Panic Attacks associated with noise

kate_7September 6, 2006

Hi everyone

I just wanted to quickly say thank you for my other post in which I introduced myself.

I came home from work today around 9 20 pm, and upon entering my apartment, I could clearly hear loud bass coming through my floor and walls.

I was outraged, and scared. I called the landlord immediately and said there was loud noise coming from somewhere. She said she would go check.

I waited 30 minutes but nothing happened. I called again after I figured out it was the apartment below me (no one had been there all summer, so we had it quiet).

She told me that if she couldn't hear it from the hallway, she couldn't do anything.

I'm just...scared now.

Because I can hear it CLEARLY through my floor, it's shaking my computer chair, and I cannot focus.

I have panic attacks when I hear certain noises - especially bass speakers and really loud music. My heart races, I get really shaky and can't focus, and I get really upset.

As I put in my other post, my apartment lease says "Minimum noise at all times, especially between 11pm - 8 am" and "No parties of any kind"...

And they told us they were very strict with the rules! :(

If this continues over the next few months or what have you, I will not be able to focus. I can't do that with the noise.

What do I do? :(

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you ask the landlord to come in to your home and listen to the noise, and feel the vibration through the chair.

And before that, you go downstairs and knock on your neighbor's door and say, "I'm sorry, but the floors are really thin, and the bass from your stereo is making things in my apartment vibrate. i really need you to turn it down."

Don't say much at first about panic attacks to your neighbor--it'll make you sound hypersensitive and therefore less credible.

And you ask at your college's medical-care-for-students center about getting some coaching/counseling that will help you reduce this panic-attack thing, because it's getting in the way of your life now, and it's time to stop just accepting it as "a part of you that's a given." It's time to start defining it as "something that's bothering me and I want to fix it, or reduce it."

    Bookmark   September 7, 2006 at 9:41AM
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Hey Talley

Thank you for the reply...I appreciate it a lot :)

    Bookmark   September 7, 2006 at 9:59AM
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First, regarding your panic attacks, i'd like to recommend a book for you. It's called "The Anxiety Cure: An Eight-Step Program for Getting Well" and it's available at Amazon. My husband has an anxiety disorder and he says this book was instrumental in helping him overcome it.

It's important that you learn to recognize when noise is actually too loud and when you are being especially sensitive to it. I can sympathize - i am sensitive to noise myself. Over the years of apartment living i've had to learn how to ignore it unless it is very extreme. It can be done, and it should be done - if the noises are part of normal living and are appropriate to the time of day. Music at 9:20 pm... i personally try to keep the audio of my entertainment very low after 9pm, but i expect to hear my neighbors as late as 11pm.

I've tried complaining - it irritates the landlord, it irritates the other tenant. Before you know it you are in the trenches in an Apartment War. That's not good for your nerves. Only complain if noise is extreme - pounding bass at 3am comes to mind. I know, it's not fair. You should be able to have peace and quiet without a lot of disruption from other tenants. But reality is that other tenants make noise, you yourself probably make more noise than you realize, and everyone also has a right to ~live~ in their apartments without having to tiptoe around all the time.

The best policy i've found has been to learn to tolerate whatever i could, and politely request that the offenders change for what i couldn't. That doesn't always work - some people are extraordinarily selfish or they grew up in a noisy household and honestly don't realize that they are being loud. Also, regarding bass - those frequencies really travel. Sometimes it can seem louder in the apartment below or above, but seem perfectly reasonable from within their apartment. People who are fond of their bass are usually willing to elevate the subwoofers to get them off the floor, which helps a lot. During the daytime, your own music can help you not focus on it. You could also look into some good low frequency cancelling earplugs if you find yourself needing to sleep through it.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2006 at 4:05PM
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Kate, your best bet is find a way to deal with the noise because noise happens everywhere.

Your first step is find out why noise upsets you so much.

This apartment is good for you because the rules say no noise between 11pm - 8 am and no parties at all.

If you keep complaining about noise at 9:20pm the management will decide you are a complainer and just not renew your lease. Noise happens more without those rules so where will you be then?

Get to counseling hun.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2006 at 4:55PM
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Often to over come the things that cause a person to have panic attacks is to face them head on. The world is full of noises and its time to seek help dealing with this phobia. If you live in a paratment you can't expect to be quiet all the time. People have a right live also. rent a private house.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2006 at 12:47AM
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I'm not a Dr. and have been lucky to not have any anxiety. Obviously it would be nice to cure that but I have no idea how or if this can be done.

Check your states laws. You probably will be able to get out of your lease at any time since this is a medical issue. Problem is getting out of your lease may not work as this may be a quit building as far as renting goes.

Call the landlord and explain how your anxiety works. Let them know that quite noises for others are very disturbing and trigger this with you. Invite the LL in next time the noise is happening. Ask the LL if this is a resonable request or not. If they won't fix it perhaps they will let you move out.

For now perhaps turning on fans, radios, TV's will drown out some of the anxiety triggers.

Best of luck..... I wish I could help you more.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2006 at 3:16PM
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I understand. I have anxiety attacks too. I previously lived on the top floor where I barely heard anything. This will be my 1st year living beneath someone. It's currently vacant but not for long. I hope it will be ok.

You got good advice here. I hope things work out. Please keep us posted.

I wish you peace :)

Mrs. C.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2006 at 12:11AM
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This is to the OP, I had the same exact problem as you. My first apartment was a first floor apartment. I lived beneath a family of elephants and I can't even begin to describe to you the dread I would feel when I would have to go home and hear them stomping around above me. It got to the point where I would bang on the ceiling with a broom. I know, it's not the best way to handle the situation but I was growing so frustrated with these ignorant idiots that I was at a loss for what to do. Finally, I decided to move.

My second (and current) apartment was a second floor (I swore I would never live beneath anyone again). Unfortunately, I had the bad luck of living above a couple who had surround sound. The soound of the bass would come through the ceiling and like you, I would start to feel panicy and very nervous when I would hear it. This is NOT abnormal. It is reaction to feeling like someone is invading in on your space. In my opinion, if it is loud enough to be heard in someone else's apartment, it is TOO LOUD! Don't let the people on here make you think it is you, it's not. It's a normal reaction to have, I had the same exact one.

I was ecstatic when my landlord told me they were moving out. I had a friend who was looking to move (she had a neighbor who was giving her hell with, you guessed it, noise!!) and she now lives below me. It has been a dream ever since. We are considerate of each other and I have yet to hear a peep from them downstairs. I can't tell you what a pleasure it is to come home to QUIET.. Finally.

I know this is a hard situation, and I hope you find some peace.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2006 at 10:41AM
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I'm going to address this from the panic attack perspective and nothing else. I'm quite surprised at some of the responses here. A little googling will produce a lot of info. Symptoms of a panic attack are not necessarily anxiety driven or a sign of being 'hypersensitive'. (Nor does being hypersentive make a person less credible. "Panic attacks are common. The Merck Manual reports that panic attacks occur in more than one-third of adults each year." Does that mean 33 1/3% of the adult population has less 'credibility' than the other 66 2/3 at any given time?)

Panic attack symptoms mimic symptoms found in medical illnesses that include heart disease, asthma and hyperthyroidism. Also a number of physical disorders commonly co-occur with panic disorder, including Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Mitral Valve Prolapse (a cardiac condition) and Chronic Fatigue.

Would strongly encourage you to visit a physician asap, tell him/her what is going on, and let a medical professional make an accurate diagnosis and rule out any physical problems like those mentioned above that might be causing your symptoms. Let him/her give you guidance as to your living situation. A physician will put that credibility factor in your favor.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2006 at 12:35PM
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Hi everyone,

I just did an interenet search on "anxiety attacks with certain noises", and it brought me here. I find this thread very interesting. Kate and you others with this problem, I can soooooo relate. I'm older now, but my whole life of living in apartments (and houses), has been a constant struggle with becoming totally overwhelmed with anxiety when I would hear sounds that I didn't want to be there.

Now, we live out in the country on alot of land. You'd think it would be peaceful.....but it's not. Some of the neighbors behind our big woods ride several 4 wheelers, and it makes me crazy. I'm like this with barking dogs, traffic noise, and especially dirt bikes and 4 wheelers.

Yes, I have fantastic hearing, and hear lots of things that others around me just filter out.
I know this is getting a little off-track with "aparment living", but I find this all very interesting. It's actually ruining my life.......having such intense anxiety when there are sounds there that I don't want to be.

It would be interesting to see if these feelings are similar to yours' too.
I've tried and tried to figure out why this bothers me so. There are several possible issues. I have ADD and a psychologist in the past has said that because of the ADD, I cannot help but hyper-focus on things like those noises.
Another possibility is that I'm sort of a control freak. Maybe it's our lack of control over a situation that drives us crazy?? Another possibility is that we feel like we're not allowed to complain, and it's the keeping it bottled up inside us, and not confronting the noise-makers that makes us crazy. just really ticks me off that others aren't as considerate as I am. I start seeing them as almost evil, since they are bothering me so much......but they are probably totally oblivious to what they are doing.

I am actually considering seeing a psychologist for this very problem. Life is full of these kinds of things. Just recently, new people are buying the property next door, yet still other neighbors occasionally use their terribly loud dirt bikes, dogs are always barking, and now these people riding their 4wheelers through the woods (their woods). It's all constant. There might be a few days when it's really quiet.....but it's always going to be there. I can't spend my life dreading each day, having something like panic attacks every day.
Part of me says to myself "you have a right to be upset with these jerks.......go and express yourself to them." Then another part of me says "Everybody else can ignore some of this stuff, can't you too??" Unfortunately, I CAN'T. And maybe you can't either.
I really don't know if there are counsellors out there who can help with this kind of problem. It's a very curious problem, and I wish I didn't have it!! My life would be so much nicer without it.

I'm not sure I have any good advice to give you, except to let you know that there are others like you out there, who just can't tolerate certain noises. Hopefully we can all find some sort of peace.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2006 at 8:00AM
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" It's actually ruining my life.......having such intense anxiety when there are sounds there that I don't want to be. ......I can't spend my life dreading each day, having something like panic attacks every day. ... It's a very curious problem, and I wish I didn't have it!! My life would be so much nicer without it."

These points that catherinet made are behind my suggestion to our original poster, Kate, that she begin to seek out medical or psychological solutions to the anxiety as well as dealing with the noise problem itself.

I don't think she should just "snap out of it" or that she's "hypersensitive." And I honestly didn't get that "impatience" sense from anybody else's posts, either.

I'm sure her anxiety attacks are a real problem for her. But they are also making life difficult for her. And if there is ANY relief she can get, by seeking this sort of assistance (and I have enough respect for her description of her problem to assume that she WILL need help, that if she *could* 'snap out of it,' she would have by now), then she deserves it!

because the rest of the world won't tiptoe around for her; she's going to have to find ways to be among it without having her life be miserable. And she does NOT deserve to be miserable.

Unfortunately, the responsibility for seeking out that help, and pursuing it, is hers (I have asthma; *I* have to seek a doctor to help me with it; I can't expect the rest of the world to eliminate all dust mites).

All the rest of us, who wish her well, can do is encourage her.

And encourage catherinet, as well, to start w/ whatever medical assistance is available to her, and go from there. Your physician can help you assess medical causes or triggers, and can help you find psychiatrists or psychologists or counselors until you find someone that helps you improve.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2006 at 9:54AM
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My question to catherinet and others with this problem is... Have you ever been to a large city like NYC with constant noise? If so since its constant does it bother you less, or is it intensified?

If you have ever seen the movie Falling Down... in the begining of the movie in the traffic jam every noise, light etc is drving him over the edge. Not sure it the large city would be like that or not.

I agree that anyone with these problems should seek medical/ psyc advice. I couldn't imagine living like that and I believe no matter where you move to there will always be disturbances.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2006 at 3:17PM
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Hi nfllifer,
I've always had a problem with noise.....even when I lived in town. Even when I was young. If the TV in the house was too loud, I just couldn't sleep. I couldnt' focus on homework if there were any sounds. It's gotten alot worse, as I age. In my next life, I'm going to be normal! :)

    Bookmark   October 6, 2006 at 5:06PM
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I do not get panic or anxiety attacks but noise definitely adversely affects my mood and ability to concentrate. I don't think there is any medical cure for such effects.

It seems that a lot of people are bothered by noise, according to the study below:

Here is a link that might be useful: Noise survey

    Bookmark   October 6, 2006 at 5:54PM
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Just a thought, have you had your hearing checked? Not by one of those quicky tests, but a thorough evaluation by a good audiologist or an Ear/Nose/Throat M.D.?

I know someone who got edgy around noise. More irritable than anxious, but "background noise" was definately a trigger. Turned out he had a slight (imperceptable to him) hearing impairment and something about mild nerve damage in the inner ear as well (that part was not detetected by a hearing test but by tests done by an ENT Dr.), it was throwing off his whole 'perception' of surroundings for lack of a better term.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2006 at 8:30AM
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My name is Tom. I am 58 and livin ABOVE a young couple in my 1-BDRM apt. They like their music and it is not a volume issue but rather a bass/woffer thing. They do not over do it ... right after they moved in (several dys) I had to go down and rap on their door and ask them to turn it down. So far not bad. I am on SSD and spend my days at home. The location of their stero is directly below my recliner. Not good. My prespective is of a Viet Nam Veteran with P.T.S.D ... I am hyper-noise sensitive amoung other things. I have worked with my VA couselor and will continue to do so. My best advise is to try your BEST to deal with it as best you can. You always have an option to move or enter into a "Apt. War" ... not a good thing as these things can get out of hand with guys like me very fast. It is a problem ... I plan on speaking again to my VA conselor this week about it and if I can pass any tips/advise along I will. At the VA we are taught ... S.B.T.D. Stop Breath Think Decided. Semper Fi all. Talk soon.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2006 at 8:23AM
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here's my opinion: some people have extreme anxiety, some have a little, while others (God help them) have none! it doesn't matter how, where or what form it comes in & it doesn't change the fact that it exists. not acknowledging it alone, can bring on more anxiety (i'm speaking for myself).

for me personally i think it was a matter of what was going on in my life at the time. my husband & i just left an apartment (we were there for 7 yrs) and have moved to another one. i had very severe depression in the old apt. mainly due to the noise & severe lack of light.

we stayed in the old apt bc we really couldn't move, for several reasons, for a long time. BUT that living situation did hurt me emotionally & i think physically. i think it will still take me some time to get over it.

the only thing i really wanted to say is: i feel for anyone who is so effected by their living space. your home should be a place of repose, relaxation, safety & warmth. sometimes though a space can have completely the opposite effect - and that reaches down to the core of who we are; our emotional & spiritual well being.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2006 at 10:49AM
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I so agree with you nokeysyet. We all have to deal with noise thats a given but if we're ever given that one little hour of pure quite, I think we'll all take it even if it is one lousy hour.
So happy you've` move out of your dark place and into the sun. Buy some nice colorful plants, soft music, something new you always wanted, should get your mood up even more :)

    Bookmark   October 31, 2006 at 1:41PM
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Put a pad under your chair.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2006 at 6:09PM
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Hi Fellow Sensitive People,

I've just moved into an apartment to escape another noisy apartment in which I lived for only three months. I was luckily able to re-assign that lease. My current Landlord was fair enough to allow me my first month before signing a one year lease. Before this month ends, I have to decide if I'm going to stay.

The main problem in my last apartment was that it was in the basement of an older house. Therefore, every noise from the apartment above was as if it was in my apartment. It sounded like the only thing between me and the floor above was a piece of thin plywood. So, when the small but heavy footed woman above me walked, it created intolerable thumps and vibrations like a diving board. Not every day but on certain occasions, she had some unsavory characters over. These visits often resulted in foul language, shouting, threatening words and "Get Out" between them etc.

I had to fork out over $150 a month more in rent to move into my current apartment. I'm in a triplex and the current landlord assured me that there is concrete and plaster between the floors and walls. Now, I don't have the thin floorboard above me. So, I can't hear the person walking. However, I think I hear cupboards closing and the water pipes clunk after the water is shut off. This is especially irritating in the morning when people are getting up and at night before they go to bed. Apparently, the vibrations and thumps from cupboards and furniture being dragged across the floor aren't muffled by the heavier materials. My floor is carpeted but not all of the other apartments are. I live near the stirs and those who like to run up them or walk heavily are quite audible as well. I could have taken a third floor apartment elsewhere but the area or condition of the building weren't as good. Besides, as others in this forum have mentioned, irritating sounds come from below as well. I hesitate to move again because this place is better than the last one. In addition, if a totally sound proof apartment does exist, it would be out of my price range.

I think what we're all finding out here is that there is no "Bed of Roses." If you find it, enjoy it while it lasts because circumstances always change beyond our control. And, I think "Control" is the key word here. If we were all to form a club, it would be called the "Living Space Control Club." We are all nice people--I'm sure we've all heard that before. We're nice because we control our own behaviour to try not to offend or upset others. We're not wimps--if pushed too far, we'll unleash a world of hurt on the offender--but we'd rather avoid that, if possible. That being said, we often don't understand others who don't control their behaviour according to our standards. We tend to become resentful and interpret their "noise making" as an attack on our space. If we showed that lack of consideration to others, that would be our intention, right? So, we instinctively attribute such malice to others behaviour. Usually, they don't have a problem with us and no offence is intended. They just have different priorities to us. Here's the rub. Humans have very different priorities but we're all territorial to one degree or another. In my last apartment, I very politely confronted the noisy woman above me. I asked her if she could hear sounds from my apartment. She replied, "I can hear everything but I'm not a complainer." To that I replied, "Well, I have to do computer work down there." She was "getting drunk" because she just lost her job. So, she asked if we could talk about it the next day. I said that I just wanted to know if she could hear things from my apartment. Since she'd answered that, and was now aware of my situation, I saw no point in discussing it any further. Unfortunately, the situation did not improve.

So, my point is that whether your neighbor reacts positively, negatively or indifferent, if they don't share your priorities, they'll think, "Who does he/she think they are?" "I pay rent here as well and I'm going to live according to my priorities."

Based on the replies in this forum, there are more of us than I thought. In general society, I think we're in the minority. I have O.C.D, although I've kept it managable for years now. I suspect that I have A.D.D. as well. Someone else in this forum mentioned that he/she had A.D.D. These conditions along with many others are anxiety based. They would not have names or acronyms if everyone had them. Through my experience, I don't believe that there is any 100% cure for anxiety based conditions. However, through therapy, they can become manageable. I've had therapy for my O.C.D. and it helped. I will do a web search looking for suggestions to help me deal with my current sensitivity to noise. Perhaps, I'll follow up on the "nerve damage to ears" suggestion that another person made in this forum. I had many earaches as a kid. I've always found that the breathing exercises that I learned through behavioural modification helped. Maybe I'll try that as well. Any other suggestions would be appreciated as well.

Take Care All!

    Bookmark   June 11, 2008 at 6:02PM
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Hi Everyone

I'm glad I found this sight because i was beginning to think i had acusticophobia, a phobia of hearing lound noises (something i found on the net). I too feel empending doom when i hear certain noises. I live in an apartment and there are noises that I can tolerate and ignore but there are some that I could CERTAINLY live without. Mostly I have a hard time dealing with squeeking and slamming noises. I try to use WD40 on most things but still cannot get rid of them all. the front gate never stops slamming! Its constant and so is my anxiety. I don't want to do anything I feel like I'm hopless. I've somewhat always had the feeling of anxiety with noises but believe it or not i could go a long time without even thinking about it and have no problems, but the past couple of weeks it has caught up with me and has hit me hard. I'm a 24 year old female and am honestly logical and normal (except when it comes to this irrational anxiety). NOBODY knows about this problem, I don't want to worry anyone and oddly enough i'm afraid the noises will then become amplified to them if i let them know. I had a checkup yesterday and wished that i told my doctor, but i couldn't seem to let the words out of my mouth. I think i'm afraid of making this problem bigger then it has to be. I feel hopless. I can't enjoy anything and have lost my appietite. My boyfriend sensed something was wrong the other day and asked me about it, I took everything for me to smile and tell him that I was fine and that i was just dazed. I don't know what to do. I think i'm going to ride it out for a while to see what happends and maybe buy a book on anxiety. I truly wish you all the best. No onr should have to worry about stupid noises! If I find anything thats helpful I too will be sure to post it.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2008 at 1:25PM
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I recently started seeing a therapist for my own anxiety issues. I don't have problems with noise generally, but I do have a lot of chronic anxiety. I've only been to 3 sessions with my therapist so far and went from believing that my controlled anxiety might finally be tipping over into something I couldn't control, to now realizing that it's been out of my control for some time and I was just in denial about it.

Please, there is no need to feel ashamed about this. It's essentially a malfunction in the part of your brain that controls the "fight or flight" response to danger, causing that highly anxious "fight or flight" response to happen when it's not really needed. Someone slamming a gate is really not a situation where you are in physical danger, so the brains response is inappropriate.

Anxiety can cause other problems, including depression (as you are experiencing), as well as real physical problems, like heart problems due to the increased amount of adrenaline the body is exposed to due to more frequent fear responses.

The best thing I can recommend is to find a good therapist that specializes in EMDR. I haven't actually started this particular therapy yet, my therapist is trying to figure out where the most efficient place to start with that would be. Look up EMDR though, the results are amazing for people who suffer from panic disorder and/or PTSD. I'm very excited to start this with my therapist and hopefully I can stop being afraid all the time!

But please seek help. Anxiety isn't any fun, as you already know. Untreated it can get worse and seriously threaten your emotional and physical health.


    Bookmark   July 25, 2008 at 3:01PM
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