Being a Good Neighbour: Tips for Soundproofing

While there’s a lot of loud music played in my house, I try to be extra-respectful to my poor neighbours. After all, they already have to put up with a couple of barking bull terriers. So how minimize the impact of my music listening habits?

“These go to eleven.” So said Nigel Tufnell of the spoof heavy rock band Spinal Tap when he demonstrated an amplifier that went a notch above the standard ten on the dial. As a music fan, you probably get the irony as well as the desire to turn it up as loud as you can.

If you’ve been to a fair few gigs, you’ll be used to the power blasted out by the speakers, an integral part of the experience. However, trying the same thing at home can lead to problems with your neighbors, and you also need to consider your own ears.

Constant exposure to loud music can give you hearing problems later in life, but when you’re living in an apartment, your loud music could cause problems elsewhere. Apartment living is very much the norm for many young people today, and if it’s you, then you should think about how you can get on with the people who live around you.

Play it loud?

You can play it loud through your MP3 player if you have your earphones or headphones in – you won’t hear the doorbell or the phone, but then you’re not bothered about that.

Play it loud in your apartment with your sound system? Probably a bad idea.

What you can do, if you want to listen to your music loud, is to think about ways to soundproof your apartment. Complaints are a hassle, so look at inexpensive ways of soundproofing.

Simple soundproofing

Noise travels. It could be yours or it could be a neighbor’s. Whether or not you own your apartment or rent it, you need to sort your soundproofing out. If you rent, then you need to talk to your landlord. If you own, then try to work things through with neighbors if there is a problem. The problem might not just be with you – some neighbors can cause plenty of noise as well.

Absorbing sound, whether you’re making the noise or someone else is, can be dealt with in several ways. Carpets are good for sound absorption, and you can use thick foam, felt or cotton to put on ceilings and walls. If you don’t have much furniture and your floors have a hard surface, then the sound will bounce around, so look to get soft materials that will help to absorb those sounds.

Window covers

Insulation is an important part of making sure you have the best soundproofing possible. Windows are often covered with curtains, but they don’t help prevent sound leakage in general. One option is to install window shutters, not only for soundproofing but also for all-round insulation. Shutters are also ideal for controlling the amount of light that comes into your rooms, so you can have a double bonus when you use them.

A sound future

When you think about what you can do to soundproof your apartment, take some time to think about your options, research what will be best for you, and then go ahead and get it sorted.

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