This piece explores the hypothesis that if you are constantly hearing neighbors’ voices, it may lead to hearing voices in your head.
How may this happen?
A woman named AA lived in an apartment on level x. Her main door faced two other apartment doors. One day, one of these neighbors stood outside their door, to speak to their visitor. Their conversation in the elevator lobby was heard by AA. She thought this neighbor was targeting her by indirect referencing.
Slowly, she began to hear voices even when there were no people talking in the common space at the elevators. She thought she was hearing voices through the main door of her neighbor’s unit. The voices were different from that neighbor’s voice. In her highly stressed, tensed and anxious states, she forgot to question why the voices she hear were different from her neighbor’s voice. She thought her neighbor changed her tones of voice to represent different facets of her personality.
AA began waking up at 2 am. She started hearing voices even while lying in bed in her bedroom. The voices were talking about her. They wanted somethings from her. They wanted to harm her since she had earlier refused to co-operate with them. She thought the voices conducted through the false ceiling of the apartment level. Or that sound conducted through walls.
AA was disturbed. She prayed daily. But now she increased her frequency and duration of prayer. She could not take care of herself. She stopped cooking for her own food. She ate bread and drank water. Sometimes, she only drank water to quell the pangs of hunger.
AA asked her family members about the voices. None of her family members heard the voices. They had no experience and could not guide her.
AA started planning on moving out of her current leased apartment. She could only find short term leases in serviced apartments which functioned like hotel suites. Her family was reluctant to move but they didn’t know how to help her with her problem of constantly hearing voices.
She heard voices in the temporary suite assigned to her by the rental company.
She ran away by moving to a hotel suite. She heard voices in the hotel suite too. She heard voices in all the public spaces in the hotel. She heard voices while walking along the corridor to reach the elevator. She heard voices in the elevator. She heard them in the restaurant at breakfast. She heard them in the restaurant at lunch.
AA’s husband, BB, said he heard voices talking when he was sitting in the living room. He could hear voices coming from outside the apartment. He thought it was not possible for people to be standing outside the main door and chatting away like there wasn’t a care in the world. He told AA he heard voices coming from the other side the wall beside his bedroom wall. He could hear voices coming from downstairs.
AA started to think about the correlation between hearing neighbors’ voices and the imagination of hearing neighbors’ voices. If a person often heard voices in their surrounding environment, would this lead to the condition of constantly hearing voices, whether real or imaginary? Does this lead to auditory hallucination? Can the occurrence of hearing neighbors’ voices induce auditory hallucination? If you are stressed over hearing voices, then your brain may produce more stress hormones. These stimulate the auditory nerves to create the illusion of hearing sounds.
If the brain produces more stress hormones, then these may over stimulate the auditory nerves to induce the “hearing” of voices, when in reality, there are no voices.
What can you do to stop hearing your neighbors’ voices?
- Shut your wooden doors to offer obstacle to the conduction of sound.
- Buy sound proofing material and stick these onto the inside of glass windows. Shut your windows. The soundproofing helps to reduce the conduction of sounds from outside, into your home. It works both ways. Sounds from your home will also be reduced after conduction through the sound adsorbent material. Consult a soundproofing technician for advice.
- If you wish to leave some windows open for air circulation and ventilation, wear ear plugs. These will will reduce the amount of sound reaching your ear drums.
- Heavy curtains and carpets may absorb a minute quantity of sound, to reduce the amount of sound being conducted out and into your home.