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  • Going crazy with noise


    I feel a bit of a fraud talking about my problems on this website, because some of you have far worse problems to cope with. But there have been times over the last twelve years when I have been almost suicidal, so maybe it’s how it affects you that counts in the end.

    I have a highly stressful and pretty exhausting job, and my life generally is also pretty stressful quite apart from the neighbours. I have to work at home a lot, and I’m someone who really needs a quiet, peaceful environment that enables me to be reflective and to do my research and writing. I’m always under pressure to meet performance targets, to work to deadlines, and stuff like that. In the little leisure time that I can find I’m usually exhausted and just desperate to rest and try to unwind. I can’t change my job (as I’m too old now for a career change), and I can’t afford to move house. Even if I could afford a different house, I don’t know where you go to get peace these days. (I’m single and would be vulnerable living somewhere isolated.) As it is, for many years I lived with my parents because I was always on short term contracts. Now, I have a house in a different area because I have a permanent job. But both places have been really difficult to live in.

    It started twelve years ago, when I was still living with my parents. They had a semi-detached house in a relatively quiet suburban estate. It did not stay quiet for long. The first thing that happened was that a neighbour at the back of our house decided to build a huge extension to his home. He did it himself, and for three years every daylight hour that he was at home was filled with all the construction noise. That finished, he started on the garden landscaping. That started all the other neighbours off. One after the other, they had to build extensions, patios, have their gardens landscaped and their driveways done. It went on for years. On one occasion our house actually started to shake with the vibrations that neighbouring work was causing. It seemed as though the noise would never end. We just seemed to be living in a construction site for years. The second thing that happened was that young people started to move in and then the children started to appear. The new mothers decided that they wanted an annual street party for the children, even though the other residents who had lived there longer were against the idea. The first street party set the train for what followed. The children have run riot since then, treating the estate as their private playpark. The neighbour right next to us was never happy unless at least a dozen children were ‘playing’ in her garden. The noise was incredible. There would be ear piercing screams and shrieks, and shouts. It would go on for ten hours a day during school holidays and weekends, and in the evenings the rest of the time. I kid you not. Even with our doors and windows shut, the noise would just go right through our conversations, television programmes, whatever. She refused to ask the children to be quiet or to play somewhere else, on the one occasion that we mentioned it to her. The third thing that happened, was that the grandmother through the wall from us started to have her grandchildren to stay. They would thunder up and down the stairs for hours, and the thumps and shouts and shrieks would go on until one or two in the morning. The grandmother herself also seemed to go in for ‘DIYing’. She would start to hammer on the walls (at least that’s what it sounded like), usually in the late evening. That went on regularly for years. One night she woke me at three in the morning with loud hammering coming through the wall directly behind my pillow. My parents were always worried that if we said anything to any of the neighbours they would up the ante, so apart from the one occasion we said nothing. I had to wear industrial ear protectors all the time the DIYing was going on or the children were ‘playing’. One day I phoned the Samaritans because I couldn’t stand it any longer. They couldn’t even hear me on the phone because of the noise from the children outside. My father tells me that a few days ago one of the very few families that does bring their own children up to be quiet and considerate of other neighbours had cause to speak to their neignbour’s children. The children (age around four and seven) swore at her. When she spoke to their mother she was more or less told to get lost.

    Three years ago I moved into a home of my own. I managed to find the extra money to buy a detached house, thinking that might make some difference. It hasn’t. The neighbours across my back garden are heavily into DIY. The home and garden improvements have gone on now for three years, evenings, weekends (sometimes from before 8am ‘til after dark), and during the husband’s holidays. Added to that, they literally use their garden as an ‘extra room’. The back door of their house is open from the minute they get up in the morning until they go to bed at night, and the top windows are never closed. I hear everything that goes on the house, even though my own doors and windows are kept shut. (I couldn’t even open them in the stifling heat we had this summer.) I might as well be in a semi-detached house for all the peace I get. In the last few months a baby has appeared. I don’t know if it is theirs or if they are looking after it for a daughter. I’ve been wakened at 5am with it wailing, and if it is dry weather they just bring it outside and walk it up and down in the garden. Because they have the doors and windows open all the time, the wails just come right into my house day and night. Between his DIYing and now this, I’m being driven mad. The neighbours across the street from me also seem to like to have a lot of children about the place, so now I’ve got them shrieking and screaming on that side and the constant clacking of skateboards and rollerblades, and stuff. I’m wearing my ear protectors as I write this. They are painful. They may do long term damage to my ears, I don’t know. And they don’t block out the high pitched noise or the relentless thud, thud, thud, as a football is kicked hour after hour after hour, so I’m going demented as I try to work. Last night just as I thought it would start to quiten down as it got dark, three boys about seven or eight years old started racing up and down outside my house on scooters. I had to put the ear protectors on again, because of course they can’t ‘play’ these days without loud shouts and yells.

    I’ve also had excreta deposited on my doorstep and door mat on several occasions. It happens at night, and I’ve almost stepped into it rushing out to work. There has been vomit as well. I’ve had my dustbin dragged onto my lawn and the contents tipped out, and my car has been scratched while it was sitting in my driveway. I have spoken to the community police about the excreta and stuff, but they think it’s just an animal. It might be, but I have never known an animal to use a doorstep as a toilet. And you have to walk across about twelve feet of stoned area to reach the doorstep, with nothing there to attract an animal across in the first place. I have fenced off my back garden, and the gate is padlocked. I also have security lights at the back of the house, but the neighbour across the road complained about one that I had towards the front so that is not used now.

    All I want is peace and quiet inside my home, and not to have to wear industrial ear protectors every day. Surely to god, quietness inside your home should not be too much to ask? I know that some developers are building child-free home zones now, and that would certainly make the biggest difference in reducing my stress, but they are few and far between and so far they have been too expensive for me anyway. I just know that I can’t stand much more of this. I was in tears with it yesterday, and that’s about par for the course. Sometimes I feel that if just one more ear piercing shriek penetrates my home, or if there is one more clack from a skateboard against the kerb outside, or one more sound of drilling or hammering, I’m going to find a high bridge and just jump. I’m afraid to say anything to the neighbours or the children, because I do think it will just make things worse.

    I know that a lot of you probably have children and you possibly can’t understand why anyone would be driven mad by the sort of noise I’m describing. But it is destroying me. So is the constant DIYing. I just dread waking up in the mornings knowing that there is just another day of this ahead.


  • #2
    Hi Eleanor,

    I think you will find many members will relate to your story. We've said a few times that nowadays children seem totally incapable of holding a conversation without screeching at each other. It's also a sad fact of life that many parents don't give a hoot where their children play as long as they are not bothering them. And should anybody be unwise enough to complain they end up having more abuse thrown at them. Some parents will not accept that their children are anything other than perfect angels, or should be allowed to do what they want, where they want. I'm thinking of one particular mother in my area whose nasty offspring causes all sorts of problems but she will shout from the housetops that he is perfect and if anybody should even look at him in the wrong way she will 'get someone to sort you out!!'

    The Childrens' Society published a report a few months ago, complaining that children are not allowed to play. I can tell you it was not received well on this board!

    To be honest, I don't know what you can do about it without attracting unwanted attention to yourself. Unless these noisy kids are actually vandalising or engaging in other antisocial behaviour, the police just don't want to know. They know they will have to fill in reams of official forms and be tied up in red tape if they were to arrest a youngster.

    Do you know if any other neighbours are disturbed by all this noise? It's sometimes helpful if a group of you could approach the police and ask for help.

    Because you have suffered for so long from this sort of behaviour you will be even more sensitised to it than somebody who has not. Believe me, I know, having gone through it for nearly 20 years myself.

    Have you thought of investing in some cctv equipment? It might allow you to see who the disgusting person is who is depositing excretia on your step. Why did your neighbours opposite complain about your security light? Was it perhaps because it was pointed at an angle that shone on their property as well? I know some people at the back of me have them and it drives me mad if they are switched on at night and they shine right into my bedroom window. So perhaps if you adjusted the angle. Are they movement sensitive? Maybe if they only switched on if somebody was on your property, then your neighbours couldn't really complain.

    I'm sure you'll get a lot of advice from other members, you will certainly get a lot of sympathy and support. If you ever feel like a good old rant, go to the ranters folder. It sometimes helps to vent your spleen

    "Almost anything you do will seem insignificant, but it is very important that you do it. You must be the change that you wish to see in the world." Gandhi


    • #3
      Hi Eleanor and so sorry to hear of the misery the constant racket is causing you :badmood:

      As Misty says, many kids seem to be incapable of playing at anything under 10 decibels :blink: And in the summer, especially there seems to be no such thing as a bed-time! I don't suppose there is a park/play area nearby that they could use? Or any chance that their parents might actually do some activities with them? I do think there is a culture these days of many parents wanting to keep kids playing on their own street so they know where they are, but then, with this, comes responsibility to ensure other neighbours are not driven up the wall!

      Also, I sometimes wonder just how much noisy DIY one household can possibly need!

      In terms of some of the nasty things that have happened in your front garden, does this seem to be in retaliation for you confronting them at all? I'm just wondering as you haven't mentioned whether you have spoken either of these households at all? Short of trying to talk to them(they may not be aware that you find it so disturbing)/trying mediation, I am at a bit of a loss as to what you can really do, without evidence that someone is harassing you (e.g. the things that happen in your front garden). I think CCTV is worth a try, in that case, and some lower level lighting that the neighbour can't complain about for good viaibility.

      Do visit again, as I'm sure others will have some ideas, and will be able to offer support




      • #4
        Hi Eleanor

        Welcome to the Forum.

        You sound so desperate, I feel dreadful for you .

        From what you say, much of your problems centre around noise that would probably be described as everyday noise, but you seem to be getting more than your share of it. I can't help with advice on dealing with noise and Kids From Hell (KFH)- there are others here who definitely CAN point you in the right direction though and I am sure they will be along shortly to help .

        I can only say to you -

        PLEASE do not do anything to hurt yourself over this matter. Come to this board as often as you can - you will be surprised at how a little support from others who understand your plight can help you and give you the strength to cope. .

        Let us know how you go,

        best wishes




        • #5
          Hi Eleanor

          I don't really know what advice I can offer at all in your situation - like others have said, I think it's really difficult to change childrens' behaviour.

          With a neighbour problem, it really is about how they affect you. You have obviously had a history of living in noisy neighbourhoods and this may make you more sensitive to noise. I know I am really sensitive to noise - it affects my sense of well-being. It is so frustrating that you have no control over it: you have no idea when it's going to start or stop.

          In this type of situation, your options are fairly limited:

          - Stay and speak to the families (although this may exacerbate the situation)

          - Stay and try to ignore the noise/ change the way you cope with it

          - Move

          I have to say that from reading your posts in this topic, if I were you, I would try to move somewhere else. I'd really research the areas around me and choose somewhere with an older, child-free population. But, at the end of the day, only you can decide what's best for you, physically, financially and emotionally.

          Wishing you all the very best . Like Misty says, pop along to Ranters Corner if you really need a good moan about something - it does help! :lol:


          • #6
            My solution would go something like this ... (it would take guts, but it would get you peace and quiet)

            1. Sell the house

            2. Buy a smaller house in a very quiet area (check it out first)

            3. Buy a wood (yes, you can do this - 8 acres for £19,000 approx)

            4. Set up a shed in the wood with wood burning stove for cold weather (make sure you store tools in it so you can say its a toolshed/rainshelter for when you are working in the woodland

            5. Use your new, peaceful surroundings to work/write

            6. You may want a car battery and lamp for dark evenings

            7. Throw in a BBQ for food

            8. And perhaps a small fridge (powered by solar cells) for cool drinks

            Howard:"You wanna be careful, before you know it you'll wake up in a bush singing songs about brooms"

            Vince:"You don't know anything about me. Do you know anything about me?"

            Howard:"I know...of you"

            Vince:"Yeah, well, if you knew me you'd know that I don't sing songs about brooms...I sing songs about love...

            Lovely lady with the eye

            Lovely lady with the eye

            You've only got one but it's a good one

            Lovely lady with the eye, the eye, the eye, the eye, the eye

            coming forward on a string, thats not normal, urgh

            Yeah! I'm in a band..."


            • #7

              Eleanor, I know where you are coming from. I live across the road from a family who open their doors at 6/7a.m. and thats it, their door is open until darkness falls. i decided we had to move to get away from it, and we are about to do so.

              the kids are outside all day and night, up and down on bikes, skateboards, skates, balls bouncing around thump thump, shrieking brats all day everyday. i live on a private cul de sac and we have a green space in the middle of it, so these brats dominate it to the exclusion of all others. they bully and pick on other kids they dont like and recently other kids who do not live on our road now have started to join in with the fun and frolics and seriously i am very demented. :rant:

              this family live their life 'on show' for all the road to enjoy, lights on in their windows all hours of the day and night, no curtains, we even get to see them on the loo. plus they have just had a baby, and yes, you guessed it, the mother walks around the estate with it, yelling its nut off. she has a perfectly good back garden by the way, but they never ever use it. :badmood:

              i would have thought you lived on my road apart from the DIY business.!!!!

              do you know what has helped keep me this side of sanity??

              FINDING THIS FORUM :thumbs: :notworthy:

              just knowing other people understood and were not going to think i was a kid hating moaner ( i have a 7 yr old by the way).

              so i hope you will be able to find some release here and gradually come to a decision as to how to deal with this. for us it was a decision to move house, and it may be something you should research a bit more deeply. think about what the future will be for you if you carry on living where you are. it is obviously a family place and these kids will be around for ages, and more will come along.

              anyway welcome to the forum and i hope you will get good advice here :ban: :nfh1:

              I decree today that life

              Is simply taking and not giving

              England is mine - it owes me a living

              But ask me why, and I'll spit in your eye

              Oh, ask me why, and I'll spit in your eye ~ Morrisey/Marr

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              I don't like liars, I don't like cheats. I don't like bullsh***ters. I don't like schmoozers. I don't like ar*e-lickers. ~ Sir Alan Sugar

              "Why, Sir, you find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford." ~ Samuel Johnson

              The secret of success is the capacity to overcome failure ~ Noel Coward

              An economist is an expert who will know tomorrow why the things he predicted yesterday didn’t happen today ~ Laurence J. Peter

              Always laugh when you can. It is cheap medicine ~ Lord Byron

              Better bread with water than cake with trouble ~ Russian Proverb

              There is no trouble so great or grave that cannot be much diminished by a cup of tea ~ Bernard-Paul Heroux

              Carpe Diem

              Give Yourself to It ~ Sue Gadenne


              • #8
                Hi Eleanor,

                You seem to be caught in a negative spiral; because you're upset about the noise you're very aware of it and then it upsets you even more.

                How can you be less upset or less aware?

                Would it be possible for you to try to see the noise as less of a threat to your peace of mind?

                Someone I know suffers from tinnatus, in her case a high-pitched shrieking noise she can't escape from. She found she could learn to live with it by trying to accept it and divert her attention to other sounds.

                Instead of trying to block out every sound you could try to stop listening for the noise and divert your attention in some way, perhaps by playing some soothing music and listening to that instead of to the children/DIY.
                'The only kind of courage that matters is the kind that gets you from one minute to the next.' - Mignon McLaughlin


                • #9
                  Thanks for your advice everyone. Sorry, for not acknowledging you all sooner. I've been fluctuating between depression and worload, I'm afraid.

                  I have not said anything to any of my neighbours about the either the childrens' noise or the DIY noise. I've been afraid to in case it made things worse, so that's not the cause of the mess on my doorstep.

                  I have tried blocking out the noise in various ways. Even though I don't want a radio or TV on all the time I'm at home, I do have one or other on all the time. I've tried 'white noise' earphones. Now I more or less permanently wear these ear protectors that you see guys wearing when they are using noisy industrial machinery. Unfortunately nothing keeps the noise out sufficiently, or distracts me from it.

                  I think that those of you who suggested moving house are probably right. There are not many 'child-free-housing' estates around yet, though, and the one I know about is too far away and the properties are much too expensive for me. I'm not eligible for 'retirement properties' yet either, or that might have been a way forward. I'd be vulnerable living in an isoated place somewhere, so that's probably not an option for me. Maybe a city centre flat is the answer. If I can get a job back in the city that's one I would certainly pursue.

                  How do you buy a 'wood'? Who sells them? I'd like to know more about this.

                  Take care.



                  • #10

                    It took a while to reply to your post it is so stark and painfull

                    The whole world must seem too be a place of Noise and Pain.

                    I'd sell as quick as pos: Buy a detached house (with a reasonable space between you and next house) on a main road Parents with kids often go for"quiet streets"thats a laugh,in itself. no grass verge (Football unfriendly) no slope(skate Board unfriendly) at least the noise from the traffic is impersonal

                    not near a bus stop,

                    Where the backgardens are small, kids and parents of kids tend to want large gardens to invite and entertain their friends, kids from small gardens at least spend some of their time away at their mates or playing in the road and as this is on a main road they gotta go somewhere else

                    Very Very Best wishes

                    Peace in your time



                    • #11
                      Hi Eleanor

                      thanks for the update although it seems as though things are no different .

                      I think I would start to look for somewhere else to live. At least looking can make you feel as if you are getting control of your situation and you'll feel that you are actively doing something about it .

                      It's hard for anyone to afford to move these days, I do understand how it must be for you, but you just never know your luck - something suitable may just turn up when you least expect it .

                      If you are ever feeling down, please don't forget us here! There's always someone hanging about for you to sound off at - also, there's a 'happy Zone' which I can recommend as a distraction for a little bit. B)

                      We all need a break from our NFH's from time to time and it can really help to 1. have a rant and 2. have a laugh

                      Come back often and let us know how you get on.




                      • #12
                        Very sad reading this.

                        I had never really thought about the fact that what most would call "everyday noise" could drive someone to the edge of distraction.

                        Trouble is, is there really anywhere to live these days where noise will not affect you - unless you end up being in the midle of nowhere and totally isolated.

                        Made me think - my family and I had a week in North Wales earlier this year. Absolutely beautiful. we rented an extremely isolated cottage in a stunning setting. We had no sleep - the noise from sheep, wildlife etc, drove us nuts! We are "country folk" too!!

                        Take care Elenor. I hope, really hope, you find the peace you need.

                        "You have to be the change you wish to see in the world"