Noise from Neighbors is Causing Migraines- Help!

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Of all the migraine triggers, noise from neighbors can be the most frustrating. Whether it’s dogs barking, rowdy parties, or mysterious thumping sounds over your head, here are some tips for dealing with noise from neighbors, without causing more migraines.


1- Just ask

Plan A is always to confront your neighbor and bring the noise to his attention.

  • Wait for a quiet, convenient time to approach your neighbor (assuming there are any non-migraine noise-inducing periods). Don’t be tempted to pound on his door and catch him in the act of noise polluting; you will only get an angry, defensive response.
  • Begin with an open mind, and give him the benefit of the doubt.  Explain that you suffer from chronic migraine headaches, and that you are especially susceptible to migraine attacks from loud noise decibels. He might not have realized that he was being offensive.
  • Be respectful, even if he isn’t.
  • Tell him which times of the day or night are most problematic. If you are home during the day recovering from a migraine headache and the noise is making that impossible, let him know, politely.
  • If approaching him personally is not an option, paste a friendly sticky note on his door.
  • Always document any verbal or written communications regarding noise pollution.

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2- Ask again, with a warning

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Only this time, get serious.

  • Remind him about city ordinances requiring noise levels, specific to the time of day or night, which can be found at most government sites.
  • Put it in a letter, and make a copy for yourself.
  • Let him know that under no circumstances will you suffer needlessly from a migraine trigger (noise) that is in his power to control.

3- Circulate

If you’re part of a homeowner’s association (HOA), find out about posting a note in the community newsletter addressing the issue of noise pollution, without mentioning any names, of course. This is another practical, non-accusatory way of spreading the message and preventing further headaches.

4- Talk to your landlord

Get on friendly terms with your landlord or HOA representatives.

  • Let them know that you suffer from migraines triggered by noise, and that you have tried to address the topic of noise pollution, to no avail.
  • Find out about the HOA or apartment complex rules regarding noisy neighbors, and ask if he can mediate the situation.

5- Soundproof your living space

Sometimes, a few inexpensive soundproofing measures can provide a migraine-friendly noise-free environment.

  • Check light switches and other electrical outlets for openings that may be letting in outside noise.  A bit of caulking in the holes may shut out some of that noise
  • Apply an acoustic mat under your floor or carpeting, or if possible, between the drywalls.
  • Purchase an inexpensive foam window plug.
  • Apply green glue, a noiseproofing compound.

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6- Try white noise

Background sounds are helpful for filtering out annoying noises that cause migraines.

  • Assuming the noise isn’t deafening, try installing a window-unit air conditioner, or keeping a floor fan running.
  • Listen to relaxing music or environmental sounds on your iPod- not only will it shush out noise pollution, but it will also help you relax and recover from a migraine attack more quickly.
  • Purchase a white noise machine.


7- Alert the authorities

This should be one of your last resorts.

  • Go to the police and explain the situation; it may be just the first step in establishing a record of your noise complaints.
  • Explain that you have approached your neighbor many times, and have tried to resolve the problem peacefully, but that he’s still giving you headaches.
  • Call the police during the time that the noise violation occurs.
  • Hopefully, a policeman will knock on his door to investigate, and that will be the end of it.

8- Sue ‘em

This is your ultimate last resort, the thing you’ve been warning him about all along.

  • Understand that you are legally within your rights to file a lawsuit if unlawful noise is causing you pain and suffering (and how else would you describe a migraine?).
  • Going through small claims court, you can easily get monetary damages without the need…or expense of lawyers.
  • To file a cease and desist, you will need to go through civil court.

Please tell us…

Have you successfully dealt with a loud noise that was giving you migraines? Please share your experience.

What are some other peaceful ways of dealing with noisy neighbors?

Do you have any questions or suggestions?  Please leave your comments below.

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Read more about migraines and the law

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How To: Soundproof Your Home

What to Do About a Neighbor’s Noise – FAQs


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