How to Reduce Bass Noise From Neighbors: Blocking Low Frequencies

Sometimes, the biggest problem of dealing with noise coming from neighbors’ apartments doesn’t come from the volume of the sound, but by the bass. Many people act as though they’d just discovered the bass dial on their speakers, cranking it all the way up.

This can be a serious problem with consequences for both your hearing and your mental health. After all, there are many ways in which bass contributes to the overall noise pollution. In fact, bass may even be one of the biggest culprits responsible for overall noise pollution. If you’re someone who lives in a bigger city, you may already be suffering from its negative effects.

However, most of us still don’t want to go through the hassle of trying to convince our neighbors to be quieter. So, we’re left with thinking of ways to prevent deep bass noise from ever reaching our apartments. In this article, you’ll see a short list of things that will help alleviate this type of outside noise. But first, you can read some more about what bass noise is, and how it reaches your home.

Why Is Low-Frequency Bass Noise So Hard to Stop?

Before you can start implementing ways to get rid of bass noise, you need to understand what it is. Basically, bass is a sort of physical manifestation of sound. It’s a crucial part of the hearing experience, to be sure. Even hard of hearing and deaf people can feel bass as a physical sensation. And since we’re not technically hearing it, getting rid of bass may be a little trickier than just using regular soundproofing techniques.

When soundproofing against higher-frequency sound waves, you’d use materials which are high in mass as well as density. Of course, high-density fabrics are excellent for sound absorption and redistribution. However, high-mass materials completely block sound waves, and even the type of sensation that bass produces. Therefore, when looking for effective bass-blocking materials, you’ll want to stick to something with a lot of mass.

Really low bass frequencies can travel through brick and concrete, which is why you sometimes feel vibrations when a heavy truck passes in front of your building. That sensation is caused by structural noise, which is when a sound is carried through your walls, ceilings, and floors, rather than by air. There’s another article which delves deeper into the differences between airborne and impact noise if you’re curious about that.

But wait! You still need to figure out a way to reduce the level of bass noise reaching your home. Luckily, I’ve compiled this handy list of ways to deal with it right here.

The Best Ways to Reduce Bass Noise From Neighbors

Honestly, getting rid of bass isn’t going to be cheap or easy. So, before you visit your local hardware store or an online retailer site, you really ought to try the simplest solutions.

1. Talk to Your Neighbors

Okay, most people don’t consider talking to their neighbors to be easy. However, if the bass noise is really unbearable, this could be the only way to get some results.

There are a few ways you can go about asking your neighbors to keep it down:

  • Talk to them in person, or call them over the phone.
  • Politely ask your neighbors to lower the volume or bass of their speakers.
  • Ask them to soundproof their apartment.
  • Notify your building management and have them interact with your neighbors.

If you decide to talk to your neighbors yourself, whether it’s in person or over the phone, remember to be polite. Casually introduce yourself and try to be pleasant before broaching the subject.

Ask them to kindly keep it down if their activities or speakers are being too loud. If they’re skeptical, you can offer evidence such as video or audio recordings. It might also be helpful to suggest a compromise, like designating specific “quiet hours” during the day.

Despite your best efforts, some people might not be receptive to these suggestions. If that’s the case, or if you simply don’t want to engage with your neighbors in the first place, calling the building supervisor or landlord would be perfectly understandable as well. In rare cases, you may even have to resort to calling the police. However, it’s always best to try to approach these things with a calm and non-confrontational mindset.

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If your noisy neighbors are open to suggestions, you might even suggest that they soundproof their place with isolation pads. As many soundproofing techniques improve general acoustics of a space, point out that the pads would improve the quality of bass they can hear. Additionally, you could even point your neighbors to some resources, like this article on cheap ways to soundproof a room.

2. Build a Room Inside a Room

This isn’t a joking suggestion. You’ll need to create a separate wall that doesn’t touch the preexisting structure of the room you’re soundproofing. That way, the structural noise passing through the building, like bass frequencies, won’t be able to vibrate through the inner walls. So, they’ll just disperse in the small airspace between two walls.

If you’ve read my guide on soundproofing with drywall, you’ll have noticed that this is fairly similar to what’s happening when resilient channels are installed. They’re basically there to absorb the shock of structural noises. Similarly, the double drywall Green Glue technique from the same article might also be effective here. But, we’ll circle back to this article in the next tip.

Now, you should know that building a room within a room will definitely be a rather expensive project. Not only will you need to buy the materials, but you’ll also have to invest time and effort as well. However, even though it would add more cost on top of everything, you might want to consider hiring a professional team. Additionally, for optimal coverage, you may want to float the floors and drop the ceilings as well.

Homeowner adding insulation to add more mass to his walls.

3. Stop Bass from Traveling Through Walls and Ceilings

As previously mentioned, this step-by-step guide to soundproofing walls covers all of the best soundproofing methods. That article offers plenty of tips that you can use to reduce bass noise.

Much like making a room within a room, this wall soundproofing method requires you to invest time, effort, and money. You’ll start by stripping the walls down to the studs, or the wooden frame under the drywall. Then, you’ll want to make note of all of the dimensions and places you’ll need to watch out for while you work, such as power boxes and electrical outlets. Doing this will ensure that you’re buying the correct amount of the materials you’ll need.

After you’ve rounded up all of the materials and equipment you’ll need to soundproof the room, you can get to work. Stuffing soundproofing insulation in between the studs and installing Mass Loaded Vinyl on top should get rid of a lot of airborne sound passing through your walls. However, we know that only high-mass materials can effectively block bass noises. That’s why installing MLV over the studs and insulation works so well.

If you also install resilient channels and two layers of soundproof drywall with Green Glue in between, you’ll create an air gap between the studs and your walls which will help the noise disperse. In addition, applying acoustic caulk around the corners of your room will also ensure that it’s air-tight. Still, if you have to choose between just a few of these steps, you should use MLV and resilient channels.

The best part of this soundproofing method is that you can use most steps on your ceilings, as well.

4. Soundproof the Floor

Aside from floating your floor, there are many methods of soundproofing your floors. In this article on cheap DIY ways to soundproof a floor, I listed many ways it can be done. Covering as much of the floor as possible with thick, dense carpets will absorb airborne and impact sounds. However, more professional methods include placing rubber floor mats and MLV under the carpeting as well. And indeed, you may have another excellent deadening mat already – in the form of your foam yoga mat.

Still, if you want to implement the best possible soundproofing method, you’ll need to take your floor apart. After you reach the subfloor, you’ll want to lay down an underlayment — the above article has an excellent recommendation for you — then lay down two layers of plywood with Green Glue in between.

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Once you’re done, you can put your hardwood floors back over everything. All of these methods should create a high-mass barrier between you and the source of the bass noise.

5. Use White Noise to Drown Out Some of the Bass Sounds

White noise is an excellent tool for blocking noises of all frequencies, including low-frequency bass sounds. That’s because white noise is actually an amalgamation of all humanly detectable frequencies, from 20 to 20,000 Hz. Even though the human perception of bass is more tactile than auditory, bass noise is still just a sound frequency. So, white noise machines should be pretty good for dealing with them.

However, I should say that white noise machines won’t completely get rid of all of the sensory elements of bass noise. Still, if you’d like to read more about white noise in general, and white noise fans in particular, I recently posted an article featuring the best white noise fans for drowning out noise, as well. Even if white noise devices don’t get you the bass-blocking results you’d hoped for, they’ll at least help you sleep and even concentrate better.

If you’re interested in white noise machines that can make more than one sound, you can read reviews of the best white noise machines. Even though that article was written with offices in mind, many of those machines can also play other non-looping sounds, like nature and ambient sounds. That could be a more pleasant alternative if you’re someone who gets easily annoyed by white noise.

Noise cancelling headphones

6. Block Bass with Headphones or Earmuffs

The final tip for dealing with bass noises is to get yourself some headphones or noise-canceling earbuds. You may already know that you can use these products to improve your sleep. In fact, if you’ve been following my articles for a while, you’ll know that I’ve even written about using earmuffs while you sleep. However, did you know that they could also help you keep your cool when your neighbors are blasting bass-heavy music?

Both types of noise-canceling products can be of some assistance to you. Of course, typically, earmuffs are more often specifically designed to be noise-canceling. On the other hand, earbuds and headphones more often have the added bonus of blocking outside noise, while also playing music.

As you can see, many of the products in my previous articles focused closely on the importance of silence during sleep. But if the bass is shaking your walls during the day, you’ll be able to use any noise-blocking product, and not just the ones I recommended for comfort. So, you’ll be able to broaden your search outside of products made for sleeping.

Noise-Canceling Devices
for Sleeping

Never Hear that Bass Drop Again

This time around, the most important and effective tips for getting rid of low-frequency noises were presented at the beginning of the list. After all, most people don’t actually want to be the annoying loud neighbor. Your neighbor might not even realize how loud they’re being. That’s why talking to them might be the best option.

However, you may not be able to resolve the matter peacefully. Alternatively, your neighbor could be unwilling or unable to implement soundproofing measures. If that’s the case, separating the inner drywall from the structure of the building is the next best thing. Just remember to do the same with the floor and ceiling, if you want the best bass-blocking.

And, if for some reason you can’t change the layout of your apartment, you can always try some of the less permanent solutions, like white noise or earmuffs.


27 thoughts on “How to Reduce Bass Noise From Neighbors: Blocking Low Frequencies”

  1. I know how you all feel. I live in a rural area with a thug just down the road. He plays Bass at 200 hertz which not many people can hear, but when I’m in bed and my right ear touches my Pillow all I hear or Feel is THUMP THUMP THUMP. I can’t hear it in my left ear and my wife can’t hear it at all. Like someone else said the Sheriff’s deputys say they can’t hear it and won’t do anything.
    Is there any way I can afford to RECORD these vibrations to prove its happening. Then we might could get the law to do something. I’M 70 years old
    And this has been going on for months . This young Thug is doing this to get back at me for calling the law which was a waste of time. It’s killing me.
    Please Help

    1. Sorry to hear (no pun intended).

      I feel for you having experienced this for a year and having to move house. I found wearing ear plugs with sound cancelling headphones over the top, playing brown noise (747 aircraft sounds) was the best way to get some sleep.

  2. HOW do I do this!? I live upstairs and the idiot below me is the menace. He owns his condo as do I. How do I blast bass back? I’m sorry for being so naive. I don’t even have a radio, let alone a stereo or sound system. But I will buy one if I knew a compact POWERFUL one to buy. I don’t think this is the answer but it may be cathartic. On another note, is there a way to block his signal? I need help! Thx.

  3. I had a neighbor who would use her CAR as a stereo. She would play loud ghetto bass music and turn it all the way up so she could hear it while she was INSIDE HER HOUSE. The cops were useless. I called them at least 2-3 times a week and they would go and talk to her, but she would just turn her music on again once they left. The police suggested that I simply move homes, as if that was so easy. I endured this for about 9 months, when she finally moved away (apparently she was renting). Finally, SOME peace… however… I developed misophonia, an anxiety disorder, panic attacks, major depression. Now every noise throws me into a mental and physical nightmare from the trauma she put me through. I have such a deep hatred for loud people and music now.

  4. I have the same problem, the police have been out here multiple times on the weekends, and stop it at night. The male doesn’t work and he stays home all day every day playing bass. I work from home and we have asked over 10 times, basically every other day to lower the bass. They stop at that time then start up again. Their kids would get in our yard and get into our things. Until she lost custody of them.They put their trash in our trash cans. Their dog never has a leash and runs at our dog. Just really disrespectful. Not the most intelligent of people either.

  5. Well earphones, ear plugs won’t help the vibrations coming from the floor that are making me sick.
    I need a real solution.
    These neighbors of mine they’ve threatened me.
    The cops can’t or won’t help.
    I can’t tear my apartment up, I need something that will block the stereo and the bass.
    Any suggestions?

  6. Folks, if sending a kind letter to the neighbor fails, follow up with a stern warning that you will file a lawsuit to cover the expense of having a contractor soundproof your house, or parts of it. Enclose the estimate. Keep a diary and document the distruptions for 60 days. Be clear that if they don’t come to court you will put a lien on their house. Get them to settle in the mediation room, and get the judge to sign the consent order. I expect it would be cheaper for them to just stop basting music than to take a day off work and explain why their hobby should continue.

  7. I have a long narrow house in a small town across from a rather large cemetery. On the edge of the cemetery is the back of a house where a fellow plays the base loudly for hours. I have called the police. They told me if it stops, call them back. So when he takes a break for about 45 minutes, I am fooled each time again over and over. And so I sit all afternoon inside a drum. It is driving me and my dog and parrot crazy. I cannot afford many of the suggestions I see here. But I would like to write a letter to send to the police department here and the Mayor of the city where I live. I would like to include your article as a reference. So I need to ask how to get permission to share this so I can make copies to include with my letter. I think it might help a lot of people in the neighborhood as well, if these people could be more educated in the matter. And this is a start. A PDF would be appreciated. Thank you!

    1. Dear J,
      Keep a diary and document to noise for 60 days. Then File a lawsuit for the cost to soundroof your home, or part of your home. Get a contractor to estimate the cost, and file suit. Try to get that neighbor into the mediation room and see if you can a consent agreement that they limit the stereo to 1 hour a day or else pay you money to sound proof the house. I think they will make the right decision. If not, get a judgement and put a lien on their property.

      I have similar problem with the house attached to mine. This city has laws stating that noise and vibrations may not pass from outside your home across boundries and into your home. Difficult to prove if it stops and the police can’t witness it.
      So first send a letter threatening to sue, with attached estimate, and failing that, file the lawsuit. Make sure they know that a lein will be placed on their house if they fail to appear in court.

      1. Footnote to above comment: There are sensors (resembing smoke alarms) that landlords and vacation rentals use to detect and document sound levels over say, 80 decibles. It logs the noise and reports to an app on your smartphone. I found a website that did a product review of 5 of these devices, they are abut 120 dollars, if you are a landlord you can place multiple units in hallways and attacks so that excessive noise can be detected and the devices are out of reach.

  8. Thank you for the article!
    I live a few miles from a power plant and I can hear this low deep bass always almost like a deep vibration! I am hoping the tips in your article can help me modify my room so I can sleep more peacefully.

  9. I recently moved out of a place partially because the upstairs neighbor gamed and watched movies loud enough to get bass rumbling through the floor into my room. What do I hear a week after moving into my new place………the occasional(a couple times a minute or so) bass thrum through the neighboring wall. The wall right next to where I relax….(or not anymore)…and use my computer. Moving was stressful and now this is getting me down again. It’s not crazy loud, but it’s there and it is audible over whatever I’m doing. I hate people. I really do.

    1. I live above a Dallas BBQ restaurant in NYC. I hear their bass noise very frequently which drives me crazy. I have talked to them numerous times and it sometimes work and most times don’t. I considered moving but moving is costly. I wonder if anyone has a good method to share on blocking the bass noise from the ears to just get a decent sleep.

      1. I have a similar situation here, my neighbors play bass in the night sometimes. I found that Apple’s Airpod Pro can nearly remove all the bass that they played. It should be due to the Active Noise Cancellation function in the Airpods.

      2. My previous post was removed. Strange! I just want to say that you can try Apple’s Airpod Pro. My neighbors also play bass sometimes and I found that Airpod Pro. nearly removed all the bass. It must be the Airpod pro. not Airpod. It should be due to the activation noise cancellation in Airpod Pro.

        P.S. I am not trying to advertise Apple’s products! And apparently, I have no reason to do that. I just want to let people know that this could be an effective way to have a good sleep without moving.

    2. I feel your hatred towards people. They are sooo disrespectful. I live in what WAS a peaceful residential neighborhood and now the people next door has rented out their house as an Air BNB which the persons renting it technically uses it as a party house. So, everyday, every week is loud noises, shouting, screaming and loud bass. My husband and I are considering moving because it is driving us crazy. Soundproofing is very costly and we have spoken to the owners regarding the noise numerous times but all they care about is the money they are receiving from renting the place. We cannot keep calling the police on them. I am so fed up.
      Initiating a lawsuit in nuisance is also too costly as some neighbors don’t want to get involved.
      I hope humanity ends soon. There is no regard to human life anymore.

  10. I have the same bass problem in a Miami condo. Almost every day at different times but the worst is 6-8pm. I do not want to engage those neighbors, I know the landlord but, long story short, he does not care. My solution is that I have excellent music but out of respect I normally keep it a low volumes. Except when they send me their stupid bass crap I also crank up my amp and drown out their stuff almost completely, while enjoying my own music…
    After a while, it stops!

  11. I agree Jim Bug. I live in a townhome with thug ass people next to me and all i can hear is their shitty base. I rent so i cant build any walls. We have asked the wife nicely and she turns down her music but the husband is a tool, he doesn’t give 2 shits that he’s disturbing us. Sad situation. They arent the type of reasonable people who will respond well to repeated knocking on the door and beggings to turn the music down. Some of us have to worry about retaliation in the real world. If I report them or call the cops they’ll know it’s me and neighbors can make your life a living hell. People are just dicks. Good article though, I’m gonna get some white noise machines ugh.

    1. Hey Jennifer…can I ever relate to the BASS problem. Live in Panama City, Panama and the cops could care less about the noise problems. Bought a new home, beautiful neighborhood and the neighbors are a bunch of hood rats, best description I can find. Its disgusting we have to spend dollar upon dollar because these people could give a crap about their neighbors and the neighborhood. So over the disrespect! I could blast some heavy metal at 0700 and see what their response would be…bet they would not be happy campers with hangovers and all. I’m 57 and have to play childhood games w/people. It never ends!

    1. Basically.
      I’ve also tried many of these ‘remedies’ like white noise machines and whatnot, and they never work because the music is just too loud. I don’t get why people can’t just use headphones/earbuds instead of subjecting an entire building or neighborhood to this shit.

  12. Talk to yr nieghbours about their Bass no they are the type who dont/wont take responsibility..authorities dont/wont take action even tho monitoring equipment picked up on an idling diesel generator (probable grow op set up) the police the council environmental all refuse to take action and dismiss the fact that I have been tortured and sleep deprived for over 4 years 10 years on and off by something very unusual going on next door and my life has been turned inside out and upside down my life has been made a living nightmare by the nieghbours from hell

  13. Thank you so much for addressing this issue. I have had sensitivity issues with bass coming from cars for a number of years. Recently, a neighbor has started to play music with a big bass element outside. I spent most of that day with ear pain and general physical discomfort. This neighbor has caused other issues in the past, so talking to them is not an option. Having an article that I can use to educate city government and police of this issue is greatly appreciated. I am tired of getting stared at as if I am making this up or am crazy.

  14. All good but we should not put up with it. Why do we wear headphones when the one guy disturbs three people.
    He should be stopped by law and if the relationship is affected who cares.
    If the law cannot protect you then you should give him the treatment of his own medicine.

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