For most people, homes are safe spaces reserved for rest, hobbies, and recharging. But sometimes, those living near them can disturb their peace and quiet. If you live in an apartment building, you surely know the pain of laying down to take a nap and hearing every word your next-door neighbors are saying. Whether it is because of thin walls or really loud yelling, having noisy neighbors can be truly aggravating.

Luckily, there are things you can do to reduce the noise and make your living situation a lot more comfortable. From improving your insulation to talking to your neighbors, here’s a list of tips and tricks you can take advantage of.

Why Are You Hearing Your Neighbors All the Time?

In most cases, people can hear their next-door or upstairs/downstairs neighbors because of poor insulation. In other words, the insulation in your walls, ceilings, and floors is either too thin or non-existent, so the sound does not encounter too many barriers as it travels.

This phenomenon is quite common in older buildings, as quality materials weren’t as available to construction companies twenty or thirty years ago. Alternatively, the materials were too expensive. And as a result, most buildings from that time have insulation that needs updating.

When you combine these facts with people who talk loudly and aren’t really aware of how far their voice travels, you get a situation just like the one you’re dealing with at the moment. But — however unfortunate that problem is — there are quite a few solutions that you can opt for.

What Can You Do About Your Noisy Neighbors?

1. Talk to Your Neighbors

Although this solution is the most logical one, not many people actually think to try it. Usually, they are either too embarrassed to approach their neighbors or scared that doing so will only escalate the situation.

However, trying to compromise and come to a solution that suits everyone is the first step you should take when dealing with loud neighbors. For one, the neighbors might not even realize that they are making too much noise. And even if they are, they might not understand that you can hear them and that it bothers you.

Thus, talking to them is the best way to let them know. Otherwise, they will think everything is alright and won’t think twice about being loud in their homes.

So, swallow your pride, insecurities, and fears. Take a deep breath, and approach your neighbors in a calm and friendly manner. Then, explain that the noise they are making is bothering you, preventing you from getting enough rest or getting work done.

Talking in a friendly way and looking for compromises are essential. You cannot expect your neighbors to just stop making noise altogether. After all, they still have the right to live comfortably in their own home.

Also, don’t try to revenge on your neighbors, that never ends up well. You should rather come up with quiet times when both of you have to be silent and let the other one rest, work, or just enjoy their peace and quiet. In addition, try to agree to keep your voices down as much as you can since your walls are so thin.

2. Invest in Noise-Canceling Gear

Of course, sometimes talking to your neighbor isn’t enough. Even if they agree with you and try to respect the new rules and boundaries you’ve settled on, you still might be able to hear them anyway.

In that case, you can buy some gadgets and gear to make your life easier and quieter. From noise-canceling headphones to plain earplugs, you can try a wide range of options.

If you are on a tight budget, you can purchase some earplugs for as little as $5. They will keep out all the noise as you sleep without causing any discomfort or disturbing your rest. You can also wear them during the day, although it might initially feel a bit uncomfortable.

On the other hand, you can invest in a pair of quality noise-canceling headphones if you are able to splurge a little. The prices of available models really vary, so you can find headphones ranging from $35 to over $100. They should all be able to do the job well, but it’s best to find a pair you like that is neither too expensive nor too cheap.

These headphones will keep all outside noise at bay and help you read, work, or simply go about your day in peace. However, they are uncomfortable to sleep in, so you will need regular earplugs for the night.

3. Soundproofing Options You Can Consider

In case noise-canceling headphones and earplugs just aren’t cutting it, you can also think about more permanent soundproofing solutions. If you own the apartment you live in, you have a lot more options to think about. These include soundproofing your walls by installing a new layer of drywall or using mass-loaded vinyl.

But if you rent the place, you probably won’t be able to make any permanent changes. Still, in such a case, you can rearrange the furniture, hang paintings, or install sound panels or acoustic foam.

Whether your apartment is owned or rented, here are all the solutions you can use to make it quieter and more peaceful.

Rearrange Your Furniture

Though it might not seem like too simple a solution, rearranging your furniture can actually do a lot to prevent your neighbor’s noise from reaching you. However, you must do it right to get the best results.

In this case, it is essential to focus on the walls you share with your neighbors. Those walls allow excess noise to reach you because they are too thin or bare. So, if you want to stop the noise from coming through, you will need to place your furniture against those walls strategically.

It would be best to move something large — a closet or a huge bookshelf — and put it right against the wall to block as much of the nose as possible. If you do so, the noise coming from your neighbors will have to pass through several layers to reach you. That will, in turn, weaken it, so you won’t be able to hear it as loudly.

If you do use a closet or bookshelf, it is essential to fill them to the brim. That will make the noise even less likely to reach you, making your apartment quieter.

Hang Paintings

This option is similar to the first one. It is a good solution if your apartment is small and you don’t really have large closets, cabinets, or bookshelves to place against the shared wall.

As you can already guess, all you need are paintings which you have to hang on the wall. Besides paintings, you can also use framed photos or anything else you like. As long as it looks good and doesn’t dull down the room, you can try it.

Now, you should note that paintings will not weaken the noise as much as bulky furniture. Still, they will provide another layer for the noise to break through, which is always welcome.

You can also combine paintings or framed photos with smaller furniture such as drawers, a table, a small cabinet, or anything else you can move around. Together, they will provide the insulation you need to enjoy your home truly.

Invest in Acoustic Panels

As their name suggests, acoustic panels are made to absorb and dampen sound. Most models consist of a wooden frame covered in fabric (either polyester or silk). Together, the frame and the fabric do a great job of absorbing the majority of noise that reaches them.

These panels are quite thin, and they resemble paintings. Since many manufacturers offer many customization options, a lot of people use the panels as home decor as well.

However, you should not focus on the panels’ appearance when shopping. Instead, you look at the thickness. Seeing as you want to block out the sounds coming from your neighbors, you will need panels at least 2 inches thick.

This solution is a viable option for tenants and homeowners alike. You can install the panels on the wall and take them off whenever you like. And the best thing is, they won’t damage the walls at all. In other words, you won’t have any problems with your landlord.

Install Acoustic Foam

Generally speaking, acoustic foam works pretty similarly to acoustic panels, but it is easier to apply. However, it also looks slightly less attractive on your wall, which can be a problem if you can’t cover the wall with furniture or paintings.

Mounting the foam on your wall increases its density and air resistance. That, in turn, ensures that sounds take longer to travel through the wall. When the sounds reach you, their amplitude is so much lower they are barely audible.

Acoustic foam is also relatively easy to remove, and it won’t damage your walls at all. Still, it might be best to ask your landlord for approval before installing it if you are a tenant.

Purchase White Noise Machines

Finally, you can also buy a white noise machine. These machines play different sounds at various frequencies, masking neighbors’ and outside noise perfectly.

Now, if you fear that a machine like this would only disturb your peace more, worry not. The machines play realistic sounds — including waves crashing or rain falling — and block everything else that way. Thus, with a machine like this, you’ll be listening to peaceful sounds instead of your neighbors’ incessant talking.

Mass-Loaded Vinyl (MLV)

MLV is a material made of vinyl and tiny metal particles. Each of the two ingredients has a distinct purpose. Namely, the metal absorbs and dampens the sounds, while the vinyl gives the material flexibility.

If you have ever wondered why the inside of your car is so blissfully quiet when your windows are closed, here is your answer. It is actually insulated with MLV, so no noise can go through and reach you.

You can use this material to insulate all parts of your home, from walls and ceilings to floors. However, the material is definitely one of the most expensive options on the list. What’s more, once you apply it to your wall, you cannot remove it without damaging its structure.

Namely, the material adheres to the walls so well that separating them becomes difficult. Thus, removing MLV requires special equipment and has to be followed by repairing the surface of the walls.

Another potential problem is the material’s appearance. Namely, it comes in solid black, which can be an eyesore in a small apartment. However, you can easily disguise it by putting a layer of drywall over it.

Strengthen Your Drywall

Speaking of drywall — you can also block out your neighbors by updating it. You know the drill by now: you need something that will dampen the sound and make it quieter when it reaches you. Another layer of drywall can do that quite nicely.

In fact, this solution is the most effective option on this list. It is also permanent, as you won’t have to worry about noisy neighbors at all after applying it. However, it is also quite expensive, and you definitely can’t do it if you are a tenant.

Besides soundproofing, drywall also has other benefits. For one, it can improve your home’s insulation, making it warmer in the winter and cooler in the spring. In other words, you can save money on power and AC bills all year round.

The Bottom Line

Sometimes, neighbors talk and go about their day so loudly that you cannot concentrate, sleep, or rest in peace. When that happens, your first move should always be to talk with them and try to compromise.

But in case that doesn’t work, you can try out a myriad of other solutions. From investing in noise-canceling equipment to soundproofing your apartment’s walls — your options are endless.

Yours is to determine which solution works best for your budget and living situation and to implement it. Hopefully, this guide helps you get started. Good luck!

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