Every day, we’re surrounded by noise. It’s inevitable. We even make noise ourselves.
Cars honking, heavy traffic, people talking, trees rustling in the wind, birds chirping… There’s a lot of different sounds we experience on a daily basis. Not a day goes by where we don’t experience it.
Some of these noises we consider positive, soothing, or sometimes necessary. This would include music, cheers from an audience, and the pitter-patter of rain.
Other types of noise we deem negative, annoying, and distracting. Our neighbor’s dog, a crying baby, and loud chit-chat from a crowd are examples.
We all have experience with both positive and negative sources of these sounds. It’s all apart of life. We must take the good with the bad.
While we’re lucky to have functional ears, it can be too much at times. Nevertheless, we’re still grateful to have the capability of hearing.
But, we don’t just hear sounds with our ears. There’s another type of noise we can experience: mental noise. Yes, we all experience this as well.
And, no, mental sounds don’t involve hearing voices per se. Rather, it has to do with all of the other stuff going on in our minds. You know, like our thoughts, decisions, feelings, and contemplations.
People around us can’t hear the things in our heads, but it doesn’t mean it can’t be noisy for us.
Like its physical counterpart, non-verbal noise can be either positive or negative. Of course, the negative is the stuff we normally want to avoid.
Regardless of the noise, we witness, mental or physical, one thing’s for sure. It can be overwhelming at times and make it difficult to focus on. And, it’s something many people wish they could simply turn off.
What is Noisy Brain?
To have a noisy brain means to have a mind cluttered with too many thoughts or feelings at once. Call it cognitive or mental overstimulation, if you will.
NWCPHP describes mental noise as excess emotional arousal or mental agitation. That said, thoughts and/or emotions can contribute to this type of noisiness.
Thoughts or emotions might involve worries about our future or guilt of the past. Other times, noise can be of something positive. However, having too much noise going on, even good noise, can be a lot to handle.
These thoughts may be “heard” in your head. Or, they may be completely soundless and be something you merely feel or think about.
Whether they’re heard or not, this mental clutter can cause chaos. It can make you lose our focus and become sidetracked.
And, this nonsense can be “loud” enough to keep you up at night. Or, it can be annoying enough to give you a headache.
Generally, a noisy brain is something we usually perceive as a bad thing.
Sadly, most of us are unaware of how to shut off all that excess stuff going on in our membranes.
Even though we’re in control of our own bodies, our thoughts and emotions are hard to get a grip on. It’s almost like an outside force is controlling these aspects of us.
But, surely, there must be something that one can do to stop the internal noisiness. Who can live in that constant state of disorder anyhow? It’s never easy.
Does Everyone Have a Noisy Brain?
At some point, we all experience mental noise. It’s not really something we can avoid completely, no matter how hard we try. Even young children can experience it.
However, some folks might receive mental noise frequently and in great quantity. Others might rarely receive mental noise, but when they do, it might occur in small quantities.
Whether or not we experience mental noise frequently also has to do with how we handle stress. Those who are more resilient are less likely to experience mental noise. And, when they do receive it, it may seldom affect them.
But, those with poor stress management skills often have trouble with noisiness.
In the end, we all deal with it at some point in time, some more than others.
It helps to recognize that your brain is noisy from the start. This is the first step before looking for ways to combat your problem.
Can a Noisy Brain Cause Health Problems?
A noisy brain can not only impact people on a mental and emotional level but also physical. This is particularly true for those who consider noise more disturbing than others.
But we all have our own personal way of dealing with these disturbances.
Those who don’t handle noise effectively may suffer from mental health problems. In a turn of mental problems, they may develop physiological health issues.
Physical problems include a higher risk of heart disease, heart attacks, or strokes. Other health problems might include weight problems, addiction, or even diabetes.
Having consistent noise in your mind won’t automatically trigger these health issues. However, they can increase their chances of developing over time.
That said, it’s critical that you discover ways to quiet your chronically noisy brain. Your psychological and physical health both matter. It’s up to you to take charge of both.
However, know that if one can handle aural disturbances, their health won’t be in jeopardy.
It’s certainly all in the mindset. It’s not so much that sounds that are the problem but how we deal with them on a personal level.
How Do You Quiet a Noisy Mind?
Everyone has their own way of quieting the loud. But many people still struggle with it.
Honestly, quieting a loud mind is easier said than done. It takes great focus in order to do so. And, not everyone has that level of focus mastered just yet.
Consider the following ways to block out mental noise
Turn On Your Favorite Music.
Mental noise normally doesn’t involve actual sound at all. Nonetheless, it’s annoying. And, interestingly, you can still distract thoughts and emotions with physical sound.
Something that helps a lot of people combat mental noise is listening to music.
When selecting songs, pick ones that resonate the most with you. The more you enjoy the music, the more you’ll focus on that noise versus the one in your mind.
Listening to louder, upbeat music might be the best to choose to listen to achieve a quiet mind.
Another thing that might work is listening to an ASMR video, guided hypnotherapy, or the radio.
Use Meditation to Focus Your Mental Activity Elsewhere.
The great thing about meditation is that it helps us to halt our focus on our mental chaos.
Simply put, meditation is a mental process. So, it’s no surprise that it can help us gain control and focus on our own minds.
To meditate, one must sit, stand, or lie in a secluded area. The meditator must then focus on a specific thought or object. Some may choose to turn their focus onto their breathing. Others might focus on a certain phrase.
Either way, meditating can help us accept the sounds we might find annoying. It can also help us think about them in a different way.
Those with tinnitus (ear-ringing) would also benefit from meditation. After all, it can aid them to think more positively about their chronic condition.
Just know that meditating can be a work in progress. It can be a short- or long-term solution for many. Although, some people find that it takes several sessions to notice benefits.
Read a Book.
Another way to block mental noise? Replace it with another mental activity. One way to do that is to read something.
Not everybody likes to read, but it might just help you kiss the mental noise goodbye.
You don’t necessarily have to read a book. You can also read a comic strip, the newspaper, or an article online. Even reading social media posts can help some people.
Remember that the point of reading, in this case, is to distract the mind. It doesn’t have to be for educational or even entertainment purposes.
But it can definitely help to have more than one purpose to read besides distraction.
If you need to, you can even have a book read to you by someone else.
Or, you might be able to find an audio recording of your favorite book or story, so you don’t have to read it yourself.
How Can I Stop Mental Noise?
As you can see, there are many ways to quiet the mental noise you experience.
But what about stopping mental noise? You know, like avoiding it or guaranteeing that it will never come back?
Maybe mental chaos is something you experience every single day. If this is the case, you know just how aggravating it can be. Thus, it’s no surprise that you want it to just end.
We’re sorry to say, but it’s impossible to stop mental noise completely. Our minds are complex, as are we.
But on the bright side, you can combat some of the thoughts and emotions that are disturbing you. You can also get a better handle on them.
The best way to do it? You need to find a way to replace or override the mental clutter.
For some people, that means going to sleep.
Others enjoy taking a brisk walk in nature or playing a sport to take their mind elsewhere.
Others make their mind quiet by replacing it with a source of physical sounds like singing or the TV.
Another great strategy is to “say” something inside your mind when your thoughts are too much. Yelling “stop” or “focus” might help you quiet the crazy in your mind.
It’s not easy dealing with any type of sound. However, sadly, there is no “off” button for sounds we experience on a mental level.
That said, the only way is to shift our thoughts through replacement or distraction. When we do one of these two things, this can then help the chaos stop on its own.
In severe cases, a therapist might also help with overcoming the mental noisiness.
How Can I Block Out Physical Noise?
Unlike mental sound, there are many things that can cover up or block out physical noise.
Although you can block physical sound on a mental level, the following are physical ways to do so.
These tend to be temporary, bandaid solutions. However, learning to block noisiness psychologically takes a lot more time and skill.
Listen to White Noise.
The worst part about physical sound is that you can’t just stop it if it’s out of your control. Yet, that’s exactly what we’d all like to do.
While you can probably tell the person to stop making the sound, there’s a better way to handle it. One way is to listen to white noise while wearing headphones or earbuds.
White noise is a random, aural signal that has equal intensity at variant frequencies.
Listening to white noise at the right volume can help block out other noises. In turn, many find that they can better focus on their work and sleep better. Listening to it can also relieve stress for some folks.
Best of all, you can access white noise for free. There are numerous YouTube videos online featuring it.
Put Earplugs In.
Are you experiencing a noise that’s too intense? Or, maybe an aural stimulus is simply bothering you, and you want it to go away pronto.
Putting in ear plugs is a great way to stay clear of excess noise.
Chances are, if the annoyance is loud enough, it won’t block out everything. That said, it won’t be as effective for louder disturbances.
However, it’s nice to have a bit of a buffer from it, even if it’s not much.
The good news is, earplugs are relatively affordable. They’re also pretty comfortable. And, one can easily wear them while lying down or while at work.
Rearrange Your Furniture.
If you’re dealing with noisiness at home, rearranging your furniture is one solution.
The rearrangement of furniture can serve you in two ways.
For one, you can move your furniture so that it’s harder to hear the source from where you’re sitting or lying. Moving your bed or chair away from a window or door might help.
You can also use furniture as a way to block the uproar directly.
For instance, you might place a heavy dresser along a thin wall. Or, you could place a thick headboard behind your bed.
It’s little things like this that you might not think about but that can help.
How Do You Block Out Construction Noise?
Everyone knows construction can be very loud. Hence, this is why many future homeowners refuse to buy a home near a construction site.
But sometimes we have no choice but to be in earshot of construction. It’s not something we can always plan around.
If the commotion bothers you, there are definitely solutions that can work for you.
If you don’t need to focus on something or sleep, turning on the TV or listening to music can block the noise out. These, however, might simply cover up some of the disturbance, not necessarily all of it.
It could also help to go to a different room in the house or go to another location completely.
Others might be able to soundproof their home on a budget. After all, construction normally lasts for months at a time. Not to mention, the sound of it can seem nearly constant.
If you need help blocking out construction noise while sleeping, read below.
How to Sleep Through Noise
Sleeping with noise is easier for some people than for others.
Some people can sleep with blasting music. As for other people? It’s difficult to sleep even with people talking at a normal volume in the living room.
But as you know, sleep is something your body needs to be healthy. So, if don’t know how to sleep with noise, your health may suffer.
One of the best ways to sleep through sound at night is to train your brain to start blocking it out. Not every sound necessitates you to listen and react to it. You can still perceive aural sound but not allow it to bother you.
One source says you can learn to stop acknowledging the disturbance through mindfulness. They also suggest doing progressive muscle relaxation exercises or breathing exercises. Either practice can aid with sleep.
If neither of these is effective, the last resort is to block out the sound physically. Consider using earplugs or noise-canceling headphones.
However, it’s always best to try to deal with the sound on a mental level versus just blocking it out physically. Sometimes, physically blocking can work best. Other times, one might need to try both of these things.
How to Deal with Noise Sensitivity
Not every sound will impact every single person. But, sometimes one might experience something known as noise sensitivity. In this case, they may be more sensitive to noise than the average person.
Noise and Health says sound sensitivity can negatively impact our mental wellness.
Those with noise sensitivity are prone to sleep disturbances. They’re also likely to experience emotional distress and/or psychosomatic disorders.
Noise sensitivity can cause the latter things. Or, these things can cause someone to become noise sensitive.
If you already have mental setbacks, consider getting professional treatment. As you get psychological health, you might notice less noise sensitivity.
However, if noise is declining your psychological health, tackle the sound issue itself. It’ll take time and work to accept noise and to stop it from bothering you.
But first things first… Discover your triggers, and find the source of your aural sensitivity.
From there, you can learn to manage your sensitivity to sound little by little. Part of overcoming the sensitivity is exposing yourself to sound more often.
This can eventually help desensitize you, at least to an extent.
How to Cope with Noise Anxiety
Noise anxiety goes beyond noise sensitivity. Noise anxiety involves heavy distress due to physical sound.
One might experience physical symptoms after hearing a lot of aural noise. For instance, they might begin to sweat.
Their heart might beat hard in their chest. Some people might find themselves panicking or getting nervous.
The physical symptoms apart from noise anxiety can be mild or even severe. Not only are they uncomfortable, but they can make it extra hard to sleep or focus on work.
Those with noise anxiety can have different triggers. Some might get anxious over sounds that are too loud. Others might have certain sounds that bother them. The sound of a gunshot or ambulance is examples.
Coping with sound anxiety might require the assistance of a therapist.
Until then, blocking out sounds with noise-canceling headphones or earplugs will do.
One with noise anxiety should also find something else to focus on. Playing a relaxing game, concentrating on breathing, or counting internally might work.
If a particular noise becomes too much, they might need a moment to themselves. Walking outside or in a different room can alleviate some or all of the anxiety.
Keep in mind that coping with this type of anxiety isn’t easy. However, one can eventually learn to manage it well.