Noise Annoys - the Joy of Bipolar Super Senses!

Pretty girls
Pretty boys
Have you ever heard your mommy scream
Noise annoys

         Peter Shelley/The Buzzcocks

the idea of "super senses" comes up a lot among the doubly-polared. it seems our experience of sounds, sights and smells is often more acute than the unpolar...

it's not a universal, but it is pretty common.

long before i was diagnosed, i learned that i was aware of things in my surroundings that other people didn't seem to notice at all. "normal" people could ignore/filter out sounds that would literally drive me to distraction - to the point where i couldn't think or write or carry on a discussion.

madness, like misery, loves company. after i was diagnosed, it was a relief to discover that there were others who experienced this too. the question recently came up again on a bp listserve i'm a part of...


I was wondering if anyone here, in any type of episode, gets very sensitive to and agitated by noises.
Now by choice I will blast music, and that's great! But in the wrong state the phone ringing (a biggie!), repetitive tapping, banging, construction outside, feel like such an intrusion and make me extremely irritable. Sometimes even the TV in the background is too much, while other times it's comforting.

Does anyone else get this way?


Even people's voices if they are too loud are aggravating, though when my mood is 'elevated' I realize *I* talk much louder! A group of cute kids love to play basketball in my street at night and the sound of the ball bouncing and bouncing makes me grind my teeth and consider earplugs.
It's not an issue with kids having fun, it's the noise sensitivity.


I am extremely sensitive to noise. I experience what you do, except I am that way ALL the time. It doesn't change depending on what mood or episode I'm in.

I think I'm so sensitive to noise because of the facts that: I'm bipolar and noise triggers irritability and anger in me; noise can trigger my migraines; and I was reared in a quiet household.


Oh yeah. I find noise very agitating. Even being in a store where they are playing loud music makes me extremely irritable. I can't stand confusion and chaos, either. For example, big family get togethers with all the noise and activity can really trigger me.


Yes!!! This is a major issue with me too. In fact, one of my medications is specifically for that very reason. The sound of chewing and speech is too much for me.

I hope you feel better soon!!!


Yes! Unfortunately my poor kiddos experience this from me. I know when it gets too much for me it is time to take one of my PRNs they help...


I love dogs but I have neighbors that let their dogs bark all day and night. It drives me nuts. Sometimes I want to shoot them. One night I deliberately tried to run one over with my car. The telephone ringing also bothers me and my wife knows I will not answer it so she always does but if she does not I have to tell her..."Please get the phone" Ughh!


Yes, yes and yes. I have noise sensitivity especially when I feel stressed and otherwise at various times. I have a really difficult time when there is a lot going on at once. If I wasn't on my meds I would have a much more difficult time with irritability.


A person chewing with their mouth open....a person picking at their broken nail....finger tapping....clicking, pinging and anything that makes a sound can get me to totally explode. People don't understand how it triggers me.

I love piece and quiet but at the same time a very quiet house is not comforting for me.

At the GF's house they are very loud/bubbly and it totally triggers my anxiety/rage. I grew up in a cold/quiet house and their energy to me seems fake and phony.


I cannot believe how what your saying sounds just like what I go through.

My husband seems to slam drawers instead of closing drawers which really upsets me. Any loud noise bothers me. Even bright lights. My husband and daughter are very annoying sometime. My daughter especially is loud and even pushy sometimes and it unhinges me.

I'm like that too about the T.V, sometimes I want it on just for company and sometimes I can't wait to turn it off because I don't want to hear anything. I like peacefulness.


I, too, am triggered by noises. The chewing is a biggie and crunching - like potato chips!!!!! Instant irritation.


Wow and I thought I was the only one!

Someone chewing with their mouth open just rubs me RAW! Among a lot of other things. I just always chalked it up to my OCD. Guess I was wrong huh?


One of the worst sounds for me is in the summer when i have my windows down in the car and a Harley pulls up next to me with there loud pipes in rings right through my whole body.
Or the other thing is when a train is coming and they blow there horn a thousand times to let people know. That one makes me clinch my teeth.

and this was my contribution...

oh heck yes!

i think it's one of those bipolar super powers. it amazes me that so many people seem absolutely insensitive to noise.

right now we're in the season of the power tool gardeners here, with weed-eaters, lawnmowers, chainsaws, etc wailing all the time and it makes me very cranky... no matter how stable i was feeling just before it started up.

in the city, it amazes me how people don't even react to ambulances and other sirens going by- i feel like my skull is splitting and when i look around, no one else even blinks.

i have a similar reaction in stores to the pop music soundtrack. i like the Clash, but i don't want to hear it when i'm choosing a head of lettuce!

i wonder sometimes about the cumulative effects of all this noise on nervous systems that evolved under such different conditions, when the loudest sounds one would hear were maybe thunder, or a waterfall, or a tree falling.

not so long ago, noticing the sounds around you would have made you a better hunter, or given you the chance to escape from an enemy or a predator - ie - survive! when it's quiet here, i'm the one who can hear hear a woodpecker a hundred yards away, a deer moving stepping the bush, the waves on the beach... powerful reminders of life and how connected everything is... best meds ever!

i don't think it's a bad thing that i notice the sound of the world around me. what sucks is how much bad noise gets made, and how deaf so many 'normal' people seem to be to it all...

for what it's worth,


1 comment:

  1. I was diagnosed bipolar in my 20s, now 50, noises kill me. My husband goes to sleep with the tv on and that is the worst time for me. I already lack sleep, but the NOISE is killer.