Author Topic: noise sensitivity and mustachianism  (Read 13927 times)

scrubbyfish

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noise sensitivity and mustachianism
« on: May 30, 2014, 09:46:27 AM »
Enjoying meditation.
Love silence or near-silence all day, every day, everywhere.
Love hanging out with monks and others in silent or near-silent spaces, the most comfortable of which I've so far found in the countryside.
If it were just me, I would live somewhere like that.

However, my son needs me to live near other humans, activities, amenities, and supports.

I could pay $1200/mo for a quiet place near sufficient amenities/people, or $570/mo for a potentially noisy place near more amenities/people.

I have been doing the latter the last 18 months, and have been feeling very adversely affected by the noise (preschooler running, thumping, banging, and screaming upstairs off and on between 530am and 1130pm; neighbours across the yard chatting over their midnight and 3am smoke breaks; etc). I'm the same with noise from Vancouver's outdoor movies and stadiums sneaking into my suite, traffic, TVs, etc. When the noise is happening, I feel immediately very stressed, drained, and exhausted. I cannot sleep through it, nor work when it's happening.

My internal reaction to noise -day and night- is so wild and strong that I have so far feared the latter, but economically it makes SO MUCH SENSE.

I need to explore this noise/money question with you intelligent people, to resolve it once and for all!

Questions:

Why do so many monks and other meditators live in silent areas? Is it just cheaper for them (e.g., large building in rural area), or does a silent area help them be "better" monks/etc?

Is it possible to be a happy, calm, peaceful, joyful person who used to need silence but now thrives equally in noise?

Are there ways for "highly sensitive" and autism spectrum folks (I am one) to just totally release/resolve/cure their internal reaction to noise?
« Last Edit: May 30, 2014, 03:33:07 PM by scrubbyfish »

payitoff

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Re: meditation/silence/noise and mustachianism
« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2014, 09:57:00 AM »
Is noise destructive to you?  if its not, you can always compromise to a quiet time, wake up extra early, watch the sunrise, sleep a little late, have a glass of wine/tea on the couch when everyone else is asleep. meditate in between, noise reduction curtains, block off outside noise with meditative music at home etc. it may be chaotic outside but if you create a zen atmosphere at home, noise outside dont matter anymore.

what are your goals? if you like to spend less now to FI soon, then that's another $7500/yr towards FI sooner :)



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Re: meditation/silence/noise and mustachianism
« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2014, 10:24:41 AM »
Zen isn't about silience remember that.

With your savings you could easily buy noise reductioning headphones for use during mediation time.

catccc

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Re: meditation/silence/noise and mustachianism
« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2014, 10:43:47 AM »
I was talking to DH about his sensitivity to noise.  I think it is less a sensitivity to noise and more an inability to focus.  It's like he hears everything all at once.  I compared it to when spiderman first gets his spidey sense and can't help but hear everything.  Did superman have that, too? 

Anyway, my point is, I think you can thrive in noise if you can focus your mind on the silence.  I do this sometimes, and it is nice.  I can get the same serene feeling overlooking a view at a national park in silence while at a ice cream shop filled with screaming kids.  I think this would just take some practice, but I'm not special, I feel like if I can do something, most other people can, too.

phred

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Re: meditation/silence/noise and mustachianism
« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2014, 12:05:00 PM »
little bits of noise are really intrusive if you're reading/studying; they distract.  However, if it's lots of noise, then it just becomes a background hum like a gurgling brook.  I get a lot of reading done at the food court; the wall of noise blanks out sudden noises

deborah

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Re: meditation/silence/noise and mustachianism
« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2014, 02:48:11 PM »
Soundproof one room of your house - if you use insulation, you get double the benefit, in that the room is much cooler in summer and warmer in winter.

scrubbyfish

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Re: noise sensitivity and mustachianism
« Reply #6 on: May 30, 2014, 03:46:59 PM »
I am really, really liking the thoughts and ideas! Thank you!!

Yes, if I move into a very cheap place, I am willing to put some cash in to modify whatever I can, so soundproofing a room, putting up heavy curtains, etc, are totally options.

Yes to the spidey sense/hearing everything! It's like my mind/senses are on overdrive, hyperalert to sound, whether the punctuating sound that bothers more people, or the more constant "ocean's hum" in a food court. (Or, heck, the ocean itself. Yes, even the sound of waves -so soothing for so many- is very, very hard for me.)

I've now edited my original post to be more clear about the sounds and my responses. Basically, only 4am-5am are consistently silent here. All other hours are totally hit and miss. So, there will often be several hours straight of silence, which is what I'm living on, but I can't know when those are going to be. And I'm starting to ask myself how far into the country I need to take myself to feel well, to support my attachment to quiet...  Wondering if there are things I can change in my suite or in my body to live the rest of my life happily, regardless of ambient noise. I mean, my son lives within the same 450 sq feet, also has autism, and is also easily overstimulated, but he sleeps through it all at night, and is cheerful through it during the day. So, how can I be like him? :)

Please keep 'em coming!

CarDude

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Re: noise sensitivity and mustachianism
« Reply #7 on: May 30, 2014, 03:51:27 PM »
Hearing protectors! I bought a pair of these years ago when I needed to be able to work quietly, and they were excellent. Also came in very handy for lawn mowing before I switched to a reel mower.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2014, 11:08:33 AM by CarSafetyGuy »

Astatine

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Re: noise sensitivity and mustachianism
« Reply #8 on: May 30, 2014, 04:01:27 PM »
I'm hypersensitive to noise. I don't have any suggestions, sorry, but I utterly empathise. Sometimes it feels like the world is built for those who thrive on noise. Bass noises from music are the worst for me and earplugs do not cut that noise out.

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Re: noise sensitivity and mustachianism
« Reply #9 on: May 30, 2014, 04:23:09 PM »
I use to experience something similar to your situation and I could not tolerate sounds especially background noises.  Over the years I dedicated more time to breathing techniques and meditation exercises.  I found my concerns were rooted in my difficulty simply focusing.  Complete silence did not solve my situation.  The real challenge I found was calming the noise inside myself.  Learning to calm my inner voices takes constant practice and patience.  I hope you can find a healthy balance and please let us know how your experiences progress.  Cheers!

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Re: noise sensitivity and mustachianism
« Reply #10 on: May 30, 2014, 04:33:42 PM »
I have been doing the latter the last 18 months, and have been feeling very adversely affected by the noise (preschooler running, thumping, banging, and screaming upstairs off and on between 530am and 1130pm; neighbours across the yard chatting over their midnight and 3am smoke breaks; etc). I'm the same with noise from Vancouver's outdoor movies and stadiums sneaking into my suite, traffic, TVs, etc. When the noise is happening, I feel immediately very stressed, drained, and exhausted. I cannot sleep through it, nor work when it's happening.

Questions:

Why do so many monks and other meditators live in silent areas? Is it just cheaper for them (e.g., large building in rural area), or does a silent area help them be "better" monks/etc?

Is it possible to be a happy, calm, peaceful, joyful person who used to need silence but now thrives equally in noise?

Are there ways for "highly sensitive" and autism spectrum folks (I am one) to just totally release/resolve/cure their internal reaction to noise?

For people stomping around above you, there's not much you can do aside from rebuild the floor/ceiling construction or attempting to change their behavior, which I realize might be difficult if they're young children. However, I think it's pretty reasonable for you to politely ask for the neighbors to observe quiet hours from 10 PM - 7 AM, or whatever you range you think is acceptable.

If you're trying to sleep and are bothered by conversations taking place outside, then I'd say you need to close your windows at night and invest in a fan to circulate air. It might be inconvenient during the summer, but it beats poor sleep quality or not being able to sleep at all. Or you could try using a noise generator to mask other sounds. Using the noise generator, you could choose 'natural sounds' (waves, streams, etc) or just plain pink or white noise (sounds like static, more or less). A lot of open plan offices actually use pink noise generators to aid employee focus and productivity. Finally, if you can still hear people talking through closed windows, then it might be time to invest in new windows for your bedroom with higher sound attenuation (double-paned glass for example).

And your suspicion is correct; noise absolutely affects stress, ability to focus, sleep quality, etc. There are many articles available online that detail studies that have been conducted to determine physiological and psychological effects of noise.

YK-Phil

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Re: noise sensitivity and mustachianism
« Reply #11 on: May 30, 2014, 04:42:02 PM »
I really understand how you feel. We live in an older but nice condo building, downtown Calgary near Stampede grounds, with two beautiful parks and tennis courts at the corner, and the best of what city life has to offer. But also the worst. Our building faces a quiet treed street frequented by young families and elderly people during the day, but which unfortunately becomes a main exit drag at night for the bar crowd, hookers, drunks of all sorts, and whatnot. The building is, as we found out after we moved there, very poorly insulated. Add to that loud motorcycles, police and ambulance sirens until after bar closing time, snow blowers at 5 am in winter, leaves blowers in the fall at 5 am also, and life becomes a nightmare...there isn't much we can do except moving, which we can't do for a couple of reasons. The famous Calgary Stampede is coming soon and so are the hordes of locals and tourists, so it is a signal that it is time to pack up and go on vacation.

TrMama

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Re: noise sensitivity and mustachianism
« Reply #12 on: May 30, 2014, 04:43:09 PM »
I'm also quite sensitive to noise. I'm not able to "block it out" the way others can. Well actually, I can work through noise for a while, but it turns me into a non-functional person on the verge of breakdown at the end of the day.

Moving to the country also doesn't necessarily mean you'll find quiet. People who live in the country often engage in noisy activities because, "there's no one around to complain". Think dogs barking, engines revving, etc.

In your shoes, I would move to an apartment in a concrete tower. Don't bother with any structure made using traditional wood framing. You want to be in a building that's over 6 stories. Those units are like tombs, you'll never hear your neighbours. If you can find one with air conditioning, then you won't have to open the windows in the summer and listen to whatever's going on outside.

justchristine

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Re: noise sensitivity and mustachianism
« Reply #13 on: May 30, 2014, 06:27:24 PM »
I'm pretty sensitive to noise, particularly when I'm trying to unwind and sleep.  Unfortunately I live less than a half mile from a four lane busy highway, above an ill behaved temper tantrum throwing child, in the same apt complex as a motorcycle enthusiast and down the hall from two noisy dogs.  My solution has been earplugs.  The foam contoured ones block out pretty much anything except fire trucks and smoke alarms.  Since I started using them every night, my quality of sleep has improved dramatically.  They took a little getting used to but now I love them

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Re: noise sensitivity and mustachianism
« Reply #14 on: May 30, 2014, 08:14:43 PM »
I have issues with noise too, some I can ignore or block out, others ( like conversations) worm their way in and drive me batty. Our office went to the open cube format in the last year or so. Some people have no concept of an inside voice.

You probably cannot sleep with noise canceling headphones on, but you can try earplugs for sleeping, and/ or one of the noise machines. Pink noise is intended to cancel out the other noises, if you have a broad spectrum that change over time, that could be hard.  I also try using a noise that doesn't bother me, like music or NPR to help 'cover' the irritating noises.  I cannot easily fall asleep, especially with certain noises, but if I can get to sleep I do typically stay asleep.  This is more about my reacting to the noises and letting them irritate, rather than the noises themselves.

Cressida

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Re: noise sensitivity and mustachianism
« Reply #15 on: May 30, 2014, 08:15:48 PM »
I'm pretty sensitive to noise, particularly when I'm trying to unwind and sleep.  Unfortunately I live less than a half mile from a four lane busy highway, above an ill behaved temper tantrum throwing child, in the same apt complex as a motorcycle enthusiast and down the hall from two noisy dogs.  My solution has been earplugs.  The foam contoured ones block out pretty much anything except fire trucks and smoke alarms.  Since I started using them every night, my quality of sleep has improved dramatically.  They took a little getting used to but now I love them

I'm not sensitive to noise particularly except when I'm trying to sleep. Ever since I've been sleeping in a bed with another person (i.e. a long time), I've been using earplugs. They do work well (the foam kind), but can be irritating. When my ear tissue needs a break, I go sleep in the guest room.

On a Mustachian note, they're not too expensive. You can buy a giant box on Amazon for not too much.

bogart

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Re: noise sensitivity and mustachianism
« Reply #16 on: May 30, 2014, 09:06:45 PM »
I'm also sensitive to noise (though I can sleep through anything, once I'm asleep), and willing to pay to avoid it.  I do use the foam earplugs others have recommended (not headphones, I don't like them -- unless I'm, you know, using a saw or something that really merits them, and is short-term).  And some types of "white noise" beat other types of "real noise" (I'll take a fan over a barking dog, for example).  But I've also opted to live in a part of suburbia where e.g. I do not hear traffic noise except during busy times of day.  If I walked out of my house now, I might hear a car.  But it would be A car.  And it would drive past and then I would hear NO cars.  And then another car might drive past and so on.

I've realized that this is a really important quality-of-life issue for me and I'm willing to pay to access it.  I've also noticed that e.g. where I live there are plenty of homes that are within 0.2 miles of each other where one gets lots of ongoing traffic noise (from my perspective) and the other doesn't -- this reflects road layouts a bit, but mostly hills (i.e. a house downhill from a road, or behind a hill, doesn't get the noise, another one at the top of a hill, will). 

Mind you I'm looking at single-family homes in suburbia whereas it sounds like you're navigating apartment living in the city, so that info. may not be that helpful.  But for whatever it's worth, you do have kindred spirits.

bikebum

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Re: noise sensitivity and mustachianism
« Reply #17 on: May 30, 2014, 09:12:46 PM »
Maybe try covering up the noises you don't like with some music? You probably won't want music all the time, but it could help sometimes.

scrubbyfish

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Re: noise sensitivity and mustachianism
« Reply #18 on: May 30, 2014, 09:27:51 PM »
Wow, really enjoying everyone's thoughts and experiences! I really appreciate the empathic posts, too. It helps to hear I'm not alone in this.

I'm excitedly researching noise-blocking curtains, etc.

One apartment-dweller posted on a blog (http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/garbage-and-noise-in-the-bedro-43180) that they added a layer of wall to their place and that this helped a lot.

I can't yet fathom enjoying white or pink noise, since it's not silent, but I'm going to try it!

I recently had music on here -first time in the 18 months- and 10 minutes in, upstairs asked me to turn it off so they could nap. I was stunned. The noise that's come from there every single day, at literally all hours, has been extreme. Not only can we not nap, I'm woken most nights! I had music on for 10 minutes in the middle of the day and it was game over.

My windows in my current place are excellent (when they're closed). I prefer sleeping with fresh air, but yes, have been closing them lately. My across-the-yard neighbours used to party super loud in their yard til 4am, 1-3 nights every week. After all else failed, I asked the City to send them a warning letter; they haven't partied since, so I'm reluctant to bring up the minimal noise level of their middle-of-the-night smoke breaks. They've changed their lifestyle a lot for us neighbours, and I appreciate it! Sometimes this issue almost makes me laugh, because I realize they're smoking outdoors in consideration of their landlord, and that they talk on the phone outside in the night perhaps in consideration of their roommates. The irony makes me laugh when I'm not crazy with fatigue.

The upstairs neighbours I've made several requests to, with no results (except one: they did remove the indoor basketball set-up from the tiled room directly above my bedroom).

I'm reluctant to use earplugs because I feel like I need to be able to hear my kid at night. Like, in January he wandered away in the night but because I heard him leaving, I knew to go get him. Sometimes he wakes sick, or scared from a bad dream, or the other night he appeared outside my bedroom door and whispered out my name, then was relieved when I answered. (For some reason, he wasn't sure I was there.) Now that he's 9, he rarely wakes or needs me in the night, but I still feel I need to be vigilant to the rare times he does, or to other possibilities, like intruders (which has never happened, but still).

Besides the external noise blockers, white noise, etc, I'm definitely going to focus on training my brain to "find silence". Also, I have a book by someone named Dr Robert Melillo with tips on how to resolve left brain and/or right brain imbalances. Maybe something in there will help. I'd like to try a combo of all these things -and especially the brain/reaction training- for a while. If all else fails, I may consider supplements or medication. I'm reading that zinc, as well as some meds for ADHD, help create filters. I had that (utterly wonderful) experience with an anti-anxiety medication once, too.

But yeah, I don't think I'm prepared to pay $1200/mo or to move to the boonies in hope of quiet. I might when my kid is grown, but if I can find a way to deal with my sound sensitivity, we'll be leaps and bounds ahead -on several counts!

scrubbyfish

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Re: noise sensitivity and mustachianism
« Reply #19 on: May 30, 2014, 09:56:48 PM »
Going to look for this item at Costco: http://tinyurl.com/moyaqjc

In the meantime, listening to this: http://simplynoise.com/
When I started with the white noise, I quickly felt calm, then happy.
When I tried pink then brown, I quickly felt a bit anxious then panicky.
Interesting!
The pink and brown had these "pulses" my brain immediately went "on alert" for. I could totally feel it happening!
So, now I have the white noise on :)

deborah

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Re: noise sensitivity and mustachianism
« Reply #20 on: May 30, 2014, 10:25:35 PM »
Besides the external noise blockers, white noise, etc, I'm definitely going to focus on training my brain to "find silence". Also, I have a book by someone named Dr Robert Melillo with tips on how to resolve left brain and/or right brain imbalances. Maybe something in there will help. I'd like to try a combo of all these things -and especially the brain/reaction training- for a while. If all else fails, I may consider supplements or medication. I'm reading that zinc, as well as some meds for ADHD, help create filters. I had that (utterly wonderful) experience with an anti-anxiety medication once, too.
Humm... Recently I listened to a book by a Buddhist abbot from Perth. I had got out different books and cds from my library about mindfulness. Most were teaching mindfulness, but his was a series of what you might call parables. Several of these were about pain. He said that once you accept pain (not wish it gone, but just accept it), it becomes much more bearable. "Opening the Door of your Heart" Ajahn Brahm - I really recommend it.

John74

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Re: noise sensitivity and mustachianism
« Reply #21 on: May 30, 2014, 10:46:38 PM »
I moved from a very quiet place to a very noisy one a few years ago (by necessity). I found the noise very stressful and tiring at first. I had to wear noise-canceling headphones several hours a day in order to find some peace. And I used fans to create white noise at night so I could sleep. But over a period of 6 months, my brain learned to not hear the background noise anymore. If I wear noise-canceling headphones for a while, I can hear again how loud this place truly is when I take them off. It is amazing how my brain is able to ignore this cacophony!
« Last Edit: May 30, 2014, 10:49:28 PM by John74 »

train_writer

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Re: noise sensitivity and mustachianism
« Reply #22 on: May 31, 2014, 01:59:26 AM »

Is it possible to be a happy, calm, peaceful, joyful person who used to need silence but now thrives equally in noise?


I am sensitive to light and noise, but learned to love urban life. That said, only untill I owned noise reducing head phones and after living at a certain place for 3+ months (that is how long it takes for me to get used to new neighbour sounds etc).

Than again, your situation sounds extremely noisy and I wonder if there isn't a middle ground? Like, a bit quieter and just 150 per month more?

scrubbyfish

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Re: noise sensitivity and mustachianism
« Reply #23 on: May 31, 2014, 08:53:43 AM »
Phenomenal sleep last night. Here's what I did:

-be crazy tired from two nights of little sleep
-make an extra-luxurious bed
-drink warm milk with herbal cinnamon tea added
-shut off computer early (I often use Netflix to cover the other sounds and/or to distract myself until a gathering is over)
-run lots of cool, fresh air through the house before bed
-close windows at sleep time
-ask police to talk to neighbours again (required for City to write letter)
-listen to white noise as late as I could manage
-read before sleep
-do three (!) meditations over one evening with getsomeheadspace.com, one at falling asleep time

I think it also helped that when my landlord's SIL banged (!) on the door at 815pm, asking to borrow a screwdriver, my kid answered the door buck naked, saying he had just been getting into bed. Ha! Dude seemed a bit embarrassed -not about my kid's nakedness, but about forgetting yet again that Kid goes to bed at 8, not to mention our request again and again to please not *bang* -emergency style- on the door. He quickly shut down his activity and murmured that his three year old would be going to bed now, too. (He's known for 18 months that Kid goes to bed at 8, but he forgets anything beyond the immediate moment. His three year old generally goes to bed around 10 or 11.)

Slept amazingly! When the sound of dragging (??) started from upstairs in the morning, I remember to turn on the white noise.

Than again, your situation sounds extremely noisy and I wonder if there isn't a middle ground? Like, a bit quieter and just 150 per month more?

The jump from $1200 to $570 represents a jump from the quieter units in the cheaper range of market rentals to subsidized, income-determined complexes.

If we move into just *any* unit in the latter, we are then prioritized for moving into better versions of the same. So, it's possible we could be in noise for some months, but then in something quieter (especially if I do the modifications) for the same awesome price.

A lot of the $1200 places -basement suites, apartments in high density areas- can have a LOT of noise, but with new municipal legislation, we are now having lovely, detached laneway houses come up at this price, so I put that price in the mix. I would love a laneway house! There's still the potential of noise from neighbouring homes, but the early morning garbage trucks, the traffic, the banging from above, etc, are all eliminated. So, this thread is largely to talk me out of paying $1200 to live in a small village or an urban laneway house and to go ahead with the leap to subsidized.

There is occasionally something cheaper, but any high-density is hit-and-miss. A place I had last year for $1100 was a one-bedroom that permitted me and my kid to share (a lot don't). I loved it, and it was SILENT. Absolutely delightful. Paradise! Until May. This is when Vancouver's series of summer running marathons, outdoor movies, and fireworks competitions began. I was mortified. And then a new fellow moved in immediately above us -yelling happily into his phone for hours per day on his balcony, having wild sex til 3am, regular parties, etc- and I cracked. He was a lovely fellow -I talked to him directly- but he truly couldn't fathom the concept of sound travelling, or that it mattered. He himself adored noise!

CrazyinVA

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Re: noise sensitivity and mustachianism
« Reply #24 on: May 31, 2014, 12:27:29 PM »
Noise is a treated as a stress by the body so one factor might be that your body is not reacting to appropriately to stress.
"The auditory system is permanently open - even during sleep. Its quick and overshooting excitations caused by noise signals are subcortically connected via the amygdala to the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal-axis (HPA-axis). Thus noise causes the release of different stress hormones (e.g. corticotropin releasing hormone: CRH; adrenocorticotropic hormone: ACTH) . . . http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12689472

One symptom if your adrenals are struggling to produce sufficient cortisol (ACTH is the demand signal for cortisol) is noise sensitivity.  Being easily startled is another one.  You can check other symptoms to see if you fit the profile.
http://www.naturalnews.com/024985_cortisol_blood_fatigue.html#

catccc

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Re: noise sensitivity and mustachianism
« Reply #25 on: May 31, 2014, 02:39:53 PM »
Phenomenal sleep last night. Here's what I did:

-be crazy tired from two nights of little sleep
...
-shut off computer early (I often use Netflix to cover the other sounds and/or to distract myself until a gathering is over)
...

1) Hope that first condition does not continue.  Sleep deprivation sucks.
2)  I have a hard time tearing myself away from the computer some nights.  To help with this (and also save a bit of electricity), I have the wifi box on an outlet timer.  It shuts off around 11 pm and since it takes a while to "start up" again, I am usually convinced to turn in and get in bed.

m8547

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Re: noise sensitivity and mustachianism
« Reply #26 on: May 31, 2014, 08:07:05 PM »
Human hearing works by picking out the loudest sound in each of numerous frequency bands. White noise has the same amount of energy across the spectrum, or the same amount in each frequency band. If the white noise is louder than the other noises that are bothering you, it will completely mask the offending sound and you won't be able to hear it at all. White noise is better than the noises people around you are making since there is no pattern to it, so it's less distracting. There's nothing for your brain to latch onto, so it won't distract you.  Brown noise is biased towards low frequencies, and pink noise is biased towards high frequencies. You need to play white noise on audio equipment that can produce frequencies low enough with enough energy to block low frequency sounds like footsteps. When I play white noise on my laptop it drowns out most sounds, but nothing under 100Hz (footsteps, bass in music, trucks driving by) since the speakers can't produce sounds under 100Hz. Adding a subwoofer would help a lot, but maybe also bother the neighbors if you set it too loud.

Eventually you will get fatigue from listening to white noise that's too loud for too long. I don't know if the fatigue also happens while sleeping since white noise doesn't seem to stimulate the auditory system the way intermittent sounds do. I usually sleep well with white noise on.  I suggest lowpass filtering white noise since the high frequency receptors in the ear are most susceptible to damage from loud sounds or long durations of moderately loud sounds. No one is making much noise over 5-10KHz anyway.

For fresh air, I've thought about making some kind of noise blocking vent to put in the window. It would be kind of like a car muffler, or a physical lowpass filter for air. steadily flowing air should be able to get through, but oscillating air (sound waves) should be blocked, reflected, or absorbed.  You would probably want to make a wooden box with a series of baffles. You could add sound absorbing foam inside, but if you do I suggest adding a filter since pollen, dust, and other stuff that gets sucked in will make the foam dirty over time. You can get a furnace filter and cut it up. It would be best to have an input and output vent with a fan on one of them, unless the doors and windows are leaky enough that air sucked in can escape somewhere.

For sound absorption, commercial buildings often use rigid fiberglass sheets covered in thin cloth. They are amazing for absorbing higher frequency sounds, and if you put your ear right up next to one all you can hear is silence! Absorbing sound won't help too much with sound coming through the walls though. For that you need something to block sound, which is more difficult. You need to create a change in mass for the sound waves to propagate through. The best seems to be mass loaded vinyl isolated from the wall with some foam, or something along those lines. It would be difficult to block sound coming through all the walls and ceiling and floors in a building, though, since it's so much area.

I like headphones that block noise. I can play music that doesn't distract me too much, and since they block some noise I don't need the music to be very loud. Except on airplanes. Airplanes are really loud, but you might not notice since it's close to white noise.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: noise sensitivity and mustachianism
« Reply #27 on: May 31, 2014, 08:12:16 PM »
I struggle to function or sleep in silence. Daytime it's music unless we are out on a hike or at the park. Night it is a fan or a very loud HEPA air purifier.

My Dad sounds more like you. He has white noise machines both at his office and at home. Hope they continue to help :)

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Re: noise sensitivity and mustachianism
« Reply #28 on: June 01, 2014, 04:50:29 AM »
I'm the total opposite to you GoblinChief. If I don't have absolute silence then I'm up almost all night without sleep.

scrubbyfish

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Re: noise sensitivity and mustachianism
« Reply #29 on: June 01, 2014, 10:06:44 AM »
One symptom if your adrenals are struggling to produce sufficient cortisol (ACTH is the demand signal for cortisol) is noise sensitivity.  Being easily startled is another one.  You can check other symptoms to see if you fit the profile. http://www.naturalnews.com/024985_cortisol_blood_fatigue.html#

I was hopeful, but no, no other symptoms of cortisol imbalance. Well, I guess that's a good thing, actually. I was just hopeful for a treatment! (I did have hormonal imbalance at one point in my life, with cortisol being one aspect implicated, due to a slide in nutrition combined with immense stress. I went back to nutrition and moved away from the stress and felt great again.) I'm pretty healthy overall.

My brother, on the other hand, has a LOT of the symptoms listed in the link. He is even more (way more) noise-sensitive than I am, and assessed himself to have severe adrenal burnout.

scrubbyfish

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Re: noise sensitivity and mustachianism
« Reply #30 on: June 01, 2014, 10:20:14 AM »
Another phenomenal sleep! Two in a row is almost unheard of for me. This is great!

Neighbours were silent; it was actually a bit eery, lol.

I did a lot of the same pattern as the previous night:
-run lots of cool, fresh air through the house in the hours before bed
-warm milk before bed
-shut windows at sleep time
-do the getsomeheadspace meditation
-read a bit of my happy buddha book right before sleep

Not as true a test for coping with noise, because there just wasn't much. Upstairs kid was screaming around 7am, but that's on the late side for him, so not bad at all.

However, a true test has arrived! My son has just used his monthly allowance to buy a...robotic puppy! It is quite noisy. Sigh. Apparently we can reduce the volume of the barking if we now go out and buy a tablet. Maybe we can borrow our neighbour's tablet just to implement that modification.

In the meantime, I will limit the hours Dog can be on and, while he his, alternate between white noise and -moments from now- meditation. I have a feel the meditation is doing crazy wonders. I love the idea that I might be able to learn to feel calm and peaceful even while there is noise. I am actively training myself.

A catch: I have had sad, disturbing dreams three nights in a row. I forgot I often get those when I sleep properly.

Remembering that one thing my extremely noise-sensitive brother did to reduce sound was have insulation blown into his ceilings and walls. Once I live somewhere semi-permanent, I could do that. Also, when the house had to be re-roofed, my dad built him a wooden cocoon within his bedroom. It was like a sensory-deprivation chamber in there -wonderful!

m8547

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Re: noise sensitivity and mustachianism
« Reply #31 on: June 01, 2014, 11:41:30 AM »

However, a true test has arrived! My son has just used his monthly allowance to buy a...robotic puppy! It is quite noisy. Sigh. Apparently we can reduce the volume of the barking if we now go out and buy a tablet. Maybe we can borrow our neighbour's tablet just to implement that modification.


You could put clear tape over the speaker.

Bearded Man

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Re: noise sensitivity and mustachianism
« Reply #32 on: June 01, 2014, 12:14:15 PM »
Some really great posts in this thread, such as those talking about simplynoise.com (used that before when I lived in a house on a busy street for 2.5 years and it was a life saver!), cortisol, sound proofing one room, noise cancelling headphones, etc.

I too am sensitive to noise. When people chew loudly, screaming kids, etc. it drives me up the wall. I have to carry a pair of headphones with me everywhere it seems. I don't seem to have any of the other other symptoms of cortisol deficiency. I've considered hypnosis, but have yet to try it.

I really hate having to "be" like this but it doesn't seem to be a conscious choice. Maybe I have trouble focusing as others suggested and I need to work on that somehow.

But at the end of the day, I think it is to an extent "normal" to be this way. People don't buy albums of screaming kids or people chewing with their mouths open loudly, etc. because no one WANTS to listen to that. I think it is normal that these things are extremely annoying. Most people are either better at hiding their annoyance or they have a higher tolerance for it.

Moving to the country is my eventual goal for the purpose of getting away from the noise. Even living in the suburbs drives me nuts some of the time when the boom cars and loud motorcycles come out at the first sign of sunny weather...

Sigh...

S.S.

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Re: noise sensitivity and mustachianism
« Reply #33 on: June 01, 2014, 02:28:49 PM »
I have nothing to offer this thread and the OP other than my utmost empathy.  This is a problem I have been dealing with my entire adult life.  My husband and I are young, and he's in the military.  Military bases are notorious for being located in some of the shittiest areas of the country where land is cheap.  Every affordable place we have lived had a noise issue at one time or another or the whole time we lived there, whether it be strung-out, drunk neighbors or people blasting their music in their cars at 3AM.  My dream in life is to one day (soon!) be wealthy enough to finally afford some peace and quiet for my family.

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Re: noise sensitivity and mustachianism
« Reply #34 on: June 01, 2014, 03:03:39 PM »
Yet another hugely-sensitive-to-noise person here. I find that I classify noises into three main groups:

1. Nature sounds. Birds, thunder, rain, wind, etc. I don't mind these in the least and even like them, no matter how loud.

2. Machinery and vehicle noise. Cars, tools, lawnmowers, etc. I don't like these, but generally the operators cannot modulate the noise levels of the machines, so I can deal with it (usually). What makes me nuts is...

3. Human-made sounds *that are voluntary.* Blasting music is at the top of this list. I don't know if I hear a wider spectrum of sounds than other people or what, but I seem to hear bass that nobody else can hear, from farther away. The rest of the list is everything folks here have already mentioned: barking dogs, screaming kids, roaring crowds, etc. I get overloaded really quickly and need to Get Away Where It's Quiet. (Good thing I work at home! ;-) )

Thegoblinchief

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Re: noise sensitivity and mustachianism
« Reply #35 on: June 02, 2014, 06:59:13 AM »
Being in the country doesn't automatically solve noise. My family's farmland is out in the sticks but it's on the intersection of two major 50 mph country highways. Lots of "whoosh" from cars going past.

I'd still take that over where I live now, but just thought  I'd point out that country living isn't automatically silent.

Rural

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Re: noise sensitivity and mustachianism
« Reply #36 on: June 02, 2014, 08:42:24 AM »
Being in the country doesn't automatically solve noise. My family's farmland is out in the sticks but it's on the intersection of two major 50 mph country highways. Lots of "whoosh" from cars going past.

I'd still take that over where I live now, but just thought  I'd point out that country living isn't automatically silent.


This is true. Depending on prevailing winds, we get train whistles from across the valley a couple time a day, which don't bother me but might some. More regular are the hounds my nearest neighbor keeps -- they eat around 3 pm every day, and it's a noisy affair. Someone further away has a rooster, and there's a mule about half a mile away. Don't hear him often, but when we do, he's pissed off and lets the world know about it.


Lately, the nearest neighbor has retrofitted his workshop to make hardwood bowls and etc. They're beautiful (he showed them to us when apologizing for the noise). We hear his grinder/polisher, though it isn't loud at this distance. I can't complain; I know he heard our house construction daily and never complained. It helps, knowing who it is and that he's doing something worthwhile.

scrubbyfish

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Re: noise sensitivity and mustachianism
« Reply #37 on: June 03, 2014, 10:14:12 AM »
Yes, I too find I often experience the sounds of loved ones as more acceptable for me than those of strangers. Though I think part of that, too, is that in those cases I usually have a sense of when the noise will end (e.g. a previous neighbour always put her kid to bed at 8), and that helps. The noise from above and next door may last another one minute, or another five hours, or resume after 15 minutes of silence, and that not-knowing triggers tension (fear) in me.

Have continued meditating, and fresh air before bed, but dropped several other items and have had two nights of poor sleep again. Usual noise sources have been absolutely absent! However, heard different neighbours yelling 1am-330am. Not crazy loud, but I heard them and that's enough for my alert little ears! It was already too hot for the window to be closed. Ultimately tried closing bedroom window and opening one on furthest (quietest) end of suite, and that seemed to be an okay balance.

Maybe I need to return to all of steps and very methodically just drop one at a time.

Yes to rural not necessarily being silent. Barking dogs, power boats, heavy-duty vehicles, motorcycles, etc. The monastic spaces I've enjoyed were well away from all of this.

Question: What would you (all) say your noise sensitivity has cost you or is costing you ongoing, financially speaking? Higher rent, equipment, tools, longer commute, renovations, etc? What has been worth the cost? What has not?

scrubbyfish

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Re: noise sensitivity and mustachianism
« Reply #38 on: June 28, 2014, 02:41:25 PM »
What would you (all) say your noise sensitivity has cost you or is costing you ongoing, financially speaking? Higher rent, equipment, tools, longer commute, renovations, etc?

What has been worth the cost? What has not?

Answering myself ;)

I realized my primary noise-sensitivity cost is my car (and very much worth it). It is quiet inside it, and I can drive away from sound, and even sleep in it. I understand now that this was a massive factor in me spending on a new car.

From my current, noisy "vacation", I will either drive to a store to buy earplugs to get through tonight or I will drive to my home where I have more sound-reducing/coping options.

NCGal

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Re: noise sensitivity and mustachianism
« Reply #39 on: June 28, 2014, 08:12:14 PM »
You might try experimenting with earplugs. They don`t block everything so you might still hear your son. I had a pair of injector molded earplugs made for me at a gun shop. Along with a white noise machine they block out heavy snoring.
« Last Edit: June 28, 2014, 08:26:34 PM by NCGal »

1967mama

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Re: noise sensitivity and mustachianism
« Reply #40 on: June 29, 2014, 01:58:33 AM »
This window fan has changed my life!

http://www.amazon.com/Bionaire-BWF0522M-Thin-Window-Fan/dp/B00BDS4M0W/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1404028541&sr=8-2&keywords=bionaire+window+fan

For years, we have had a standard ceiling fan, which runs 365 sleeps a year. We have added this window fan to the set up and I don't hear anything. No cars, no train whistles, no people, no birds. Its fabulous and I'm sleeping much better.

Cool, dark and quiet are key sleep hygiene components for this noise sensitive gal!

Blackadder

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Re: noise sensitivity and mustachianism
« Reply #41 on: June 29, 2014, 06:38:03 AM »
I want to say that I totally understand your situation. I've been living in a noisy student dorm and it drove me crazy. And my wife and I moved several times because of noisy neighbors. I'm glad to hear that you're already making progress and would like to comment on a subject that has been touched:

Yes, I too find I often experience the sounds of loved ones as more acceptable for me than those of strangers. Though I think part of that, too, is that in those cases I usually have a sense of when the noise will end (e.g. a previous neighbour always put her kid to bed at 8), and that helps. The noise from above and next door may last another one minute, or another five hours, or resume after 15 minutes of silence, and that not-knowing triggers tension (fear) in me.

This is an important observation about the emotional side. In my personal (and my wife's) experience, noise sensitivity increases when you let it. When we first moved into a new apartment, everything seemed nice. In the beginning, we were able to shrug of occasional noise from the neighbors: "Well, we've probably been making a lot of noise as well when we moved in, so let's be fair."

But after some time, the noise became an emotional matter. We started to interpret noises as our neighbors being persistently inconsiderate, not caring about their neighborhood. We started to pay very close attention about where that particular noise came from. We took noise personal. This is not a healthy way of seeing it. After one or two talks about keeping it down, and noise continuing, we even (in our minds) started to accuse them of being noisy out of spite towards us. As I said, not healthy at all.

But we've identified this as one of the top reasons why things always seemed to get worse after some time in a new place.

Right now, we're pretty successful in stemming this development (knock on wood). Mostly by actively investing into a good, empathic relationship with our neighbors, their children, pets, hobbies, etc. It really helps to know that those children being noisy right now are li'l Lisa and her friends having a good time, or Sophie's toddler upstairs having a belly ache, hope he gets better soon... It's not by accident that this may sound reminiscent of meditation techniques ("mindfulness"), where you don't try to shut out sensations, but let them happen to you, give them a friendly thought, accept them.

In a related matter, in a friend's case, his evermore increasing sensitivity to noise (up to throwing tantrums) turned out to be a symptom of him being subconsciously unsatisfied with certain aspects of his life. Once he realized and improved those aspects, his tolerance to unwanted noise and interruptions increased a lot.

How about this multi-pronged approach:
- Reduce the amount of noise in your life (lots of great suggestions here). This gives you room to tackle the other two aspects.
- Establish go-to-bed rituals, meditate, actively relax, like you're starting to do right now. Congrats!
- Try to find out if there's something else that might contribute to be constantly on edge, are you missing something in your life that would make you a happier and more at peace. See if you can build relationships with your environment to be able to see beyond the noise and what it "does to you", instead seeing and accepting its context, and maybe how it's a product of something good happening in the world.

lifejoy

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Re: noise sensitivity and mustachianism
« Reply #42 on: July 27, 2014, 06:43:23 AM »



Question: What would you (all) say your noise sensitivity has cost you or is costing you ongoing, financially speaking? Higher rent, equipment, tools, longer commute, renovations, etc? What has been worth the cost? What has not?

Scrubby fish, thank you soooo much for this thread. I've been having bad sleeps because my neighbours got a new air conditioner that could wake the dead. From my bedroom, living room, and the apartment building hallway:

Woom woom woom woom woom woom
Woom woom woom woom woom woom
Woom woom woom woom woom woom
Woom woom woom woom woom woom

And then, thirty seconds of blessed silence before it starts up again! So, what has this cost me?

-Maybe a job. Nervousness about the job + the woom sound... Drove me up the wall! Got a dreadful sleep. Was sleepy and brain muddled at interview.

-$10 for ear plugs

-$7 for better earplugs

-$3 for sleep app

-my sanity (priceless)

I'm going craaaazy! I wrote them a nice note telling them to let me know if my music gets too loud while I try to block out that sound :P Next step will be landlord and noise laws. Yeesh. I have no idea how they sleep.


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lifejoy

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Re: noise sensitivity and mustachianism
« Reply #43 on: July 27, 2014, 06:44:24 AM »
PS - it has been highs of 22 degrees Celsius lately. Nobody needs their flipping air conditioner on! Ai yi yi!


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scrubbyfish

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Re: noise sensitivity and mustachianism
« Reply #44 on: July 28, 2014, 11:18:38 PM »
Feeling for you, libraryjoy!!! Summer can be so much noisier where I live than winter is. At my mum's this weekend, I got little sleep because several of her neighbours chat outside til midnight, the racoons get going shortly after, and then the humans start up again early morning (they seem to meet up directly outside my mum's place for an early hike, sigh). I'm already really looking forward to short days and downpours, as people live so quietly in those. But now I'm back from noisy rural and in quieter Vancouver :)

Here's to a good night's sleep for you!!!

Better Change

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Re: noise sensitivity and mustachianism
« Reply #45 on: July 30, 2014, 11:09:58 AM »
The other day, I googled, "why do constant noises bother me so much?"

Lo and behold:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Misophonia

I'm not sure how much of the syndrome is "real," but I can attest to having serious focus issues that spawn rage when there's an annoying, repeated noise (coughing, sniffling, deep bass, chewing).  Of course there's no "cure," and not many suggestions for coping, but it was rather heartening that I'm not the only one who suffers from this phenomenon.

Cressida

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Re: noise sensitivity and mustachianism
« Reply #46 on: July 30, 2014, 04:15:00 PM »
The other day, I googled, "why do constant noises bother me so much?"

Lo and behold:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Misophonia

I'm not sure how much of the syndrome is "real," but I can attest to having serious focus issues that spawn rage when there's an annoying, repeated noise (coughing, sniffling, deep bass, chewing).  Of course there's no "cure," and not many suggestions for coping, but it was rather heartening that I'm not the only one who suffers from this phenomenon.

Yes, that's absolutely real. I have it too. I mean, I've never been officially diagnosed, but it's pretty freaking obvious to me.

FrugalZony

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Re: noise sensitivity and mustachianism
« Reply #47 on: July 30, 2014, 04:28:18 PM »
The other day, I googled, "why do constant noises bother me so much?"

Lo and behold:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Misophonia

I'm not sure how much of the syndrome is "real," but I can attest to having serious focus issues that spawn rage when there's an annoying, repeated noise (coughing, sniffling, deep bass, chewing).  Of course there's no "cure," and not many suggestions for coping, but it was rather heartening that I'm not the only one who suffers from this phenomenon.

Oh my, that explains A LOT!!! I mean A WHOLE LOT!!
Thanks for posting this!

scrubbyfish

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Re: noise sensitivity and mustachianism
« Reply #48 on: July 30, 2014, 05:08:26 PM »
Yes! Awesome word/info! I don't have the reaction of anger -just instant exhaustion/sadness- but my best girl friend totally fits this. Hers is with anyone crunching food, and a few other specific sounds. She about loses it, though she's made great gains around this in recent years.

I'm finding a LOT of my weirdnesses listed in a book called Phobia Free (Harold Levinson). Oddly, I don't have any of the phobias he talks about, but a wildly high number of non-phobia items on one of the book's lists, such as noise sensitivity, difficulty navigating physical objects (hence my extreme minimalism), etc. Once some other priorities are taken care of, I'm going to look at the path he suggests. I've resolved a wild amount of health issues, but thought I was stuck with these "weirdnesses". This book says I'm not. If this path resolves the noise issue, I'll report back!