Coping With Noisy City Life

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Few things are more exciting than securing a new home or apartment in the middle of a busy, thriving city. That’s especially true if this is your first time living in a major metropolitan area. There’s so much to see and do, from the latest modern art display at the local museum to the newest bubble tea place down the road from your residence. There’s also, however, a lot to hear, and sometimes you hear it when you’re trying to sleep, or even if you’re just attempting to relax in your study with a great new novel.

Have realistic expectations

A lot of people don’t think about the ambient noise level of a residence when they’re buying it. It’s too easy to get excited about other things, like the newly redesigned kitchen and the garden tub in the bathroom. It’s common to get attached to the inside of a place and think you can deal with whatever happens on the outside. And you probably can, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be a bit of an adjustment period.

If you live near a hospital or fire station, you may hear sirens wailing outside at all hours of the day. You can hear those in any part of a city, but they’re easier to notice when the sirens sound like they’re directly outside your door at 2 a.m. The first thing you can do is invest in a white noise machine and a good set of earplugs. A white noise machine can both cancel out some of the outside noise and help you fall asleep more quickly.

If that’s not quite enough, look into options for acoustical dampening. You can install panels or foam to prevent the noise from getting to your place. You can even look at adding perforated tubes to redirect or absorb some of the disruptions before they reach you. This will be easier if you own your home rather than renting it, but it’s not impossible in the latter case. You’ll just have to have a conversation or two with your landlord and see how receptive they are to your ideas.

Noisy neighbors

If you are in an apartment, there’s a good chance it’s in a two- or three-story building (or more if you live in a high-rise in, say, Brooklyn or San Francisco). For as long as there have been apartments, there have been people in those apartments who are annoyed by the sounds of their neighbors. It can be loud movement from upstairs or loud music from next door. Things like white noise machines can work in these situations as well, but if the noise is persistent and won’t stop, and if it’s occurring at unreasonable hours of the day, it’s time to do something else. Look at the lease you signed when you moved in; there’s probably something in there about “quiet hours” when residents are expected to keep it down. Those hours are usually at late night and early morning. That can be your key to finding relief if Brad in Apartment D is listening to death metal at 3 o’clock in the morning. If you feel up to it, try to have a polite conversation with Brad about the noise. It’s good to give people a chance to correct the behavior on their own first. If that doesn’t work, it’s time to call your landlord. Any decent landlord will take noise violations seriously, and other people in the complex will probably be relieved that someone finally reported the problem.

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