My friend suffers from sound / noise sensitivity and therefore finds public places very difficult. He also suffers from a noise neighbour, who not only plays loud music on occasion but also has a dog that is continually barking.
He had already tried negotiating with the neighbour to no avail. He had also tried silicone earplugs, which helped a bit but weren’t a perfect solution due to him still being able to hear certain sounds.
The sounds distressed him to such an extent that it effected his mental health. His anxiety would increase, and this would sometimes lead to a dark depression.
He had asked his brother to do some research, and he had discovered that white noise (and pink and brown noise) were very effective at drowning out irritating noises.
Experimenting with White Noise
I played some white noise on youtube and got him to listen with small headphones, while I played barking dog sounds and annoying music on the iPad next to him. Although the sounds weren’t completely removed, they were certainly reduced to the extent where they were no longer startling or anxiety inducing. Some people have found the benefits of white noise help them to sleep. White noise is similar to the sound of a waterfall. Rainfall sounds can also work quite well, but we went for pure white noise in the end.
I converted the white noise to MP3 and copied them to his phone (which has decent battery life). I then ensured that his phone media player allows track looping so that he can have continual white noise when he goes out, or when he sleeps. I had to bluetooth the audio file over to his phone as he no longer had the necessary computer cables to copy files over.
I got the white noise from here: http://mc2method.org/white-noise/
My friend is now very happy. He left with a skip in his step, and I also helped him with other information he wanted to find out online as he doesn’t have easy access to a computer. It felt really good to help him.
I’m waiting for him to experiment in the wild, and try it sleeping, going around town and in other situations where he felt noise problematic. This makes me remember my article on trying to get in to a solution-focused mindset. He could have suffered the sound, but now he has a plan. He was also looking for places to rent elsewhere, to get away from the neighbour. He’s been thinking of moving for sometime anyway. His pro-active attitude really lifted his spirits, and mine.
I’ll let you know what happens.