My apartment is on the first floor in the back of the building so close to an open-air subway train that I could jump onto the top of a passing train without much trouble. It rattles by and honks at workers on the tracks at all hours. It took me about a week to tune this out, and now I look forward to it at night, as it drowns out other noises.
heavy footfalls (we call my upstairs neighbor “heels” as her signature move is to have all her friends over from 6am-8am on Sunday mornings to get ready for church. Step one is apparently put on clunky heels and move furniture) really set me on edge, I feel like they trigger my fight or flight instinct, as if there might be an intruder in the house. Sudden thumping and tumbling noises are similar. Somehow, these aren’t nearly as bad from next-door as they are from above. Music or the bassy rumbling of dialogue on a TV hooked up to a sound system are also hard to ignore. My brain has trouble ignoring human-made noises.
My wife grew up in cheaply built apartments in NYC and isn’t bothered nearly as much as me by it all. I’m from the woods of Maine. That could have something to do with it.