If you recently moved to an apartment or new people moved in, and now you can hear downstairs neighbors talking, I relate with you.
After graduation, I moved to New York into the top floor of a 2 story building. All my life, I had never heard sound from downstairs, but this building was unique.
I could not only distinctively hear my downstairs neighbor talking, but every single step she made shook the floor in my unit.
You will often have this problem when living in an old apartment with wooden floors. So the problem isn’t with the neighbors as they are most likely speaking in their normal voices—the problem is with the building.
How to deal with noisy downstairs neighbors
There are several things you can do about the problem:
Use a fan
If the noise isn’t too loud, use a fan to drown it. Depending on the size of the apartment and the number of people living with you, get fans that will make enough noise to block most of the noise coming from the neighbors.
White noise machines are also highly effective at drowning the noise from the neighbors. If you can afford it, you should get one.
When using it, ensure the white noise machine is not too loud that your neighbors can hear it and annoy them.
Insulate the floor
One of the prime reasons why you can hear your downstairs neighbor is because the floor is too thin. If your landlord allows it, thicken the floor using carpets. If carpets are against the rules, consider investing in thick area rugs.
They will muffle the sounds, and you have a peaceful life. If you own the space, consider insulating the floor below the baseboards. This will do wonders at keeping off the noise.
If you live alone and don’t mind earphones, install red noise on your phone and listen to it on the earphones. By raising the volume to the right level, you will drown all the noise.
During the day, a little music in the background may give you the peace you are looking for, so put on your favorite music and see if you can drown the neighbors’ talk.
Talk to the landlord.
If the noise is too bad, ask the landlord about considering improving the neighbor’s ceiling.
While this might sound like a tough call, if you are lucky, you might be having a considerate landlord who will add an extra layer of thick Sheetrock in the living areas, and the condition will get better.
Make a complaint
Can you hear the talking after 10:00 p.m or during the early hours? Excessive noise during these times is considered a nuisance. You should make a complaint about the noisy neighbor through the city’s 311 system.
Invest in earplugs
If the talking isn’t too loud, sometimes all you need are earplugs. Wax earplugs do a better job than foam earplugs, so these are the best ones to go for.
If you work from home or have over-sensitive ears, consider moving to a new apartment. In most cases, moving mid-lease is difficult but possible. Have an honest talk with the landlord and explain your predicament.