The very idea that you can cope with noisy neighbors is a challenging one. Why should you have to cope with other people making your life difficult? “It’s not fair,” you might think, furious, fuelled on by sleep deprivation. “Why should I have to cope? It’s their fault!”
Of course, it is, but noisy neighbors don’t care about that. The type of people who are willing to make noise to the point of disturbing others fall into two distinct categories:
- Noisy Without Knowing. Some people genuinely don’t know that the noise they are making is translating into other homes. They might have hearing problems (this is particularly true of the elderly) that mean they can’t process the fact that they’re being too loud. Or they just might not know how thin the walls are and that the noise they are making is transmitting.
- Noisy While Knowing. Or as they otherwise should be known: completely terrible people. If you encounter a noisy neighbor who is well aware of how much distress they are causing and then they keep on doing it, then they’re just a terrible person. This type is characterized by those who often will turn music down when asked, only to ratchet up the volume the minute your back is turned.
Dealing with the first category is tricky. Often you will ask and they will be surprised and/or horrified, immediately taking whatever action needed to stop the noise. The second category, however, is far harder – and this is the category where you tend to have to make some changes to your routine to manage the problem.
Bear in mind that, if the problem is chronic and disturbing your sleep, you could report them to the authorities. However, disturbing as the problem is for you, it’s often treated as a low priority – and getting outright awful people to change their behavior is incredibly difficult. So short of moving (where you might just move next to another set of noisy neighbors!), it’s got to be you that changes. So what can you do?
Earplugs are always an option, though many people don’t like to sleep with them in. Conical shapes are the most effective if you can handle them, and make sure you change them or clean them regularly due to ear wax build up. Gross, but it needed saying!
- Sound Machines
If you can’t stand the idea of sleeping with earplugs in, then another option is a sound machine. You can use these to try and cancel out the noise from a neighbor by producing your own white noise, or even something peaceful like the sound of a babbling brook. The best sound machines will give the option for you to choose your own sound and you can even program them to cut off after a certain amount of time, so you’re not wasting electricity.
Lining bushy indoor house plants up against a wall can make a big difference to dampening the sound. This will only work if you share a wall with the offending neighbor, but if you do, it can be surprisingly effective.