Living in close proximity to other people has its perks, such as making new friends and enjoying the occasional barbecue party. However, it often comes with a few frustrations, one of the main ones being noise. You’ve surely had at least one episode with an obnoxious neighbor, whether they were practicing guitar, having a bit too much nightly fun, or just being a heavy-footed person. It is beyond annoying! And when you begin to lose sleep and health over it, it’s time to do something!
While there are no federal laws that deal with loud neighbors, most cities and towns have some kind of regulations that can protect you. But if the noise problem has just started, there are other solutions worth trying before taking legal action. Keep reading to find out what you should do in order to stop worrying about noisy neighbors.
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While talking to your neighbors should be the default option, most people want to avoid direct confrontation. That’s why the following tips revolve around suppressing the noise and learning how to live with it instead of dealing with the source.
Use a White Noise Machine
Tired of your obnoxious neighbors? Perhaps it’s time to make some background noise yourself. You can either get a fan and put it on high or plug in a white noise machine. Not only will that block any annoying sound, but it will also help you calm down whenever you feel anxious about noise. And if you don’t want to spend money on a white noise machine, you can always search for white noise videos on YouTube and play them from your computer or phone instead.
Keep in mind that white noise machines are also reliable sleep aids. So if you ever experience trouble sleeping, make sure to play some white noise to fall into slumber.
Purchase Noise-Canceling Headphones
Investing in a pair of noise-canceling headphones or earbuds can help you ignore your noisy neighbors. You can wear them at all times, even at night, if the noise keeps you awake.
Usually, a good pair of noise-canceling headphones will cost around $100. And if you are on a tight budget, you can always purchase some earplugs instead for a similar result.
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Install Soundproofing Materials for Your Walls
Sadly, many apartments don’t have proper soundproofing systems in place. As a result, soundwaves can pass through walls freely between apartments. But fortunately, you can always soundproof your walls; you just need to get creative.
There are many online retailers that sell sound-absorbing panels you can hang on your walls. And, if you want to avoid spending too much money, you can always wrap some corkboard in fabric and put it all over the wall for a DIY solution. These panels will not only reduce the noise caused by your neighbors, but they can also dampen the sound coming from your own apartment, increasing your privacy. And, depending on which panels you purchase, they can make for great wall decorations.
If you own the apartment you live in, you can always add more layers of sheetrock on top of your walls to reduce the noise further. You can also find special wallboard designed for soundproofing, such as Homasote, that can replace traditional sheetrock.
Seal the Cracks
Soundwaves from impact and airborne noise bounce in the hollow space between your ceiling and your neighbor’s floor. These waves escape through existing gaps in your walls, floor, and ceiling, letting sound into your apartment. To reduce noise transfer, you should use an acoustic sound sealant. But before you use a permanent sealant, you’ll need to request permission from your landlord.
Once approved, you can follow these steps to effectively apply the product:
- Use a damp cloth to wipe away any dust and debris. That way, you create a clean, smooth surface for the sealant to adhere to, limiting the microscopic gaps through which sound waves enter your home.
- Apply the sealant evenly to seal any gaps and crevices you have identified.
- Wipe away any excess sealant using another damp cloth and some soap.
Afterward, let the sealant dry for at least two days before deciding if you need to try other soundproofing strategies.
Soundproof Your Doors
It’s important to understand that not all noise comes through the walls. In fact, most of the time, you’ll notice that sound enters your apartment through doors. But you can always block the noise coming from the hallway by using seals.
All you need to do is add some neoprene seals around the doorjamb edges. Since even small openings around your door can allow noise to pass through, a few acoustic seals will dampen most outside sounds. If you want to go the extra mile, you can install a door bottom that drops neoprene shields between the inside and outside of your apartment whenever you close the door.
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However, make sure to ask your landlord for permission when making any modifications to your door.
Install Acoustic Light Fixtures
Is the noise coming from the ceiling? Then you can install a couple of light fixtures that are designed to cancel out noise. Remember that the more you add, the more you’ll dampen incoming noise.
Using drop-ceiling can also be a reliable solution. However, it tends to be quite expensive and requires your landlord’s approval. Therefore, you should try a versatile solution that you can always take down if needed, such as light fixtures.
Place a Few Sound-Absorbing Rugs
Do you have a tile, wooden, or concrete floor? Placing a couple of rugs and rug pads will dampen the noise and add to your apartment’s overall style. Similar to acoustic light fixtures, increasing the number of rugs will further reduce any unwanted sound coming from underneath your apartment.
But if you are not a huge fan of rugs, you can always fill empty spaces with some furniture.
Soundproof Your Windows
Not every noise that gets into your home is caused by your next-door neighbor. As a matter of fact, it could be coming from the next building. If that’s the case, the noise is entering through the windows. Of course, you can’t completely block the windows without also blocking the light. However, there are a couple of methods you can use to dampen annoying sounds.
The easiest way to do that is to use sealants. Similar to the door, windows have gaps that allow sound to enter your home. By relying on a high-quality sealant, you can fill these crevices, effectively reducing unwanted noise.
You can also get double-paned windows if you can afford to spend a bit more money on a soundproofing project. Thanks to their extra layer of glass, these windows are more likely to block out the sound. Just make sure that you hire a professional when looking to install double-pane windows.
And lastly, you can add a layer of acrylic to your existing windows. Even though this method is expensive, it’s usually cheaper than replacing your windows entirely.
Get Soundproof Curtains
More often than not, soundproofing your floor, ceiling, doors, walls, and windows should be enough to block most of the noise from the neighbors. However, you can step it up a notch and get soundproof curtains. Made out of thick materials, these curtains make it very difficult for sound to pass through. Thus, they offer an extra line of defense against noise that gets past your windows.
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Soundproofing curtains are especially effective for deadening sound at night while also blocking light. Therefore, they help you to have a good night’s sleep, not allowing any distractions to ruin your night. And since they are available in multiple colors and designs, you can find curtains that match the interior design of your home.
Learn Relaxation Techniques
Generally speaking, noisy neighbors can increase your stress levels, which can lead to anxiety in the long run. When that happens, every little sound will become irritating, adding further to your already existing stress. This never-ending cycle is very detrimental to your mental health, so you should find ways to relax.
By creating a self-care routine, you will be able to reduce stress and learn to ignore moderate levels of noise. Think of activities that make you happy, such as having a treat, taking a bubble bath, or watching your favorite TV show. You can also meditate once a day for at least five minutes. That will improve your ability to focus and ignore external disturbances. Don’t forget that the less stressed you are, the less you’ll worry about noise.
Exercising is another great way to reduce stress. Plus, if you start going to a nearby gym, you’ll have an excuse to leave your home and get away from your noisy neighbors.
Go for a Walk
If you can’t take the noise anymore but still don’t want to talk with your neighbors, you should try going for a walk. Head to a local park to relax and clear your head. Or maybe visit a shop and spend your day looking for soundproofing materials. With a bit of luck, the noise will stop while you’re out, so once you get home, you’ll be able to enjoy the rest of your day without disruptions.
Working from home during noisy periods? In that case, consider going to work from a shared workspace or a coffee shop instead. That way, you will be able to focus and finish your projects while also meeting new people and building connections. So it’s a win-win situation!
Legal and Verbal Solutions
Sometimes, the noise can be so overwhelming that no soundproofing method will reduce it to an acceptable level. If that happens, you should take a hands-on approach by checking with your neighbors, talking with your landlord, or filing a police report.
Talk With Your Neighbors
Having a chat with your noisy neighbors can solve the problem almost instantly. There’s a high chance that your neighbors don’t realize just how loud they are. If that’s the case, they will take active steps to reduce the noise after being talked to.
When approaching your neighbors, make sure to be as polite and civil as possible, even if you are very frustrated. You could say something along the lines of, “Hey, I live in the apartment next to you, and sometimes you are being too loud. Can you please keep it down after 10 PM, so I can get some sleep? Thank you!”
You can also write your neighbors a letter if you want to avoid talking to them. While it may seem formal, a letter is a clear and effective way of communicating your complaint in the least aggressive way possible. As with talking, you’ll need to be polite and factual, stating your intention and requirements. And don’t forget to keep a copy of your letter as part of a written record in case you need to escalate the issue.
It’s true that confronting your neighbors can be nerve-wracking. However, doing it will help ease your worries regarding noise and hopefully solve the problem entirely.
Contact Your Landlord or Building Manager
Let’s be honest — some neighbors can be extremely stubborn and won’t care about other people’s comfort. The next step you can take is to contact your landlord or building manager and explain the situation. Make sure to mention that you’ve talked to your neighbors and that they’ve ignored your concerns.
Usually, the landlord or building manager will send noisy neighbors an official warning that should put an end to your problem or even start an eviction process.
Call the Police
If the landlord or building manager can’t convince your neighbors to quieten down, you could escalate the situation further. Most cities have noise ordinances, meaning that it’s illegal to be loud after a specific hour, usually 9 or 10 PM. So next time your neighbors are being loud, call the non-emergency line and report a disturbance. That will prompt a police officer to show up and warn them about their noise levels.
It’s important to note that calling the police can sometimes backfire. Not only will it lower other neighbors’ opinions of you, but it can also encourage the responsible party to take revenge. Therefore, you should only use this tactic as a last resort.
To Sum It Up
Living with noisy neighbors can be very exhausting, especially when working from home. However, there are many steps you can take to ensure you have a noise-free environment. You can rely on covering the noise with a sound of your choosing or soundproofing your home using one of the previously mentioned methods.
And if none of them work, you can always have a chat with your neighbors or landlord and hope that the situation will change for the better.
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