Sound It Out: Dealing With Environmental Noise

Your home is meant to be a safe space where all the worries of the workplace melt away - where you can relax alone or with family and friends, unperturbed by the world around you.  Unfortunately, that's simply not always how things pan out.  Whether you live in an urban neighbourhood, a rural one or somewhere in-between, there's a chance you may be suffering from local environmental noise.  This can range from traffic to loud music to round-the-clock barking.  Whatever the problem is, it's likely to drive you up the wall if it lasts long enough, or happens at inappropriate times.  Here's what you can do to handle persistent problems. 

Neighbourhood Agreements

If noisiness is a problem in your area, then perhaps it could be solved by organising a local meeting.  You could agree on certain standards for everyone to abide by - for example, forewarning neighbours of loud construction work before it happens, keeping parties to a minimum after a specified time, and ensuring children know not to play loudly beside other houses' windows.  Of course, these agreements won't be binding - but oftentimes, people don't realise they're causing a problem until they're confronted with it.  Being polite and personable as you approach them could, therefore, make the world of difference.

Seek Intervention from Authorities

Assuming your problem is with a neighbour or local authority and not something unavoidable such as traffic, then you can always bring the issue to your local government to deal with.  However, if it's with a neighbour, they may want you to try addressing the problem yourself first - unless doing so would cause you undue anxiety or cause harassment.  Either way, once it gets to the stage of approaching the authorities, you should keep a diary of when the noise occurs and for how long.  This will help investigators to deal with the problem when the time comes.  Of course, if it's an excessive one-time problem, such as a loud party, you can always contact the police.

Home Soundproofing

Specialist home improvements are available to improve the soundproofing of your walls, ceilings and floors.  There are many solutions available to suit your needs; speaking to a specialist local company will help you to identify which works best for you, depending on both your budget, the noise disruption in question and your aesthetic requirements.  Depending on the type of soundproofing you purchase, you may even be able to install the equipment yourself without the need for expert assistance.

Naturally, there isn't always a perfect solution; if your neighbours have persistent parties past midnight despite all attempts to prevent them from doing so, it could be a long and drawn-out issue.  However, doing what you can to reduce the impact on your home and your family will tide you over until the problem has been dealt with.  With luck, the noise levels won't get that bad for you in the first place.