If you find yourself tossing and turning at night, as a result of your noisy next door neighbor? You’re not alone; a survey of over 5,000 Americans found that 45% of noisy-neighbor disputes were over noise in the evening, with midnight disruption coming up a close second. But how can you effectively deal with neighborhood noise?
The Dangers of Noisy Neighbors
The kinds of problems noisy neighbors can bring you are twofold. Firstly, you might find yourself sleeping less as a result of excessive noise or disruption. Lack of sleep can have many negative effects on the human body, including digestive issues and loss of concentration – but perhaps more distressingly, lack of sleep has been attributed to more than 6,000 fatal car crashes a year.
Secondly, in instances of severe noise disruption, from DIY to blisteringly loud house parties, the noise can have a detrimental effect on your ears. Consistent exposure to noises above a certain decibel level can cause hearing loss and tinnitus over time, requiring expert treatment by a hearing care specialist.
How to Approach Your Neighbor
You first step should always be to open a dialog with your neighbor. You may be tempted to bang on the walls, or confront them in anger – but these are not conducive to your desired outcome. Instead, visit them when you’re calm, introduce yourself and politely explain that their noise is affecting you negatively. By approaching them cordially, they’re more likely to understand your point of view – at which point you can talk about constructive actions and possibilities. Compromise is important to keep an open mind about; for example, if the noise is a result of their children, or even a pet when no one is home, there may be solution which results in utter cessation of noise – but there may be some things your neighbor can do to mitigate it at certain times.
Of course, if the noise is more anti-social in nature, and your neighbor is less keen on working with you to keep the noise down, you may want to bring in an independent mediator to work things out together. Of course, your neighbor may be completely unwilling to co-operate, in which case a warning may be necessary. if you’re part of an HOA, notifying them of your noise dispute may give them cause to invoke penalties on the neighbor, giving them incentive to cease the disruption.
The Law Regarding Noisy Neighbors
Laws on excessive noise can vary from county to county, let alone state to state – but chances are extremely high there will be a law or ordinance which applies to you. These are most commonly in the form of noise curfews or designated ‘quiet times’ for residential areas, but can occasionally present as decibel limits for noise. If you can prove your neighbor is making excessive noise above the legal limit, our outside of permitted times, you’ll have a case with local law enforcement – and if law enforcement do not act on your tip, you’re eligible to file a lawsuit against your neighbor in small claims court.1