Imagine this: one day, you walk past your neighbors and hear them discussing conversations you have had with your friends and family.
This not only gets you annoyed, but you also feel that your privacy has been violated.
Can my neighbors hear me talking? You wonder.
Tests you can do
It’s not unusual for some people to think that they are quiet while they are not. Sometimes you might be loud than you think, especially when you are talking on the phone.
The situation is even worse if your house has thin walls.
Thankfully, there are several ways you can tell if your neighbors can hear you. Some of these ways include:
Turn on some music
You should put on music in your house then walk outside. The music doesn’t have to be too loud—just loud enough to imitate regular conversations.
As a rule of thumb, it shouldn’t be heard from the next building.
To give the music a human touch, keep the bass low.
You should then observe the sound from different positions: outside your room, in the next room, outside your apartment, and on the floor above and below you.
If you can hear the music playing, chances are your neighbors can also listen to you.
Listen to your neighbors.
Sometimes we are distracted as we always have things humming in the background.
You can tell if your neighbors can hear you by shutting off all the noise sources such as refrigerator, Tv, fans, and anything else.
Once the house is dead silent, listen carefully to the outside. Can you hear your neighbor’s regular chit-chat? If you can, then chances are high that they can also listen to you talking.
Sometimes it’s as easy as asking your neighbors whether they can hear you talk.
As you ask them, note that most people don’t like offending others on their face (of course unless they are extremely pissed off), so your neighbors will most likely tell you they can mildly hear you, and the noise doesn’t bother them.
As long as they can hear you (even if faintly), take measures to bring the noise under control.
How to make the neighbors not hear you
Seal the Cracks in Your Walls and Ceilings
The cracks in your walls, floor, and ceilings and the openings along your doors can cause the sound to travel, and your neighbors hear you, so you should seal them.
Begin with finding the cracks and holes in the ceiling and walls. When finding the cracks, you should know that your floor or ceiling will have different types of cracks, such as:
- Think, spider web cracks running in the ceiling, plaster or paint
- Cracks running across the ceiling and down the wall
- Gaps between the wall and ceiling
The beauty is most of the cracks on the walls, ceiling, and floor can be repaired by a handyman.
If you own the house, you need to get in touch with an experienced repair professional to fix it, but if you are renting, let the property manager or landlord know about the cracks and holes so that they can seal them.
Rugs absorb sound so that it doesn’t travel outside. At the same time, they give your room an acoustic feel. The downside is that rugs give a house a 60s feel and look that can be off-putting.
While you can place rugs all around the entire house, it’s wise that you place them on the noisiest part. If the wall is where most of the noise is leaking from, place it there.
There are plenty of rugs you can use, ranging from acrylic, nylon, wool, olefin, to polyester.
The best to go for are woolen rugs. These rugs are thicker and soft, so you can place them on the walls and the floor and provide you with the extra sound absorption you are looking for.
Woolen rugs also look cool as they come in different colors and styles.
The downside to these rugs is they are expensive. They are also challenging to clean, especially when you allow them to be too dirty.
Soundproof your house
If you do the above, and still the sound is leaking, consider soundproofing the house.
Here is how to do it:
Luckily, there are plenty of soundproofing materials and products you can use, such as:
- Acoustic Caulk/Sealant
- Mass loaded vinyl sound barrier
- Soundproof drywall
- Acoustic mineral wool insulation
- Soundproof blankets
- Soundproof foam panels
- Green glue soundproofing compound
- Resilient sound channels
Consult an experienced professional to recommend the best material to use.
Keep your voice low
If the neighbors can hear you when speaking on the phone, chances are you are talking too loudly than you should. To ensure no one can listen to you, try keeping your voice as low as possible as you are on the phone.
Do you live with a partner, child, or roommate? Ask them to help you keep the voice low by letting you know when you raise your voice.
You can also buy a decibel meter such as BAFX to let you know when you are raising your voice and letting your neighbors in on your private conversations.
Are you renting the house, and you have unsuccessfully tried blocking the sound from leaking outside? The house must be having extremely thin walls, and there isn’t much you can do about it.
To keep your privacy intact, consider moving to a new house.
Before you move to the new house, do a noise test and find out if you can hear the sounds from your house. Also, be cautious of the noises coming from your neighbors. This calls you to visit the new house at different times of the day.
You don’t want to move into a house where the neighbors are playing loud music all the time that you can’t even hear yourself, do you?