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Old 09-24-2013, 11:23 AM   #1  
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Default Help -- need to confront loud neighbours :(

I live in an apartment building, and we had a 3 people (1 married couple + their friend(?)) move in next door a couple of weeks ago. We are all of similar ages (I'm 29, and they are probably in their 30s), and graduate students (they might be a post-doc fellow, PhD candidate or something). Since that time, I have realized they are SUPER loud. The walls are also thin, but they are truly just really loud.

Unfortunately, my bedroom shares a wall with their apartment. Every single morning, since they have moved in, I have gotten woken up by them. I am not too light a sleeper, since I apparently sleep through all the other ruckus in my neighbourhood (people screaming at 2am in the morning, etc.). However, there is one guy of the 3 who, when he speaks, sounds like he's yelling. I assume he is not because his voice does not sound hostile and sometimes sounds friendly. However, it is loud enough that were their conversations in English, I'd be able to make half of the words out. He is really my main concern. I can hear the other 2 on occasion, but that's to be expected, right?

I was hoping to try to get used to it, but I think I'd like to deal with it; it's taken a toll on me. I'm tired (physically and impatiently) with getting woken up by the same voice of some dude practically yelling. As a result, I sleep until 10:30 to make up for lost sleep, wake up late, lose hours in my day and walk around tired. I'm one of those people who needs their sleep, so this is not healthy for me.

I know an option might be earplugs, and I'm willing to try that, but I'd hate to have to put something in my ears every night simply because someone uses an "outdoor" voice indoors. Plus, I have fluid in my ear right now from a respiratory infection, so I'm not sure earplugs are a good idea at the moment and I want to sleep restfully.

So I'd like to approach him about it, but I am a chicken when it comes to confrontation. I'm also not naturally tactful, and am afraid that in a stressful moment, I will end up being blunt, rude, or defensive/aggressive... none of which I want to happen.

I've seen folks here offer great advice, and I'm hoping to ask if anyone has ideas or recommendations on how to approach this, or what I could say? Would it be beneficial to somehow mention that it's just the 1 loud voice that's bothersome (in case he doesn't realize how loud he is)? Is there a way of doing that without being super rude?

Thank you so much.
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Old 09-24-2013, 12:51 PM   #2  
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Bake some cookies or go to a bakery right before a time they regularly come home. Knock on their door. Welcome them to the building and introduce yourself. Establish goodwill. Leave.

Get earplugs or go to bed earlier if possible to get more sleep before the noise starts. Maybe move your sleeping area to another room if you have another viable space.

Within a few weeks arrange to run into them at their door. Talk about the thin walls and your problem with sleeping in the morning and the voice/noise. See if they will cooperate to keep noise down. Give them a week or two to change habits.

If you still have a problem and the noise starts before an acceptable hour like 7-8am call the landlord or implement a campaign of vacuuming your bedroom at 5am. 101 Bagpipe Classics at odds hours is effective. Be sure not to disturb other neighbors.

It's a problem. After living in a multi-unit building once, I swore that I would never do that again. Good luck.
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Old 09-24-2013, 04:04 PM   #3  
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I was (am) having the same problem with new neighbors. I think that when new people move in they might not be aware of the particular acoustics of their new place. Now that I know how quiet the place I live in is, I realize I must have been loud in the beginning (TV volume etc). Anyway, one of my new neighbors has a very loud (and frankly grating!) voice. Same as your situation, there can be several people talking and the others are not a problem but her voice can keep me awake and is very distracting. What I have been doing is that when I hear her, I start to talk at the same voice level (even better if it sounds like you are replying to them since it's more likely to catch their attention -- I live along hehe so have to pretend to have conversations with myself ) but the point is that they hopefully realize how loud they are being and adjust their volume accordingly. For me I think it has worked, liek you I would much much rather avoid confrontation.
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Old 09-24-2013, 05:44 PM   #4  
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As a landlady, I would prefer that people let me know if they are having issues with noise. Sometimes insulation can be blown in a wall. If there are hardwood floors, an area rug may help. Rearranging the furniture so that the couch is on the offending wall may help because big soft pieces of furniture absorb sound. My own husband has a very loud voice naturally and he physically cannot whisper. His whole family is like that. It has something to do with an auditory processing disorder. Even hanging a quilt or something on the wall between your units may help. Your landlord may have some suggestions because they have to deal with this issue all the time.
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Old 09-24-2013, 06:05 PM   #5  
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Move your bed to the opposite wall and run a box fan or humidifier. That will drown out noise.
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Old 09-24-2013, 06:27 PM   #6  
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Yeah, the fan idea is a good one. I keep one near the headboard of my bead, pointed up, on high, all year around. It drowns out all but the very loudest noises.
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Old 09-24-2013, 08:37 PM   #7  
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I also am nervous with confrontation, I lived in a building where my neighbors across the hall would yell and scream, it scared me! I finally introduced myself to them, they were very nice, and they were more aware of the noise level when I politely said that the noise was bothering me. There was still noise but not as loud. I agree with the one person who posted about possibly talking to a landlord. Personally I used that as my last resort but it did help to have the landlord behind me when I did eventually complain. I think that landlords want a quiet, safe and happy environment. My current landlord is very nice but he was extremely insistent to me and my co-signer: No party animals, so in my words: keep it quiet.

Good luck!
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Old 09-24-2013, 09:26 PM   #8  
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Literally as I type this reply my downstairs neighbor is blasting his music so loud it's vibrating my walls. Others have offered up good advice-just wanted to say I feel your pain! I don't think some people understand that living in an apartment (usually) means paper thin walls and that you need to be aware and courteous of your noise level. Good luck and I hope it works out.
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Old 09-24-2013, 10:40 PM   #9  
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When I was in college, I just cranked up "Loving You" by Minnie Riperton.
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Old 09-25-2013, 09:50 AM   #10  
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Had this problem been about loud music or television you would probably find it much easier to deal with. Living in an apartment building in NYC I'm extremely aware of the laws regarding noise pollution. First, I am a musician so it is my right and my job to practice my instrument. The law clearly states that I am able to practice from 90am-10pm legally, then I am not allowed to make any more noise. There is literally nothing that my neighbors or my landlord can do to change that.

I once lived on the first floor of a building and across the alleyway was a bakery. They would crank up their huge mixers at 4am. It was extremely loud and I complained several times. Finally I called the Department of Environmental Protection and they came to my apartment at different times of day to measure the noise pollution the bakery caused. They measured the decibel levels of noise and found out in fact that the machines were making too much noise, beyond the acceptable decibel level. They did nothing to change their machines at first, however every time I called to complain to the DEP and they came to measure the bakery was fined $2000 until they finally did something about it lol.

In your case, it's very difficult I'm afraid. The person is in their own home, speaking. How do you control someone's voice volume? Even if you talked to them about it, imagine how hard that would be to change. This sounds more like a construction issue. I would speak to the landlord and get them to install noise reduction insulation. Otherwise I would move. I would easily and gladly take on the fight of loud music and parties, but I wouldn't touch this one.
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Old 09-26-2013, 05:00 AM   #11  
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I'm surprised at the amount of passive aggressive responses given to you before the man even knows there is an issue.

Like someone else stated, I would bring them a welcome gift and at that time, mention the noise level. However, as wannabe stated, changing a man's natural voice level seems like a lost cause. Fans and white noise machines definitely can help, as can adding furniture.

It doesn't seem like he is doing anything intentional to annoy you. To respond with spite, is really rude and immature. If the landlord can't do anything to help (like blowing in insulation like previously mentioned) and the actions you take don't help, moving may have to be an option. However, this is a common experience in any apartment complex, so moving to another may not solve the issue (and you could end up living next to worst neighbors).
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Old 09-26-2013, 09:05 PM   #12  
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Oh boy do I feel your pain. As I sit there are drunkards shouting on one side of my apartment and someone blaring country music on the other side. The suggestions already offered seem like a good ones. I personally use a white noise app AND a fan, lol. Best of luck!
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Old 09-28-2013, 03:32 PM   #13  
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I thought about this post a lot, here are some things that came to my mind.

I agree with some other people here, some people have naturally loud voices, they don't even realize how loud they are, others just don't care and aren't going to change their ways. It's unfortunate, I find that there is almost no common courtesy these days, people may not be considerate of how they come across to others. When I was younger, my parents emphasized to be respectful, not everyone follows that code of ethics.

Good luck to you and whatever you decide. Stick up for yourself, nowadays people have to be their own best friend and advocate.
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Old 09-28-2013, 05:06 PM   #14  
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When I lived in an apartment many years ago, my master bedroom shared a wall with the neighbor's living room. Every Sunday night, without fail, when we went to bed, they started up a loud game of quarters. We could hear the quarters banging off the table and clinking into glasses as we tried to doze off. Clearly they didn't work Mondays!

Honestly, we never said anything about it to them. They had just as much right to play quarters on Sunday night as we did to go to bed early. That's just a fact of apartment living; or at least that's how we looked at it.
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Old 09-28-2013, 06:54 PM   #15  
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My husband and I have naturally loud voices that also carry quite well. When we were working (we're both disabled) this was a asset for hubby (working in a noisy factory) and a detriment for me (working in office cubicle land).

My supervisor had to talk to me several times about complaints, and while I was sympathetic, there really wasn't much I could do about it. My voice is my voice. I can modulate it for a while, but it's very difficult to maintain. Speaking loudly is like breathing to me. As with breathing, I can change my natural pattern only as long as I'm thinking about it.

I find it difficult to think about my volume and what I'm trying to say for more than a few minutes. Then my natural voice takes over.

You can try talking to the neighbor, and/or the landlord, but I'm not sure how much it will help, because I'm not sure how much control this guy has over his voice volume. In my case, I wish I had more success with lowering my voice, because it can be quite embarrassing to be told you're "too loud."

I haven't had to face too many complaints from neighbors, but that's probably because I'm in bed before 10pm (In our area I think noise complaint curfew is also 10pm on weekdays and midnight on weekends).

We did have one neighbor for a while who made constant complaints about our noise level (mostly our music or tv) until I was paranoid to do anything in our apartment. Ironically, he and his brother were crazy loud on weekends when they'd have parties that started at 2am (after bar close).

We began to wonder whether he was hallucinating because he'd sometimes come down knocking on our door to complain when we had no radio on, no television on, and weren't talking. Once we were even asleep, in bed. Whatever noises he heard, we didn't hear and weren't making (unless hubby's snores woke him).

We did eventually learn that he had bad migraines, which probably explained the problem.

I think discussing the issue is probably worth the effort, but I suspect it won't be easily fixed.
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