anyone else who also suffers from certain sounds will find at least something that I write helpful.

efthalia, this "clean-sound" technique is familiar to me. I remember that I was living very peacefully when I had a room with the windows to the street with extremelly heavy (like, really heavy) traffic that wouldn't stop even at night or on weekends. Also the windows were very large and of a poor quality, so I was constantly living with this sound of cars passing by. Although nobody else seemed to tolerate the sound and would ask me how I manage to study or sleep in such a noisy environment, this traffic noise seemed to relax and soothe me a lot - especially because it would block the sound of my neighbours. This is certainly nothing close to Bach, but at the time it was the most comforting sound to me! Now, when my windows do not face the street, I constantly keep the electric heater on (if it's not actually cold in your room, you can regulate it so that it doesn't produce any heat, but where I live it's really useful as we have very cold winters) - it makes this "hummmm" sound which absorbs some of the 'bad' sounds.

Stay strong and best wishes to everyone. 

13 February 2018 - 19:35

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Hi Decameron, and other forum users, how are you?

Really appreciated your understanding reply, Decameron, thanks.

Ive been kind of stuck with things in the last couple of weeks, including having technical problems with this forum. Ive noticed when I've posted something new, it doesn't appear (and stay) in new posts with everyone else's. It comes and goes! Your original post about noise disappeared on the forum for about a week, cos I mentioned I couldn't find it if you remember at the start. Other people's messages have been wandering I've noticed, as well. Ive messaged Admin but with no real help. I would really like to gain benefit from this forum and other users, as I think many other users benefit greatly, but at present its causing some stress! Don't worry, Im not expecting you to be an expert with computer issues, just wondered if anyone else had experienced this. The only reply that I got from my very first post (only really been a forum user since January) was that "I posted it in the wrong folder" and Im wondering if anyone else saw this post, as it was quite personal to me and I was looking for some support. If you read this, I would really appreciate it if you could find my post and reply to it! Its a week old now, I think on page 11 plus..... But last time I looked it wasn't in new posts with other posts of that age. Its called "Lack of Recognition Of Achievements In day to day Life". I might try posting a copy of it in "OCD Achievements" as well.

Well I think that's about it for now, wish you all the best, and hope to hear from you soon,

RF

 

 

13 February 2018 - 19:55

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Apologies! My post "Lack of Recognition Of my OCD Achievements In day to day Life" is now on page 9 of the main OCD folder forum, thanks.

15 August 2018 - 18:31

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Hello everyone,

I have recently thought that it would be a good idea to revive the topic. Maybe someone new will come here and share their experiences; I am also looking forward to hearing from RouteFinder and efthalia - how you two are doing? Any new ways to overcome the stress and anxiety that is caused by the neighbour noise?

I am having a really tough time now as I have new neigbours - one of the worst ones that I've ever had - and must listen to constant door-slamming, heavy walking etc. Any friendly words will be greatly appreciated!

Decameron

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