Have you ever sat in your apartment and overheard every single word of your neighbors’ conversation happening outside? If so, you probably wondered, if you can hear them so clearly, can they make out what you’re doing just as well?
I’m here to answer this question and give you all the info you need on how noise travels and what you can do to prevent it. Follow along!
Does Sound Travel Inside and Outside the Same Way?
For sound waves to travel in the same manner in two different environments, the conditions in those two spaces have to be identical. So, the outside (where your neighbors are chatting) has to be the same as the inside of your apartment (where you’re chilling).
Even if you’re not a physicist, you can assume that this condition is impossible to fulfill. For one, the background noise is much higher outside than inside. In addition, the walls that make up your apartment keep much of the noise inside, while there is nothing to contain outside sounds from carrying.
Speaking of walls — they also play a vital role in sound transmission. Namely, the thicker they are, the better they’ll be at soundproofing your apartment and vice versa. The same applies if you have thin windows, your neighbors will be able to hear you more clearly.
All in all, the verdict is as follows. You can certainly hear your neighbors outside much better than they can hear you while you’re inside. Of course, they’ll hear you more clearly if your window is open and your walls are thinner, but it still won’t be as loud as their chatter.
Also, your neighbors will definitely hear you if you’re yelling or singing loudly. But if you keep your voice at a normal volume and turn on some background noise (your TV or some music), they’ll have trouble discerning your activities.
How to Reduce Loud Outside Noise
If the sound of your neighbors frolicking outside your apartment or house bothers you, there are some things you can do to tune them out.
As already mentioned, keeping your windows closed and turning on background noise can work wonders. Whether it’s a white noise machine, a fan, or some entertainment, it will help keep the annoying chatter at bay.
If you’d like to take things a step further, you can get a pair of noise-canceling headphones. As their name suggests, these headphones are made specifically to drown out excess noise. As such, they’ll help you enjoy your peace and quiet all day long.
Certain models can even be worn while you’re sleeping. So, you can use them at night as well and ensure you get a good night’s sleep. The best thing is they are fully comfortable and unobtrusive, so they won’t bother you.
Lastly, you can also soundproof your windows and walls. While this step is the most radical and expensive, it is the most effective long-term solution. Of course, you will have to check with your landlord before doing any work. However, in most cases, you will be able to get away without having to drill anything or take down drywall.
A great way to soundproof your windows and walls is to hang soundproof curtains and blankets, or put up acoustic panels. You could also plant some trees or build a fence to block the noise. And if you’d rather DIY it, there are dozens of ideas you can use depending on your budget and skill.
Whatever you go for, this solution could very much put an end to all noise troubles with your neighbors. So, if you have the time and money, it’s definitely worth considering.
Learning How to Tune Out the Noise Is Also Important
While the tricks above can surely help you with excess noise, it’s important to remember that you can’t control everything. Anyone living in an apartment complex or a neighborhood where homes are close to each other has to contend with some noise.
So, your best bet is learning how to tune it all out. The more you fixate on the noise and think about it, the louder it will seem. Instead, try focusing on something else and purposefully avoid giving it much thought. With time, the noise will slowly fade into the background, and you won’t notice it as much.
The same goes for the noise you make. If you actively try to be quieter so you don’t bother others, it will soon become a habit. As a result, your neighbors won’t hear your activities as much, and you’ll be able to enjoy yourself without worrying about them eavesdropping.
Talking Things Through Is Crucial
Of course, you shouldn’t ignore the noise if it’s really unnecessary and occurs over and over again. In such cases, it’s essential to talk to your neighbors and explain how their behavior is affecting you.
If you take this route, remember to be firm but respectful. Don’t threaten with revenge. Speak clearly and cordially, and give your neighbors ample chance to reply and explain their side of the story. Most of the time, conversations like these will be enough for you to compromise and come to a solution.
Alternatively, if you’re not a big fan of talking, you can always write an email or letter or send a text. As long as you are nice and friendly, you can choose any means of communication you want.
To Sum Things Up
Although it might seem that way, your neighbors cannot hear your indoor activities as clearly when they’re outside. Namely, your walls and windows keep most of the sounds you make inside, while outside background noise drowns out the rest.
But since the same conditions don’t apply to your apartment, you’ll be able to hear your neighbors a lot better. If that bothers you, there are several solutions you can try. These include using headphones, soundproofing your walls, and learning to tune out the noise.
In the end, it is all about communication and compromise. So, make sure you always talk to your neighbors about what you can all do to make the space you share more peaceful and enjoyable for everyone.