Dealing with loud noisy neighbors.

A 3D picture of lady covering her ears because of loud noise from neighbors

Imagine at the end of a tiring day, you drop into a deep sleep. Suddenly, you are dragged back to consciousness by the barking of neighborhood dogs. You turn over in your bed and hope that the irritating noise will soon cease. But it persists. Over and over again, the dogs yap away. Annoyed, frustrated by sleeplessness, and now wide awake, you wonder how your neighbors can put up with such a racket."

Noise disturbance


People vary greatly in the way they tolerate noise. Airport employees who live near a runway are much less disturbed by aircraft noise than those whose work is unrelated to planes.

The housewife who uses an electric food processor tolerates its noise far better than the person in the next room who is trying to read a book or watch TV.

Two famous scientists, Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone, and Heinrich Hertz, a German physicist, are closely associated with the measurement of sound.

Bels, or more commonly decibels (one tenth of a bel), measure relative loudness, whereas hertz measure the pitch, or frequency, of a sound.

When noise is measured, reports generally refer to the decibel level of the sound.

But who determines how much disturbance a sound causes? You, the hearer! “For nuisance value, the human ear remains the best detector,” notes The Independent.

But what if you live in a next to a very noisy neighbor? Are you condemned to suffer indefinitely? Not necessarily.

How to deal with a noisy neighbor?


With noise so all pervasive, many people simply do not realize when they are causing a disturbance to others.

If they knew, some would no doubt cease the offending activity. It is for this reason that a friendly approach to a noisy neighbor should be the first reaction.

One person became angry over his neighbors’ official complaints that he was noisy. He said:

I would have assumed that they would have come round to see me face-to-face if they were upset with the noise.”

A mother who organized a party for some young children expressed astonishment when confronted by an official investigating a noise complaint.

 “I wish those who made the complaints had knocked on my door and told me if they were unhappy,” she observed.

Little wonder, then, that one environmental health officer was amazed to discover that 80 percent of those complaining about domestic noise have never asked their neighbors to quiet down.

But why are so many people reluctant to speak with a noisy neighbor?

Generally what many people fear is a lack of mutual respect. ‘If I want to play my music, I can.  It’s my right!’ is the response they expect and frequently get.

They are afraid that a kindly suggestion to adjust the volume might lead to confrontation as the noisy neighbor labels their complaint intrusive.

However, much depends on the approach the victim takes even after a failed attempt.

In fact, a weekly magazine offered the following scenario on how to resolve a tense situation after an aggressive complaint that backfired:

A warm and very human: ‘Look, I'm sorry—I blew my top but I get so tired when I can’t sleep’ will probably be all it takes to conciliate [defensive neighbors].” 

Perhaps they will gladly move their amplifying equipment away from the adjoining wall and lower the volume somewhat.

Realistically, it is worth your while to preserve good relations with you neighbors.

Although, some local government authorities or landlords may offer to mediate to the issue, in view of the strong feelings official complaints provokes, calling in an enforcement agent or landlord should be viewed as “an absolute last resort” whenever possible. Why?

Because litigation generally encourages animosity. However when diplomacy fails, legal, or police enforcement could be the only avenue for you to finding your much needed rest from loud noise.

Other things you can do before an amicable solution is reached is to take a look at what you can do to insulate your home from outside noise.

Check the walls and floors to see whether there are any holes that can be filled in. Note especially where electric sockets are located.

Noise also frequently enters a home through doors and windows. Even adding a thin foam strip to your door frame will ensure that the door fits snugly.

You may also consider wearing some kind of ear protection. Earmuffs fit around your head like headphones and are generally effective where noise levels are high.

They have the advantage that you can still hear verbal messages and machine warning signals, although they may make it difficult for you to pinpoint where the sound comes from.

If you choose to use earplugs they need to be the right size for you and are unsuitable if you have an ear disease or irritation of the ear canal.

But when all fails, you may have no choice but to moving to a new dwelling place.

However, to avoid recurrence of the problem it would be prudent you check on possible sources of noise disturbance before you finalize contracts.

Real-estate brokers recommend that you visit your prospective home at different times of the day to check on noise. You could even ask several neighbors for their observations.

This can give you a good indication of the noise levels in this neighborhood. A wise choice will definitely solve your problems with noisy neighbors permanently.

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