Turn Off That Loud Music!
August 29, 2009 5:55 PM   Subscribe

I have a problem with hearing bass music vibrating through my windows and walls into my home. It literally echos through my every vein and makes me feel insane. Is this a sign of age? Is something wrong with me?

We live in a neighbourhood where the houses are fairly close together, and primarily Hispanic. The neighbours (and when I say neighbours, I mean anywhere within 7 houses around us) like to hold parties from time to time or they just play their music loud while doing whatever it is that they do.
My problem is the bass that I can hear through the walls of my house. The music may not be that loud, but I can still hear the "thump thump" and it really sends me into a cloudy, high-blood pressure induced grumpy mood. I can feel the thump thump going through every single vein... and I feel like a pacing tiger. I can't think, I can't do a single thing because my entire mind is obsessed with this thump thump. I literally "shut down'.

I don't think I'm so much looking for a solution on how to get rid of the thump thump (i.e. headphones, just leave and go shopping, call the cops, etc...) but I am wondering if this is a normal reaction.

Is it just a sign of age? Am I next going to yell at kids to get off my lawn? Or is something wrong with me in relation to that particular sound? I know it's an odd question, but none of my friends (or husband) seem to mind the noise.. I can hear it even when it's low and it affects me.

This only started happening to me about 3 years ago. I used to live in apartments and I don't remember ever *really* being bothered by other noises. Headphones isn't an option to "fix" it. I have a 4yr old. Thanks.
posted by czechmate to Health & Fitness (22 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Call in noise complaints to the police; it's what I do. There's no fix for it--bass permeates everything. It drives me crazy, too, and it always has.
posted by interrobang at 5:56 PM on August 29, 2009 [2 favorites]

Nothing is wrong with you and it's not about age. Hearing someone else's bass is really annoying.
posted by ludwig_van at 6:08 PM on August 29, 2009

I find that whether noise bothers me or not depends on whether I'm angry or not. Maybe you've gotten angrier in the past three years.
posted by Obscure Reference at 6:12 PM on August 29, 2009

I think it's a preference more than an age thing. People sometimes park SUVs in front of my building with super low hip-hop bass going at max volume and I really enjoy the feeling of it.

To me it has the same sort of vibration that a car does when you're driving really fast (I don't know if that makes sense...)
posted by Spacelegoman at 6:13 PM on August 29, 2009

We call those folks "bass fairies" at my house, as in "Hey, the Bass Fairy just stopped by," and it's consistently irritating to both Mr. F and myself.

You could get your hearing and your blood pressure checked if it'd make you feel better, but I suspect there's probably nothing really wrong with you per se. You could redirect your hate into schadenfreude-- imagine how much those folks are spending to make their car audio sound like shit, after all.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 6:45 PM on August 29, 2009

It's annoying because you're not hearing music, you're hearing a distorted beyond all recognition.

I'm guessing your local architecture has a lot to do with what you're hearing now.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 6:46 PM on August 29, 2009

Not necessarily an age thing. Hearing the thumpa-thumpa of other peoples' music has always driven me crazy, even though I toiled in the fields of punk rock in my youth and still love a good loud X show. It's the out of context thumpa-thumpa that I hate.

I think technology has gotten more affordable, construction has gotten shoddier, and people have gotten ruder, leading to the thumpa-thumpa becoming increasingly more ubiquitous and annoying.
posted by chez shoes at 6:55 PM on August 29, 2009 [2 favorites]

I had neighbors like that and my blood pressure would skyrocket so quickly I would get dizzy. It's not just age.

Call in noise complaints. It doesn't matter what culture the people come from - it's rude and obnoxious.
posted by winna at 7:10 PM on August 29, 2009 [1 favorite]

It's not a sign of age. I don't know what makes some of us especially sensitive to it, but I first had this problem in college at age 18. I remember hoping that taking SSRIs would somehow make me less sensitive--I'm not sure why I thought that--but they didn't have that effect.
posted by needs more cowbell at 7:30 PM on August 29, 2009 [1 favorite]

If one day you decide you've had enough of the bass and it starts to be a negative stimulus rather than something you enjoy or are indifferent to, yes you can feel like it's drilling into your brain. It is all on how attuned you are to it and whether that attunement is positive or negative.
I hate bass, and I find creating white noise by running a fan can make it go away.
posted by dino terror at 7:59 PM on August 29, 2009

Yeah, I've felt like this practically all my life. I'm just really sensitive to bass sounds and you probably are, too. It's gotten to the point where a couple years ago we had to stop running the dishwasher at night because it made this certain really deep bass sound at one point in the cycle and it would actually wake me up.

I'd call in noise complaints. Other people don't get to enjoy themselves at your expense. It's not like you're asking them to shut it off completely, just to turn it down so you're not going insane.
posted by cooker girl at 7:59 PM on August 29, 2009 [2 favorites]

People who do this do to soley to annoy you. It makes them feel big. Fuck them, call the cops and file a complaint. Get your neighbors to do the same.
posted by damn dirty ape at 8:04 PM on August 29, 2009

We live in a neighbourhood where the houses are fairly close together, and primarily Hispanic.

I don't know what it is, but when I was young and lived in a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood where horn-and-bass music was often played loudly, all I could ever hear was the bass, and it drove me insane, in part because it was so s-l-o-w -- BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM booooooooooooooooom BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM booooooooooooooooooom...

It's not because you're old. It's because bass actually gets felt at a physical level. Don't believe me? Sit on a subwoofer at a club for a half hour, and see how upset your stomach gets. Noise complaints to the police are worth a shot, but you might want to consider moving somewhere else if this doesn't get results, as you're likely not going to get used to it.
posted by davejay at 8:38 PM on August 29, 2009 [1 favorite]

People who do this do to soley to annoy you.
I disagree.

A couple of years ago when living in the city a woman came to my door quite angry and upset.

Turns out that my quite low-volume music (so low it was not disturbing a sleeping flatmate) was sending out a thumpa-thumpa bass sound up the street that sounded much louder four doors away than in my own house. I had no idea my bass speaker was so powerful.

It doesn't always sound loud at the source and not everyone who causes this distress is a deliberately annoying twit. Ignorance is a lot more common than maliciousness.
posted by Kerasia at 8:43 PM on August 29, 2009

It drives me crazy too, because it is one of those noises that is just beyond the edge of hearing. It's like hearing whispering so low you can't understand the words.
posted by oneirodynia at 8:44 PM on August 29, 2009

It's definitely not an age thing. When I was in my early 20s, working at a record shop and going to punk shows several nights a week, I lived next door to a guy whose favorite CDs were the "bass" cds designed to show off your ridiculous car stereo, only he played them on his home stereo. It drove me batshit.
posted by padraigin at 9:24 PM on August 29, 2009

Ignorance is a lot more common than maliciousness.

How would you know this? The only evidence you cited is your own personal experience.

In any event, nthing what most of the other folks in this thread have said - it's a maddening experience that has nothing to do with age. As Kid Charlemagne said, it's not music, it's something "distorted beyond all recognition." It's also why I find the "music" that gets blasted out of the earphones of people who have their iPods turned up too loud deeply annoying. But bass music pounding through the walls is infinitely worse.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 9:58 PM on August 29, 2009

There was a kid moved in below me, the condo downstairs, and right away my floors were literally vibrating from the time he got home until whenever he decided to turn the thing off. I can't STAND this. It's rude as hell. And yeah, I love loud music and all, that's why I go to shows and have a great stereo in my pickup. But living in a condo, no way, we've got to be respectful of one another.

I checked with two or three other neighbors, to make sure I was not out of line, that my feet really were vibrating -- I remember one in particular looking at me with knowing sympathy and anger in her eyes, sympathy for me, living with this, anger at the kid, for being a dope, the knowing in her eyes was knowing that I was going to have to inform this kid the meaning of life. Which I did.

Which I had to do time after time. Again and again. After a while I just got tired of it, and resolved the situation: I got my eight pound sledge hammer out of my storage space and let fly. I'm sure that down there it was like Berlin in 1945. A few times of that and he got the message. And he moved, soon as his lease was up. He was a good guy, I liked him and all, I just don't enjoy my floors vibrating.

Being as how you're in a neighborhood in which you're surrounded by rude neighbors, I think that they are not going to change, and they are not going to move. And each and every time a squad shows up to enforce noise restrictions, everyone is going to know who made the call, which will chill neighborly relations fast. I predict a move in your future. Get out of there.
posted by dancestoblue at 12:13 AM on August 30, 2009

Ignorance is a lot more common than maliciousness.

How would you know this? The only evidence you cited is your own personal experience.

You are right, Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell. It is only personal experience. It is the experience I feel when I give people the benefit of the doubt. I find life moves along a lot more smoothly with this attitude.

I suffer from this affliction like the poster. I hate hate hate loud thumping bass from cars at when we are aligned on the roads. But I also know it is something that sounds worse from a distance than up close. Heck, I live on 2000ac now and my beloved who owns a concert PA he plays in a shed the equal distance of a block away can also drive me crazy with the sound. But when I walk to the shed to tell him, it doesn't sound that bad at all. He's not being malicious (now anecdote is anecdata?) so that is why I feel it is better to approach people in static (not moving, as in car) situations and ask if there is something they can do to calm their bass down.

Anecdotadly, I am glad I am not your neighbour. Seems you think maliciousness is more prevelent than ignorance. You must live in a sad and sorry area.
posted by Kerasia at 3:20 AM on August 30, 2009 [1 favorite]

Lots of people hate the type of noise you're describing, including me. I think you're reaction is in the range of normal. May might also have misophonia. Many sounds drive me crazy and I found that having a name for it helped.
posted by parakeetdog at 9:39 AM on August 31, 2009

"Tinnitus retraining therapy" also helps with misophonia, you may have a look at http://www.tinnitus.org , the therapy basically aims to alleviate how you perceive the disturbing noise.
posted by neworder7 at 10:07 PM on October 7, 2009

Coming in very late with this but yes, I'm having the same problem, again, tonight. Nice Salvadoran people next door and their tenants are having a birthday party for a kid but the volume is overwhelming, and far worse inside my house than outside. The repetitive bass is enough to make me want to go over and strangle them, which is a shame, because really, they are nice people.
posted by etaoin at 4:49 PM on July 17, 2010

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