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How to Cope with Noisy Neighbours

Updated on August 23, 2017

Having a Quiet Word? Earplugs? Sound Machines?

Ever moved into a new house and the neighbors were just so loud you lost sleep and never got any peace and quiet when you got home?

Are your walls so thin that you can hear every single conversation your neighbors have?

Ever had to sleep with ear plugs in or fall asleep listening to your headphones?

You can get irrational pretty quickly when you're exhausted and feel like you're paying to share a house with other people and their lives.

I used to rely on earplugs but some neighbors are so noisy and some walls are so thin ear plugs don't do anything to help you sleep.

In this lens I'm going to explore ideas for coping with noisy neighbours.

Picture Above: I never actually needed a glass - I could hear every word without even trying!

My Noisy Neighbour Story

Why I'm a Cowardly Coward when it comes to Neighbour Noise

When I first wrote this page I lived in a small terraced house with paper thin walls. This tiny house was in a small village where by rights everyone should have known everyone else and have been on polite speaking terms.

On one side our neighbours spoke to us, although not often, on the left side (the problem side) the man of the house would occasionally say hello or give us a small smile but the woman wouldn't even look in our direction.

You could hear conversations really easily through the walls, and well... other noises too. Not great when you're trying to get to sleep and your neighbours have just come back from the pub or decided to have a few rowdy friends round.

The woman next door starting working as a police officer about a year after we moved in next door. This made everything worse as she would often work odd shifts and come home noisily in the early hours of the morning.

I remember one night when she came home at 2am and spent the rest of the night talking very loudly to her partner in bed. This was when we first learnt about using a fan to drown out the noise. We also spent the next day turning our bedroom around so that the head of our bed wasn't right against the head of their bed.

I think our neighbours on the left were resentful about new neighbours moving in because of the lack of soundproofing in the walls. They didn't want to have to deal with more noise after a few months' break. They also had a lady with a small dog on the other side of them. This little dog would bark at them whenever they moved. We made friends with the lady with the dog - that was strike 2 against us, I think.

We would sometimes hear the woman on the left shouting and swearing at the dog in the middle of the night when it barked.

Looking back, now that I'm out of that situation, I feel sorry for that couple on the left because they had to deal with noisy neighbours too - a little yappy dog!

We didn't have to deal with constant loud music - that was one good thing I suppose. Although there was that time on Christmas Eve that we had to listen to Christmas Hits all day at top volume!

I got so wound up about the situation at one point that I used to find it hard to go out of the house if I knew she was going to be out there.

I'm sure we made our fair share of noise - after all I do own a sewing machine but I would try to keep the noise down when we first moved in. When we were first there I thought perhaps the neighbours were just letting us know that our noise could be heard but it became pretty obvious that our needs weren't even considered.

It's hard to have a civil conversation with someone about keeping the noise down when they won't even look at you, so I started to look around for other solutions - things that I could do to make the situation liveable.

Basically, this is a page for all you introverts out there or people living in dangerous neighbourhoods - those of you who don't feel strong enough to tackle the problem head on.

The Problem

So what's the big deal? Why don't you just go round there and tell them to keep it down?

Are You Kidding Me?

Talking to my neighbours was not an option I ever considered back when I lived next to them. I think if I had tried to talk to them they would have just ignored me and carried on as they were. I know some people would think I was crazy for not even trying but I'm not a social butterfly anyway. I find it hard to talk to people I don't know well even when they're nice!

I'm pretty sure that the kind of people who make unreasonable amounts of noise either know they're doing it and upsetting people and they're doing it on purpose or they couldn't care less about how you feel about it. I think my neighbours were the types who had bought a house and thought that because they owned their place they were entitled to do whatever they wanted whether it was bothering someone else or not.

My view on life is that if you have a problem then you have to fix it yourself, you have to rely on yourself. Yeah, you shouldn't have to but life isn't fair. So I started brainstorming the things I could do to make living in that house more bearable.

Oh, and by the way, in the UK the procedure for dealing with noisy neighbours when I had this problem was to contact the council and involve a "mediator" who would get you all together and talk - something that I felt, rightly or wrongly, would be excruciating and pointless.

Solutions?

The "solutions" I came up with fell into the categories Silence and Sound. Either I could block out my noisy neighbours or I could mask their noise with more noise.

Silence

Blocking out the Noise

One of the first answers I came up with was trying to block out the noise.

I went straight for my ear plugs.

There are cons to the blocking out noise:

Your ears can hurt after a while when they're got ear plus squished inside them or they're covered over with headphones.

You can miss important phone calls and the doorbell ringing.

You don't get to enjoy the radio or TV.

The Pros of creating your own silence include:

Not passing more noise on further down the terrace!

Ear Plugs

Flents Quiet Please Ear Plugs (50 Pair)
Flents Quiet Please Ear Plugs (50 Pair)

This is what we started using- good old fashioned earplugs but some sound still gets through them.

They're good for blocking out noise from the street but not so good at blocking out conversations through the walls or the sound of neighbours playing darts against your wall!

I'm a bit paranoid that using these is going to give me some kind of ear infection as well.

 

Ear Defenders

3M Peltor Optime 105 Over the Head Earmuff, Ear Protectors, Hearing Protection, NRR 30 dB
3M Peltor Optime 105 Over the Head Earmuff, Ear Protectors, Hearing Protection, NRR 30 dB

These might work but you'll only be able to lie on your back at night and your ears might get all crushed!

 

Sound

Creating a Noise "Cover"

I soon discovered in my situation that ear plugs weren't enough, I needed some sort of noise "disruption" - a steady constant sound that I could fall asleep to.

I present the humble desk fan.

The cons of making your own noise:

I've heard that having fans on constantly can affect your hearing but I don't know if this is true. My hearing is not great but I did listen to a lot of Nu-Metal at high volume on my personal CD player when I was in my 20s.

In Winter it's not pleasant to have cold air blowing at you all night.

Your electric bill is not going to be pretty.

The Pros of a steady droning sound:

You can finally fall asleep.

In Summer a fan keeps you cool.

Fans

Honeywell HFT114B Oscillating Super-Turbo High-Performance 3-Speed Fan
Honeywell HFT114B Oscillating Super-Turbo High-Performance 3-Speed Fan

We never really considered using our fan to block out sound from next door but it really helped having something in the room that was making a constant sound. During the day we have our computers on and the fans in those realy help mask noise. The only problem is that our house gets so cold in winter that we have to find a solution for the winter months.

 

Sound Therapy System

Homedics Nature Sounds Therapy Relaxation System
Homedics Nature Sounds Therapy Relaxation System

We're thinking about getting one of these sound machines.

This one has 6 digitally recorded nature sounds: Ocean Surf, Stream, Rain, White Noise, Summer Night and Wind

You can get new sounds for it.

It has 4 settings:continuous, 30, 60 or 90 min.

 

White Noise Machine

Marpac Dohm-DS All-Natural White Noise Sound Machine, Tan
Marpac Dohm-DS All-Natural White Noise Sound Machine, Tan

This white noise sound machine just makes the noise of rushing air (the same effect as our fan).

 

What Do You Think?

Silence vs Sound: Which is better for drowning out Noisy Neighbours?

What's Your Top Way To Deal With Noisy Neighbours?

See results

What Do You Think?

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    • profile image

      Armand Milieu 2 years ago

      Thank you very much for your page.

      My problem is that I do not want to talk to my neighbours about their problem because they are alcohol and drug addicts of the worst kind. I feel I cannot manage the situation by myself and am afraid of their unpredictable reactions. This feeling is made worse by the fact that not all their noises are the result of loud music: sometimes they have arguments with other drug users who come there to purchase stuff amd other times I heard the noises of drunkards with a tendency to violence, very easy to upset. The worst part is that I do not want to call the authorities because I do not want to be labelled by them as the one who calls the police: otherwise, next time they get busted for something else, they might think I am the only source of their issues with the law.

      This is very stressful, although I remember months in which it was impossible to hear a sound.

      Sometimes I wish they disappeared from earth... I wish they have an overdose or some other criminal comes to shoot them down. And all these unhealthy thoughts make me feel unhappy with myself, because, as it is said, you should never hope for somenody to come to harm. I would never act, but cannot help the idea I have completely dehumanized those people, and this really makes me feel sick.

    • profile image

      waynewilli2 3 years ago

      If you have one, try painting your dividing fence with creosote. It stinks for months and forces the noisy neighbours to close their windows reducing sound emissions. It is a great wood preservative and the black finish looks great. It is a mixture of used oil and diesel. By re-using it you are being a bit green so that is the reason to paint it. The wind predominantly blowing in their direction is best. willicando

    • profile image

      suzieharvey 3 years ago

      Do you have a neighbor who you want to love, but just can't because they are impossible to live next to? Do their kids tear out your plants? Their dogs mess up your lawn? They play the music too loud? They walk outside in their underwear? We are looking for FUN sets of neighbors who have living differences and would like Steve Harvey's help hashing it out! - suzie.munson at steveharveytv.com

    • PromptWriter profile image

      Moe Wood 3 years ago from Eastern Ontario

      We live on a really quiet street with mostly seniors for the last ten years. Last year a young family moved next door. While I think it's great the kids play outside. The hockey stick and ball against their garage door gets on my nerves after awhile so much so I pray for rain. LOL. It's just one of those things. Doesn't bother my husband at all.

    • Arachnea profile image

      Tanya Jones 3 years ago from Texas USA

      This is a great idea. I live in an apt and find that having the heater going in winter or the fan on ins summer helps. The neighbors are above, tend to stomp around a lot. White noise works well also.

    • profile image

      TanoCalvenoa 4 years ago

      Another option is moving elsewhere.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I find that a hammer smartly applied to the offending noise machine often works. Respecting all due courtesies of course.

    • profile image

      Pinnsvin 4 years ago

      I lived in a dorm room for a long time and the lack of sleep due to people partying and being noisy until 4 or 5 in the morning actually had bad health consequences. Can't tell you how glad I was when I was able to move into an apartment. It's so quiet here! Love it!

    • profile image

      Select_Air_Beds 4 years ago

      The best way to deal with noisy neighbors, in my opinion, is a good pair of headphones and an ambient noise soundtrack (also available as 'apps' these days). Very relaxing and effective!

    • EndorsedAudio LM profile image

      EndorsedAudio LM 5 years ago

      What if I think I am the noisy neighbor? I always have my sound system up for low volume movies, but then a loud explosion or something else just as loud happens and rattles the windows. How can I muffle sound coming from my apartment out of respect to my neighbors?

    • profile image

      CuriousCraig2 5 years ago

      I had to deal with a lot of this neighbor nonsense in college. Then again, there were times my dorm room or townhouse was pretty loud as well. Great lens!

    • caffimages profile image

      caffimages 5 years ago

      Great lens! You have some good ideas here. You might be interested in my cheap ideas for soundproofing, too.

    • Badbreathguy profile image

      Badbreathguy 5 years ago

      I find white noise very therapeutic.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Woman upstairs says she loves to walk on wood and wont put carpeting even tho she entertaines 4/5 nights a week. I tried talking, a letter but i find that 10,000 watts of surround sounds IS the answer. i play rap, i can HEAR she hates it so....there you go. I've an incredible music collection because of this B...... landlord is useless. you gotta do what you gotta do when all else fails and you DON'T WANT to move.

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 5 years ago

      My study is pretty much sound proof but the problem can be intolerable. Featured on Blessed by Skiesgreen 2012 and also on Why Do Humans Suffer? Hugs

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      My floor is vibrating and I'm trying to study... Also, ear plugs are not effective when I can feel the sound with my feet. FML...

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Intelligent people prefer silence, for their persuits are usually study/reading etc.

    • mihgasper profile image

      Miha Gasper 5 years ago from Ljubljana, Slovenia, EU

      Best option is to live without neighbors.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Glad I don't share walls with neighbors, it sure can be tough especially when you have to hear other people talking.

    • betterhealth lm profile image

      betterhealth lm 5 years ago

      Fascinating lens. I have added a link to it from my related lens, Stop the Noise at http://www.squidoo.com/stop-the-noise .

    • uktvbrackets lm profile image

      uktvbrackets lm 5 years ago

      this is an excellent lens. Nice to see a lens on the subject

    • profile image

      KarenCookieJar 5 years ago

      I hate noise. I don't even listen to the radio or tv while I'm at home on the computer. I just like things quiet.

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 6 years ago

      Oh my ... don't you just hate noisy neighbors? That and other things. Well, I opt for earplugs.

    • profile image

      JoshK47 6 years ago

      Very interesting debate! I like it!

    • TolovajWordsmith profile image

      Tolovaj Publishing House 6 years ago from Ljubljana

      I had a very noisy neighbor who turned the radio every morning so loud my bed throw me up (speakers were right under my bed). We confronted several times and after all neighbor came to me saying I am the noisy one because I had a visit at 8 p.m. and we had a normal talk on the balcony. I think that was a great proof how different our perceptions can be.

    • Paul Ward profile image

      Paul 6 years ago from Liverpool, England

      I told one set of eternally-partying neighbours that I didn't want to call the police because they always did a drugs sweep at noisy parties - that worked quite well for a time :)

    • Rachel Field profile image
      Author

      Rachel Field 6 years ago

      @GabrielaFargasch: Ugh - those sounds like horrible situations. Glad you've finally got some peace. Thanks so much for visiting :)

    • Rachel Field profile image
      Author

      Rachel Field 6 years ago

      @caffimages: Thanks so much and thanks for visiting :)

    • caffimages profile image

      caffimages 6 years ago

      I've lensrolled you back to my soundproofing lens now. I couldn't do it at first because my lens was so new it didn't show on the list.

    • profile image

      GabrielaFargasch 6 years ago

      It seems you were describing my situation a few years ago.... My first ap I had a neighbor who had 5 chihuahua dogs and they would bark the whole night!! I got sleep deprived for almost two years.... Then decided to move out..... (And it was MY apartment....) The second one I had a teenage girl and her mom who would both listen to loud rock music at 1AM!! After suffering for almost two years again I moved out once again.... Now, finally, I have peace! My new condo is very quiet and most residents are elderly! They don not accept dogs! Yes!! Only cats..... I love it!

    • Rachel Field profile image
      Author

      Rachel Field 6 years ago

      @anonymous: Ugh but hooray for a more peaceful 3 years!

    • Rachel Field profile image
      Author

      Rachel Field 6 years ago

      @caffimages: Thanks :D

    • Rachel Field profile image
      Author

      Rachel Field 6 years ago

      @dannystaple: Good plan! Thanks for visiting :D

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      This is so hard, I lived it with sleep depravation for a year from the day and night thumping over my head. People who don't care, just don't care and saying something, even meeting with the building management only made it worse. I finally moved to another apartment and have enjoyed 3 years of silence is golden.

    • caffimages profile image

      caffimages 6 years ago

      Some great ideas on here. I like this lens and the fact you've mananged to put some humour into it.

    • profile image

      dannystaple 6 years ago

      Enjoyed this lens - I've had the noisy neighbours, and even noisy flatmates problem before. Sometimes politely asking will do, sometimes other measures are needed. I find that for a noisy night Owl, an early morning blasting alarm clock left to ring on can be a nice way to drop a hint.

    • Rachel Field profile image
      Author

      Rachel Field 6 years ago

      @nightbear lm: Thanks so much for visiting :D

    • nightbear lm profile image

      nightbear lm 6 years ago

      Great lens, and good point. It has to be dealt with one way or the other. I really enjoyed your lens.

    • Rachel Field profile image
      Author

      Rachel Field 6 years ago

      @KarenHC: Thanks for visiting. A simple fan might even help.

      It's a tough one when barking dogs are involved. Good luck.

    • Rachel Field profile image
      Author

      Rachel Field 6 years ago

      @FlynntheCat1: Thanks for letting me know - will go sort it out.

      Good luck with your new flatmate! :)

    • KarenHC profile image

      Karen 6 years ago from U.S.

      We don't have noisy human neighbors, but a silly labradoodle (labrador poodle mix) next door who barks his fool head off. I'm over-sensitized to his barking, and not sure how to deal with it. Ear plugs sound like a good bet. Or turning our music on loudly :-) Otherwise the dog is a sweetie. Anyway, I enjoyed this lens, and I laughed hard at the "torturing ducks" video!

    • FlynntheCat1 profile image

      FlynntheCat1 6 years ago

      *mutters* I'm about to have a new flatmate move in, and the room is next to mine and you can hear EVERYTHING. I just hope he's single.

      Also your sound therapy system and white noise machine Amazon items are missing.

    • Rachel Field profile image
      Author

      Rachel Field 7 years ago

      @SoyCandleLover: Thanks so much! You are lucky - The next house Ilive in is going to be in the middle of nowhere!! :D

    • SoyCandleLover profile image

      BW Duerr 7 years ago from Henrietta, New York

      It just shows how lucky I am that I don't have loud neighbors so I don't have to address this too often. Great debate and really good focus on an issue that many have to endure. 5 stars and lensrolling to my MonkeyBrains lenses. Thanks!

    • Rachel Field profile image
      Author

      Rachel Field 7 years ago

      @nelabai: Thanks for visiting! :)

    • profile image

      nelabai 7 years ago

      I'm lucky that all my neighbors are elder people :) Great lens 5*

    • Rachel Field profile image
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      Rachel Field 7 years ago

      @anonymous: Wow! Thanks :D

    • Rachel Field profile image
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      Rachel Field 7 years ago

      @KathyMcGraw2: Oh wow, um, this is a late reply from me - thank you so much for visiting Kathy!

      Hmm... now where can I get my hands on a stethoscope... ;)

    • Rachel Field profile image
      Author

      Rachel Field 7 years ago

      @indigoj: Thanks! :D Sorry for the hugely late reply!

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      I think this has to be one of the most original Monkeybrains lens that I have seen. Congrats on the Purple Star.

    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 7 years ago from UK

      Great idea for a lens. So many people seem to have their quality of life reduced my inconsiderate neighbours - it's not fair.

    • KathyMcGraw2 profile image

      Kathy McGraw 8 years ago from California

      Rachel I love that pic of you with the glass, and I'm laughing cuz I actually did that a couple times when I was younger and nosy LOL :) Bad neighbors can ruin a whole neighborhood. Some people don't care, and some don't think of being considerate. I opt for talking, TV's, or fans if it is just kids playing....loud music is another thing.

    • Laniann profile image

      Laniann 8 years ago

      Confronting would be the best, but I would write a note and put it under the door. We have rules and laws were I live - they couldn't get away with that for long. Well done, I hope it gets better for you. 5*s

    • profile image

      bdkz 8 years ago

      Nice!

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 8 years ago

      Our backyard neighbors are pretty rowdy, with two large speakers aimed directly our way and a kid who loves to bounce balls all day long. Sometimes it's just easier to move to the front yard.

    • Rachel Field profile image
      Author

      Rachel Field 8 years ago

      Thanks for commenting Robin and Bambi :D

      Bambi- that sounds awful- tough when it is someone nice too.

      Looking through some of the horror stories I think I'm quite lucky. My problem is just from being in an old house that has been split up with really thin walls. The noise would probably be an acceptable level in a normal well-built house!

    • mysticmama lm profile image

      Bambi Watson 8 years ago

      Very fun, I've always been the noisy neighbor when we were young & fun... now we're old and quiet, lol... but we did have a neighbor who had 4 dogs that barked non-stop, day and night... and we tried everything from bribery to calling Animal control, to reason... thankfully she eventually got evicted... though not because of the dogs, and she was actually really nice and we always got along... but it was still annoying

    • aka-rms profile image

      Robin S 8 years ago from USA

      :) Thankfully I don't have this problem. My neighbors are very quiet. Nice work.