How to Stop Worrying About Noisy Neighbours

a semi detached house

Last updated: July 6, 2022 at 8:00 am

One of the places where we need to feel relaxed and peaceful is in our home. That’s why it is so stressful when that peace is disturbed. Temporary disturbances like local building works or a nearby event are bad enough. When the noise is called by your neighbour, though, it’s more distressing. With no endpoint, it can leave you feeling very helpless.

If you’ve suffered through unwanted noise from your neighbours in the past, you might still be anxious even after the problem ends. You start to worry that a new neighbour could move in and be noisy again.

So, let’s look at what you can do if you have a noisy neighbour now or have had one in the past.

How to Stop Worrying About Noisy Neighbours

Unless the noise problems are resolved immediately, it may likely take a while for peace to be restored to your home. These steps are to help you remain calm and anxiety-free while this is happening.

1. Practice Relaxation

There are lots of options, so try one that works for you. Possibilities include yoga, mindfulness, meditation, and tai chi. Even if your home isn’t the most peaceful place, there will be plenty of classes available in your local area.

You might need to try several different classes and methods of relaxation before you find the one that works best for you.

2. Leave

It’s obvious but get out of the house for a while when possible. If you know that Saturdays are particularly noisy, try and make plans to be away for some of the day. Go for a soothing walk-in nature, go for a coffee and gossip with a friend, or take up a new activity. Of course, you shouldn’t be forced to leave your home, but this is about making the best decisions for your mental health while the noise problem is being resolved.

If you have the spare cash, you could even go away for a few days. You and your partner could go for a romantic getaway, you could have a girls/boys’ weekend, or you could visit a family member. If the noise is really driving you mad, you could look for bargains online and occasionally stay in a hotel for a night.

3. Exercise

When we get stressed, our bodies produce the hormone cortisol. High cortisol levels are not good for us, so it’s important to get rid of it. However, the only way you can do this is to do some form of physical activity. It doesn’t matter what you do if you’re active.

For example, you could go for a walk or hike, hit the gym, do a dance class, or learn to play tennis. If you’re feeling angry as well as stressed, you could combat both by taking up a martial art. An hour of punching and kicking will lower your cortisol and anger levels.

General Tips to Reduce or Eliminate the Noise

1. Talk to Your Neighbours

It’s obvious but important. Although it might seem unbelievable that anyone can be unaware of how much noise they’re making, some people are. This is particularly true if they have a young baby or lots of pets. Even if they are aware of the problem, if you need to act via their landlord, environmental health, or even the police, proof that you’ve tried to handle it yourself is essential.

Please do not speak to them when the noise is in full flood, and you’re stressed and angry. It’s more likely to end in an argument, and you could make the problem worse. Instead, invite them over for coffee and cake if you usually have a good relationship with them.

If not, go round at a quiet time and discuss the situation as calmly as possible. Make your neighbours aware of how much noise you can hear. If the noise is caused by something like music, you can invite them to come into your house and listen to the volume. Try to reach an agreement about acceptable noise levels and what time the noise needs to end.

2. Add Soft Furnishings

When it comes to absorbing sound in the home, soft furnishings are a great help. If the noise you can hear isn’t deafening, then adding extra mass may reduce it to the point where it’s manageable. Consider adding thick rugs, heavy curtains and even throws or soundproof blankets on the wall.

If you have the wall space, a good solid bookcase with lots of books can block a lot of sounds too.

3. Seal Up the Cracks

Even small cracks and gaps can let a lot of sound into your home. So, seal up any cracks in the walls, particularly those that border your neighbour’s home. Any filler or caulking will work, but there is acoustic caulking, too, if you want to improve the effect.

Use an acoustic sealant to seal any gaps around the windows too. The more holes you seal, the less noise you’ll be able to hear. Remember to be thorough!

4. Buy Noise Cancelling Headphones or Ear Plugs

If you like to sit quietly and read or work from home, investing in a good pair of noise cancelling headphones will make life easier while finding a permanent solution. Depending on the brand, the headphones can block anywhere from 15-30 dB, which will make a massive difference.

If you get a comfortable pair, you could even wear them when falling asleep, or alternatively, you could wear earplugs to make it quiet enough for you to drop off.

5. Try a White Noise Machine

White noise is a sound that includes equal amounts of all the frequencies in the spectrum of sound we can hear. Fans of white noise sometimes liken it to the sound from an untuned tv or radio. Because it spans all frequencies, white noise machines are excellent at blocking out other types of sound.

You can play it anywhere in your home when you are looking for peace and quiet. It is normally used in the bedroom, though and is even thought to improve the quality of sleep even in homes where excessive noise is not an issue.

If you’re wary of spending money before knowing what white noise sounds like, you can find white noise clips on YouTube and play them on your phone, tablet, or laptop.

6. Rearrange Your Room or Switch Rooms

If your neighbour is causing you problems in the rooms that join onto their house, then rearranging your rooms or moving your main living spaces to the other side of the house can make a big difference.

For example, if your sofa or bed is placed against the adjoining wall, moving it to the opposite wall might make the noise a lot more bearable. Again, if your bedroom has lots of hard floors and a wooden bed frame, consider adding quilts, rugs, and curtains to absorb more sound.

If the room is too noisy regardless of where your furniture is placed, then think about whether you could move to the other side of the house.

This is more likely to be an option with the bedroom as most homes have more than one. You may have less room but getting a good night’s sleep would still be worth it. Fewer homes have multiple reception rooms, but if you’re lucky enough to have a dining room or the kids’ playroom on the other side of your home, then moving the living room would allow you to enjoy peace again.

If there is a kids’ playroom on the other side of your house, this is an even better idea. Tit for tat isn’t always a great plan as it can escalate but sending your kids to play there allows your neighbours to understand how annoying unwanted sound can be!

7. Speak to Their Landlord

If your neighbours rent their home and you’re having no luck getting them to be more considerate, try talking to their landlord. If they are in social housing, then you can contact their housing association.

Otherwise, you can try to find out who their landlord is and speak to them directly. Most landlords don’t want problems with neighbours, especially those that could lead to legal proceedings. As their tenants, your neighbours are more likely to listen to orders from them to keep it down as they don’t want to risk eviction.

8. Speak to Environmental Health

If all other options fail, you can contact the environmental health department at your local council. Find your local council here. They have the power to take legal action against people making noise in violation of the Noise Act (2006). It won’t be a quick process.

You’ll probably need to keep a diary of the times and dates the noise is excessive, what type of noise it is, how long it lasts, and any steps you’ve taken to resolve the issue.

They will also need to measure the sound using professional equipment to get a decibel reading. Once that’s done, though, they can issue noise abatement orders and take other actions against your neighbours.

Conclusion

Intrusive noise in your home can be upsetting and can cause a lot of stress. There are solutions, though, so consider your options carefully and choose the best one for you. Whatever you choose to do, make sure you take time to relax and prevent yourself from becoming too stressed.

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About the Author: AJ

AJ is a self-confessed soundproofing nut. He has written full-time on Quiet Living for the past 3 years, and has a wealth of knowledge about living a quieter life, soundproofing and fixing loud noises.

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