Very few of us have been fortunate enough to not suffer from the case of loud neighbors who have no respect for people around them and keep playing loud music to their heart’s content at all hours of the day and night. Sounds like a true nightmare right? The question is how to deal with a neighbor blasting music that can be heard from the confines of your room.
If you live in a house, you can still hope for them to reduce the volume of the music and be done with it but living in an apartment, and sharing a wall with a noisy neighbor has got to be one of the most stressful experiences ever.
Before the noise makes you lose your calm and you go banging on your neighbor’s door to make them stop the loud music, consider these other better options before you.
15 Ways to Stop Neighbor’s Loud Music
Here are few ways you can deal with loud music being blasted by your neighbors:
Talk to the noisy neighbors
It is not easy or your responsibility to deal with neighbor’s loud music but it is worth a try before you take more drastic measures. If you are lucky then you may find that your neighbors have no idea that their music is a disturbance to you and by doing this you can politely resolve the matter.
If however, they refuse to turn down their music then you would have at least tried to resolve it without getting a third party involved.
Get a Copy of your Local Noise Regulations
If you have already tried talking politely and yet can’t get neighbors to stop playing loud music then you should consider taking the legal route. Before you contact the authorities directly, make sure to read up on the noise laws of the area you are living in.
While countries have laws for noise complaints, most areas have their own set of ordinances enforceable by the local authorities. Make sure to read up on them and note down which points of the noise laws have your neighbors been violating. This will help you make your case better.
Record Video Evidence
At this point, we can safely assume that you have a mind to report your neighbors to concerned authorities. And the best way to prove your case is to film the offense while it is happening.
Get your phone and record the sound coming, measure the loudness using a decibel meter and record this on the video and, if possible show the source of the sound. If you wish to also record yourself trying to talk your neighbors into lowering the volume, then make sure you have your neighbor’s express permission to film their face or property.
Give a Written Warning to Your Neighbors
If you still can’t stop your neighbor’s loud music then it is time to give them a notice in written format. It does not have to be too formal or informal, maintain a neutral tone while penning your complaint down but take care to not sound threatening.
The purpose of this written warning is to let your neighbors know that this behavior is not appreciated and if they continue, you will have to contact the authorities. Enclose a copy of the local noise laws and also keep a copy of the entire thing for yourself. Make sure to send the warning by post to keep an official record of it, in case you have to sue them.
Report a Complaint
If your neighbor’s music is too loud even after a written warning then it is time to contact the police and register an official complaint with them. The video evidence that you recorded will help your case and if you have noted down the nose laws the neighbors have been violating then that will help your case as well.
The easiest and swiftest way to make your neighbors stop playing music out loud, so much so that it disturbs you is of course to call the police right away but if the authorities see that you have tried to mediate the situation on your own and politely then it will help to tip the balance in your favor.
Sue for Nuisance
As a last resort after everything fails, you can knock some sense in your neighbor by suing them for nuisance. You are liable to get compensated if the loud noise has been violating noise laws and has been actively interfering in your daily life and peace.
For trivial matters such as this, the offender will most probably be asked to pay a fine and on top of that, you can ask to be compensated with money because your right to peacefully enjoy your residence was violated. There is hardly anything better than the loss of money to teach someone a lesson.
Add Soundproof curtains to your window
If you do not wish the matter to escalate, then it is best that you make some minor changes in the decor of your room. Cover the windows inside your home with thick soundproof curtains to reduce the intensity of the music coming from the direction of your neighbor’s residence.
These curtains are sewn in multiple layers made of sound-absorbent fabric and work best on glass windows which happen to conduct air-borne noise (such as loud music) very well. When music with heavy bass is played out loud, your glass windows may start to rattle if the source of sound is located near. Soundproof curtains help to combat this by suppressing the vibrations.
MLV on The Wall
If you live in an apartment and the people next door are extremely noisy as well as keep blasting loud music then this option is ideal for you. You cannot possibly turn off the neighbor’s loud music yourself but what you can do is offer soundproofing solutions to your apartment walls.
Layering your walls with MLV mat is one of the best ways to block all sound coming from the other side of a wall. MLV or Mass Loaded Vinyl is a very popular soundproofing material and consists of metals inserted into its structure to increase the mass of a surface. It is great at dealing with the sounds of loud music as its primary function is to kill the transmission of sound waves through its body.
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Hang Acoustic Foam Panels
This material is multi-purpose as well as effective. Also known as soundproof foam or absorbing foam, acoustic foam is a dedicated soundproofing material that is made from polyurethane or melamine foam core. It can be used on the walls, as ceiling tiles, corner bass traps for the room and a variety of other soundproofing solutions.
By its intrinsic nature, sound waves can travel if there is even a tiny gap or hole on surfaces. Acoustic foam comes handy in such a situation because it doesn’t block the sound, but rather absorbs it.
Also, it is going to be a great way to lessen the impact of your neighbor’s loud music because it can absorb vibrations as well. This is why most music recording studios use acoustic foam installations in their interior decor. The material is not only efficient but also quite cheap and thus is a good choice if you do not wish to spend a lot just to deal with an insensitive neighbor.
Line the wall with Furniture
This is again recommended for apartment dwellers who have noisy neighbors on the other side of a specific wall. Adding mass to any surface essentially ensures that when sound waves travel through it, they will meet a barrier in their path and get reflected back. That is why one of the best and most cost-effective ways to deal with noise in a room is to line the problem wall with furniture.
If the furniture includes an upholstery surface, the result will be better as upholstered surfaces are soft and will absorb sounds. If you don’t have that then do not worry, another simple way to replicate this arrangement is to cover the backs of your furniture with MLV and place it against the wall. That will serve the same purpose but with better results.
Use Acoustic Drywall for Soundproofing
Drywall is a very common material for construction and decor. But did you know it could be used for soundproofing too? Usually, drywall is made from two layers stuck or joined together but when it comes to soundproofing drywall, a sound insulation material is added in between to increase the mass.
The installation process for drywall is really simple as it goes directly over the existing walls and can be screwed or glued on them.
Not sure if you want to alter the decor of your room or your home because of your neighbor’s loud music? Well, this thought is justified as installing drywall or MLV is going to cost you quite some money. And you do not necessarily need to spend a huge amount just to deal with annoying neighbors. Instead, what you could do is spend a rational amount and get yourself some acoustic caulking equipment such as a soundproofing compound and a caulking gun.
You will probably be able to borrow or rent a caulking gun if you do not wish to buy it with the full amount and for the choice of the soundproofing compound, green glue is recommended. Well, there are other compounds that do the job as well but green glue is a dedicated soundproofing compound that is water-based and non-toxic.
Now the main purpose of all this is to fill the gaps and cracks in your walls or floors that may be responsible for the sound leaking. Load the gun with the compound and simply fill the gaps and wait until they are dry.
This is especially useful for brick walls and paneled walls that may leave gaps in between the construction.
Add Rugs/Soundproof Mats on the Floor
It is wrong to assume that noisy neighbors can be present only next door. People living one story below you could also pose a noise problem that soundproofing the walls won’t solve. Loud music or any sound can destroy the peace and quiet of your home from the floor below too and thankfully there are easy ways to deal with this problem.
Adding thick soundproof mats or rugs on the floor will absorb the sounds that try to penetrate through the floor and into your room. To get better results you can add both a rug as well as a soundproof mat underneath it. This will not only block all noise from entering your room but also save you from foot fatigue by providing a cushioned surface to walk on.
It is recommended that you address any gaps or cracks in the floor by caulking it with a green glue compound before adding rugs or mats.
Soundproof the Ceiling
The ceiling is another often ignored surface when it comes to soundproofing your room against outside noise.
A popular way to deal with the ceiling is to install a dropped ceiling or a false ceiling which is nothing but a layer of drop ceiling tiles that is attached under the main ceiling.
Ceilings can also be layered with acoustic foam and MLV mats but these are not aesthetically pleasing. However, that does not mean that you cannot go for it. Both acoustic foam and MLV are dedicated materials that excel when it comes to soundproofing.
Another way to soundproof your room is decoupling the walls. Decoupling follows a technique to separate two surfaces so that they vibrate independently when in contact with sound waves.
The most popular decoupling technique is building a resilient channel which is nothing but a metal bar that is installed on the main wall. The second layer of the wall, usually drywall, is screwed on top of this metal bar instead of the wall so that a gap is maintained in between.
This process is a bit costly but very effective and is sure to block out your neighbor’s loud music.
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The Bottom Line
Unfortunately, more often than not, simply talking to a person about their unpleasant activities such as playing loud music does not work and authorities have to get involved. To be on the safe side of things, you should always deal with these matters sensitively and not resort to resolving the matter by yelling or name-calling.
If you are a tenant, then make sure that your lease agreement includes a clause for the landlord to deal with such noisy neighbors and if nothing works then you can always fall back on the law to help you as long as you have been a responsible neighbor and haven’t caused any harm or nuisance to someone else.