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Noise anxiety

Community Member

Hi~ I'm 32 and 5 years ago came down with sinusitis followed by neck pain, which resulted in my leaving work, I've had 5 surgeries. Being unwell and at home a lot, noisy neighbors really started to grate on me. I guess I've always been a bit noise sensitive, without going in to my past too much, I was neglected as a child and didn't have a sense of safety & security. Have had crippling anxiety before, particularly ages 21-25. Have come a long way in general but noise is something I just can't seem to get over. I think it's largely due to the morality of it. For example, there's no need to play music so loud the whole neighborhood can hear. There's way to have fun without being a nuisance, it's just selfish. Noise that is essential, like construction, doesn't bother me nearly as much nor does it when I'm out.

At our last house it started with a nearby school upgrading their loud speakers. From 8-3 weekdays you'd hear 'ding dong announcement' at least twice an hour. Was so loud, could hear what they'd say clear as day. The street was very busy with parking, which would set off a dog between 8-9 & 3-4. I started using earplugs and sleeping until 4pm just to bypass the noise. Night was the only time you could get peace in that house. Then the house across from us had a group of teens move in who were always in their yard having illegal bonfires. The smoke irritated my sinuses so much I know have a phobia of smoke. I'm cutting it short with the character limit but it was so bad we decided to move.

We chose a solid brick house in a country town, at the end of a dead-end street, opposite a paddock. Should be peaceful right? Soon after, the block next to us started construction. I was worried about them having a dog so politely mentioned it before they moved in. They did and it was fine until they got another dog. It would bark as soon as it heard our door open and would continue relentlessly until we came back in. Goodbye gardening hobby. By this stage, hubby is working at home and I'm sleeping normal hours. After speaking to them many times (nice people actually), they solved the small dog but now their big dog is doing the same thing. They do not walk them. We're also nestled between two people who work on cars and rev their engines. We get a ridiculous amount of traffic for a dead-end. Was woken up at 8 today by the dog and then someone else started blasting music that I yelled at them to turn it down, they called me rude. Feeling sick from anxiety tbh

15 Replies 15

Community Member

That's so interesting that you've heard it too! 100%, it was a humming whirring type sound. A lot like traffic in the distance but with no break in the sound, almost like what I'd imagine a wind farm to sound like. There were some days it wouldn't happen. Very interesting if not a little disturbing lol. Do you have a personal theory on it?

Yes, even if only for the wellbeing on the animals, there should be regulations. It also upsets me when people get pets and treat them like statues, just there to make them happy and it's feelings are insignificant. Oh boy, that's sad about that Father and his kids. My Mother was exactly the same, "the parent is always right, children should do as they're told". To this day she still claims that she didn't know better, that's how she was raised and she was doing her best. I suffered serious neglect and abuse from her and to top it off, she treated me like a problem child, she even regularly called the police on me for verbal arguments (starting from 10), playing the victim and they often believed her, in fact I think she believed herself. In reality, she was an alcoholic who took away everything I loved and enjoyed. We're on speaking terms but to this day, she still has a 'the parent is always right' attitude and doesn't admit wrong doing, even occasionally accusing me of making things up when she can't remember. I asked her once, if she were to witness a child she didn't know being abused by their parents, would she still think that the kid should just do as they're told? She didn't answer that. You are absolutely right that the children can come to believe that. It always seems to go one of two ways, they either grow up to repeat their parents mistakes or like myself, they learn everything that they do not want to be. Sorry for the ramble and don't worry, that part of my life no long upsets me much but it does have a lasting impact on people's life, even just the opportunities they missed out on.

Bass sucks :< I know I've made a big deal out of noise but I can actually differentiate between what's ok and what's crossing a line. Even if someone is crossing a line, if it's a rare occurrence, you have to ride it out, right? The problem lies with how often. When should you stop putting up with bs and stick up for not only yourself but others? There are noises that for sure have to be upsetting more than one person so why does it feel like no one does anything? The answer can't always be do nothing or drown it out.

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Frogs

That sound is an interesting one. Some have referred to it as a natural sound we can hear in the atmosphere, whereas other say it's mechanically generated. To me, it's got more of a natural feel to it. Where that sound's coming from or how it's generated who knows.

I'm so glad you've been able to make sense of your past and the way your relationship with your mum truly played out. I think most families have what they label as their 'problem child'. I was my parents' and my daughter was mine, until I learned she'd always been my 'challenging' child not my 'problem' child. She's 19 now and my son's 16. Before I woke up to her as being one of my teachers in life, I realised how many challenges I'd never consciously risen to. When asking 'Why can't I do that?', she'd get the typical response of 'You just can't'. When asking 'Why are you so mean?', I never gave her a valid answer, instead I'd just shut the conversation down to suit myself. In reality, I was disrespectful, inconsiderate, unreasonable, fairly thoughtless etc. And what did I get in return? Exactly what I gave. Yep, you can inherit a lot of your parents' mantras and behaviours without fully realising, until you suddenly wake up to it all. I can recall the day she fully woke me up. It was on a Sunday, when she was about 11. Her friend and her friend's mum were off to the local pool and they'd have my daughter back by 7pm. I said 'No. You have school tomorrow'. Her response was something along the lines of 'But we'll be having dinner there and I'll be back in plenty of time before I have to go to bed'. Her father agreed, 'I wasn't allowed to stay out that late before a school day either'. She was angry, 'That's ridiculous! It doesn't make sense'. Then it suddenly hit me, she was right. What the heck were our parents thinking?! The plan was logical, reasonable and fun. She ended up going while I spent time reflecting on all the times I'd expressed a lack of reason for my choices other than pretty much 'I wasn't allowed to do that when I was your age'. That was the day I learned - when your child questions you, they're challenging you to raise your consciousness, not shut it down. Kids can be truly brilliant teachers. They can teach us to become more open minded, more reason-able and respectful.

I'm glad reflecting on your childhood now offers you lessons and wisdom rather than great pain. Must have taken a huge amount of work to reach that point. Gotta be proud of that kind of hard work.

Community Member

It is so reassuring to read that other people feel like this, though I'm sorry you do.

My issue is with our neighbours dog. It's an old lady across the road who's deaf and can't hear that it yaps in her backyard. It's never been walked and never comes inside. About 18 months ago she went to hospital and left it in the back yard where it barked 24/7 for a week. I wrote a note to put through her door before I knew she was in hospital and just got abuse by text and on social media by her family. Old lady went somewhere else last November and it did it again. My husband knocked on the door and the video camera on her front door links up to her daughters who verbally abused him. They know it barked non stop but no one cared.

Since then, it has just been regularly yappy at people at the bus stop and walking past, as well as sometimes at night, but by then my anxiety was triggered and I spend the entire time waiting for it to bark. The thing is that it's not actually that loud. My husband doesn't notice it really but i'm so sensitive to it I just focus on it and can't relax.

I always have to have something on, the TV, music, a fan, white noise, air conditioning, just in case it barks. I don't like spending time in the front rooms in the house, don't read books in the silence of the house without headphones in and never feel relaxed in the house. Every time I'm out and I come home I have a feeling of dread and expectation that it will go again and it won't stop like it has done before. I do not have this when i'm away at someone elses house or out in the world. just at home.

At the moment old lady is back in hospital and so dog is back in the back yard and barking 24/7. I'm 6 months pregnant and feel like i'm on the verge of tears or a panic attack knowing i'm powerless to do anything about it.

We are moving soon because we need a bigger house so that should give me some comfort, but i know that my anxiety will just follow me.

Has anyone successfully managed this? I know that for 99% of the time my anxiety is unjustified and in anticipation of the 1% of the time where it genuinely is excessive. It also makes me feel like a crazy person that my husband barely notices it.

Hi Britabroad87 

Thank you for sharing your experience and for joining this community of open and caring people. We can hear that you are having lots of feelings of anxiety with the noise of your neighbours dog. That does sound really difficult. We can also see that you have tried to share your concerns with your neighbour and this hasn’t been a good experience.

While we can’t necessarily help with the barking dog, we do think that we may be able to support the feelings that it is generating for you. If you do feel like you would be interested in learning some strategies to work with these feelings in the moment our team are always available on 1300 22 4636. If you prefer, you can also check our webchat.

We are really sorry that you have been dealing with this and want to congratulate you on being so proactive in looking for a solution. This thread has been a bit quiet for a while so please feel free to have a look around for other conversations you might relate to, or to start your own thread if you like.  

Thanks again for joining us and please feel free to update us on how you are feeling if you are comfortable. 

Kind regards,  

Sophie M 

Hi Britabroad87

I feel for you so very much, I really do. Grrr, it ticks me off when it's us who's left to manage other people's mismanagement. I bet, if you recorded the dog and then played that recording outside the house of your neighbour's children it would drive them to the brink of insanity. Of course, they'd simply demand you turn the recording off until you did. So, how to turn the sound off becomes the question in your case.

Britabroad87, one of the biggest challenges I face in life is the challenge of upsetting people. A lot of the time I can't bring myself to do it, much to my own detriment. Being 'a feeler' or 'a sensitive' can be a major challenge at times. 1) You can feel through your imagination the possible stress you may cause, 2) You can feel, ahead of time, the abuse you're most likely going to cop, 3) You feel for the person or people involved (or animal/s) you're going to impact, (4 You feel a sense of guilt that may come with your actions, 5) You feel your own nervous system and how it's impacting your heart rate, lung function, vascular system (including the blood pressure in that system) etc. So much to feel when you're a feeler. As a feeler, I try my best to manage the facts and nothing but the facts in some cases. Bit of emotional detachment involved here. Easier said than done.

The facts

  • No one is managing the barking, outside of your husbands efforts. I bet some of your neighbours (especially those sensitive to sound) are wishing, like you, someone would. I can't imagine others aren't agitated. Constantly barking dogs do my head in
  • You want to hear no barking or, as a compromise, very little barking. Perfectly fair in my opinion
  • The family blatantly refuse to manage
  • You can't reason with the family, as they've proven themselves to be unreasonable and abusive. They just won't listen to reason
  • The local council will give them good reason/s to act responsibly, especially if it's going to cost the family time and money

The dog sounds possibly stressed, sad and lonely. Maybe explaining to the council 'The dog sounds stressed, sad and lonely and barks for hours based on the family neglecting it and there being no one on the property for long periods of time' might get their attention.

If you want to kind of flip the script a little on the family, could say to them something along the lines of 'That poor dog sounds regularly upset to the point where I just wanted someone to give it the attention it's so incredibly desperate for'.

I totally agree that it is reassuring to read that others have this issue with neighbor noise, although it saddens me too, and I wish I had a solution. I have quite severe anxiety attacks when I can hear party / drunken socializing noise from neighbors - part of complex PTSD from abusive childhood. I am hyper vigilant about it, so can be fully triggered by just hearing certain kinds of voices, even if nothing more happens. Once triggered, the anxiety is impossible to turn off, and I just have to wait for the noise to stop. I have moved house a few times on account of it, and am currently living next to awful, nasty, selfish, angry people with whom I have had several disputes about noise and other issues. I am seeking support to deal with the complex PTSD, hoping that I can dial down the anxiety response to noise as a result. I agree with other posts re the rise in selfishness and the reflex attack response that you get if you even politely raise a issue with neighbors. I doubt you can ever really sort this stuff out amicably - people just will not accept that they live in a community. I simply would not dream of doing anything deliberately that might annoy those close by, so I just don’t understand it. Plus I hate living in an atmosphere of hostility. So much for Covid bringing neighbors and community together. I am trying to focus on the people I know who are not like that, and trying to feel compassion for all the people who are so angry and negative, so they don’t hijack my equilibrium.