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Noise Sensitivity During Mania

Loud noises bother me to the point of rage during certain moods. If I am near switching moods to mania the noise will send me into mania quicker and launch a case of full-blown rage. I also think the constant assault on my ears can trigger an episode of mania even if I wasn’t ready to switch moods. 

I am hearing more and more about people with this trouble with bipolar. Noise has bothered me for as long as I can think of, but I never put two and two together until I started reading more about it. I am constantly learning about my bipolar and read everything I can. 

Summertime is agony for me because the sound of flip flops slapping on the ground or floor drives me to the point that I can feel the rage coming on. Humming is another noise that irritates me to the point of losing control. I want to scream at these people and I can just imagine what they would think of me. These are all noises society is used to, but to me they are major irritants. 

Dogs barking non-stop, trains coming through every hour or so (we live near the tracks) and the planes taking off and coming in (we are on the flight pattern of a major airport) are other noises that send me into a state of rage.

I also can’t tolerate very loud music. Even being partially deaf myself, I don’t like loud music or television.

This has bothered me so bad in the past that I have gone to the ER because it had bothered me to the point of losing control and just wanting to scream and run down the middle of the street to try and outrun the sound.

It is not just the case of being angry, I become totally enraged by these noises. Our house is surrounded by dogs. They all spend all their time outdoors and these dogs bark at every noise, sound or person they hear. We have a cat and a dog. The dog barks occasionally, but the cat never shuts up. I want to toss her out the 2nd floor window she annoys me so much. I can only handle so much meowing from her.

Telephones ringing also annoy me. My dad’s landline phone rings non-stop all day. He doesn’t answer it because he screens calls so I have to hear his awful ring tone and the message on the machine almost every time over and over again.

I take solace in the fact that it only seems to be that bad during a manic phase and my mood stabilizer has been stopping the manic phases lately so I have had some relief. If you find loud noises affect you, don’t feel alone. It seems to be perfectly normal for those of us with bipolar disorder. Although I am sure you find it as annoying as I do.

I did find that head phones and something to listen to have a way of drowning out the annoying sounds and only allowing welcome ones in. I like to binge on Netflix and that absorbs my attention and blocks out the loud noises. Favorite music would do it too.

To read more from Teresa, see the rest of her posts for IBPF here or visit her personal blog here


Interesting topic, I find that at the height of my mania I am actually ignorant to the noise pollution. I recall one episode when a friend came to visit me and the neighbors were VERY noisy and throwing a party.

My friend asked, "doesn't that noise bother you?" I said, "Oh, I didn't even notice it, but now that you point it out, yes." And I have found that while ignorant, I am still sensitive to the sound.

What I meant is that it bothers me, it irritates my mind and as I become aware of it I can take steps to reduce the noise in many cases. Finding moments of silence definitely helps. Have you tried using noise canceling head phones?

No I haven't tried noise canceling headphones. Actually I wear ones that are one sided with a microphone. Thanks for the suggestion.

I have been to the doctors many times about the slightest thing sending me into a rage everytime I go I'm sent away with nothing to help me. I've got to the stage I feel helpless nobody listens.

Shirley, that must be frustrating. My doctor or I should say my psychiatric nurse listens and prescribes medicines that don't always work, but she does try. I find the nurse more caring than the last psychiatrist I went to. Now that my mood stabilizer keeps me from going into mania I don't suffer as much with the rage. I wish you luck and God bless.

Thank you everyone who has commented and written about this. I have dealt with this my entire life and being recently diagnosed with bipolar, everything makes sense now. I feel as helpless as ever but at least I know I’m not alone

You know how some people can't fall asleep unless the television is ON? I found this out rooming with my AA sponsor at a hotel room. I had to go get a separate room to sleep in and it caused a huge blowout. I do not connect with the rage some people feel with noise but when my cell phone rings and rings...and it's all the wrong people, it's horrible.

Allison I used to sleep with the tv on, but now I crave the silence or soothing music at the most.

I'm often noise sensitive no matter what phase I'm in but just live with it. I'm unable to sleep at night without my ear plugs and keep telling people to turn the volume down. What does upset me still is how people label me as bitchy. Thanks for sharing you're story Theresa

Collette I am sorry it bothers you in all phases. Sometimes I do too though not too often while depressive. I haven't screamed at anyone yet to stop it although I have come close. One of the worst sounds is flip flops and people do not understand. I can't wait til winter is here and they go away again.

I have some symptoms of Asperger's, which include extreme sensitivity to noise, mainly repetitive and high pitched. I can't be around children, therefore, or building sites, just have to run from the noise.

Susanna I had forgotten children. They drive me crazy period. I am 60 now and my grown kids have little kids. My children don't understand why I don't want to be around them so I don't say anything. I just tense up and stick it out til I can get away. I do love my family, but I can't take children anymore.

I have an extreme sensitivity to a whispering noise. I can't Handel it. Sometimes if a TV is on in the other room I swear I can only hear the "sss", even sound machines- the ocean one to me sounds like an S. I get so angry, short tempered, high anxiety, and crying. I have always felt like a weirdo growing up in my house- when my parents would enjoy a cup of coffee and whisper to each other so they wouldn't wake me up. Everyday...... Every single day I would wake up as soon as I heard it and just loose control of my emotions and be angry at my parents for not respecting my sleep- even though it wasn't their fault. Eventually I was diagnosed with bipolar and treated with mood stabilizers and lots of therapy to help me cope with the sounds and emotions.

Pam I feel for you. I am working on my rage also and the mood stabilizers do help with that. I actually went to the psych hospital one time because I was about to run screaming down the street in the middle of the night to try and drown out the sounds. Good luck and God bless.

Riding the bus when I'm hypomanic or manic is torture because it is so noisy. I am a noisy person myself, so I feel like a hypocrite later, but any loud or repetitive noises just push me beyond irritation into outright rage. I am so glad it's not just me.

Jenny you are not alone and from what I have been reading in response to my post it is very common.

I'm so glad to see Im not alone. My mother in law has the habit of sitting on her hands and rubbing her thumb back and forth over her polyester pants. The sound sends me into a rage. I've learned to put a pillow over my ears. I also have issues with the sounds of other people chewing, and breathing. I once yelled at a neighbor for doing his cross fit training outside as the sound of the hammer hitting the tire was enough to make my head explode.

Amy I feel for you. I have wanted to yell at people too, but so far I haven't. Flip flops are so bad I think I could commit murder over them. I am glad summer is almost over.

I was a massage therapist and had one of those "white noise" machines for my clients. That helped me a lot at night. You can choose Rainfall, Ocean waves, Summer night, etc.

Is this different to misophonia? I dislike certain noises and sounds all the time but sometimes the list grows to an unbearable length and worsens, then it goes away and I find I'm more comfortable. Could the increase therefore be mania making an appearance?

Clare I am not a doctor and don't know what misophonia is, but I do find in my case it usually has to do more with my mania. I wouldn't be surprised if we are all different in this aspect.

Anne. White noise machines don't bother me, but I have read a lot of messages and those sounds do bother some. I guess we are all different in the sounds we hate.

Dude.... when I'm manic, even the ticking clock will get me. If two or more people talk at once, I lose my mind. Loudness or sudden sounds of any kind will make me rage. My grown kids watch a lot of videos on their phones. The sudden sound of them starting and stopping made me literally throw one of the kids' phones out into the yard once.

Thank you for sharing this interesting information. I was diagnosed with BP II in December of 2015 and I am still learning about what that means to me, and I found your article interesting because it wasn't something I had thought about until I started reading it. However, I do have certain points where I can't stand the tv noise and repeatedly ask for it to be turned down or turned off and etcetera. I think after reading your article that I will have to pay more attention to when this is happening so I can learn if this is one of my symptoms and when it occurs. Thank you so much for the incite!

I used to suffer from terrible rage at noises, especially the sound of too many voices talking. In addition, I would hear someone calling my name in the background. I would then start scrunching my fists up and stopping myself from punching someone talking. Fortunately, my medications are now helping this. However, I have found I have a hearing loss in the range of human speech, which for many years, has made other high or low pitched sounds even more intrusive for me. A loud bass, for instance, can drive me psycho. But, I now have a much better handle on my meditation and relaxation that I now use anytime I need it - even in a meeting where I would like everyone to JUST SHUT UP. Good luck to everyone suffering from noise sensitivity and may you find your solution!!!

I find whistling and humming and some tones so frustratingly irritating I want to punch a baby. I dont see a difference in my mania vs depression. I think perhaps in my depression I am just too sad to get up and say anything so I just sit and cry. My mania phase I get so flipping mad I don't give a crap if I hurt someones feelings cause they didn't care to stop the crap that pissed me off! Wow---what is it about the anger with bi polar???

Try airport noise (jets, prop planes, choppers. My home was not in the direct flight paths when it was bought decades ago, but thanks to the county & the FAA changing flight paths & changing runways my neighborhood now sounds like a militarized zone. I can be perfectly fine (no mania)and then an aircraft over my home sends me into a scary rage, medicated or not.

I have was so afraid that I was going to have to be committed because I get so angry at noise, especially someone sniffing their nose, I carry around little pocket tissue packets and offer then to strangers who seem to need one. I believe my medication works just fine because it is only the noises that make me lose it. I have noticed it getting more sensitive over the last year or two. I am also a single mother of 3 and my children think I complain too much about their music and smacking but I am going to show them this page so maybe it will help them understand... Thank you for sharing.. I am glad I am not alone!

You people make me feel normal. Thank you for sharing this. I have thought that I am broken and will never function in society.

My neighbor has a swimming pool filter on from midnight to 6 am. For years this nocturnal humming had triggered 2 hospitalisations. Even when well again I had to move out of the bedroom and sleep in the loungeroom. I've now got 3 tinitus machines, fans etc. to divert attention from that one irritating hum. Off to hospital again as it is irritating beyond belief and I cannot sleep. Very very sleep deprived now for 5 months. It is not tinitus as everytime it starts I can go and check out his pool and yes his pump is on.

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