What to Do When You Can Hear Your Neighbors

One good thing about living in an apartment is that when things go bump in the night, it’s probably just your neighbor walking around, and not a deranged killer wearing a William Shatner mask and brandishing a butcher knife. Of course, one bad thing about living in an apartment is that when things go bump in the night, it’s your neighbor walking around.

Hearing your neighbors’ TV, music, arguments, whatever, is one of the worst parts of living in an apartment. Developers, take note: People would probably trade the luxury amenities in your building just for thicker walls. This is an area you should not take the cheap route—pay for the thick insulation! People will complain about many things, but I guarantee you’ll never hear someone say “Loved the granite countertops, but wish I could have heard my neighbors watching Happy Days reruns at 3 a.m.”

Listen to the crying baby or take my chances with the masked murderer? Wait, I'm thinking about it...

As for renters, if you’re living in a building where you can hear your neighbors, and you’re getting to the point where you’re going to take a broom handle to the ceiling if you hear them walking around in the morning one more time, or you’re considering calling the Goblin King from Labyrinth to kidnap that colicky baby (David Bowie isn’t doing much these days, right?), here are some tips to reduce some of the noise and get some peace and quiet in your home.

Talk to your neighbors. It’s possible they just fell asleep with their TV on and didn’t realize you could hear it, and they’ll agree to put it on a sleep timer or something. Or they’ll try to keep their arguments down. Or they’ll agree to only have jackhammer races during work hours when you’re out of the apartment. Just be nice about it. Go in apologetically, not accusatory, or people will get defensive. And once they get defensive, they could decide to host their entire Irish step dancing troupe in their apartment instead of just practicing on their own. Spite can be a very powerful incentive.

Talk to your property manager. Maybe your property manager could add some insulation to your walls to make it quieter. And sure, you could also tell on your neighbors, because maybe the property manager has gotten complaints about them from other people and can say something. But, most likely, they’ll tell him they’ll stop and then go right back to what they’re doing when he leaves. And they’ll totally know it was you who told on them.

Buy a white noise machine. That should be able to help drown out a lot of outside noise. Ooh, and get one that has one of those nature sound effect functions. Because when I think relaxing, I totally think “whale mating calls.”

Put carpet down on your floors and add more furniture to your apartment. This should soak up some of the noise. And it will give you an excuse to redecorate. Plus, when you drag the couch back and forth in your apartment to try to figure out the best place for it, it’ll be payback for when your neighbors were yelling at each other all night that one time.

Put your hands over your ears and rock in the fetal position. Works for me!

What are some other methods to drown out noise from your neighbors that leaks into your apartment?

-Jessica Fiur, News Editor