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We have a neighbor right next to our house with whom we maintain friendly terms. Whenever we see each other we exchange greetings from a distance. The walls of our master bedrooms are right next to each other (in fact they are physically together). This person has been living there for 2 years and there was never a problem whatsoever.

Every since he got married a few months ago we have had a problem with noise at night. It always feels like somebody is moving some furniture all the time and when that is done they put on TV with a very loud volume. Our 4 year old son gets disturbed in his sleep and we sometimes have a hard time bearing it.

I once requested him to please keep the volume down and he did but it is more of a habit I guess because it happens almost everyday. So its like when they are done with their work day they just go watch movies with very loud volume at night. I don't feel like complaining to someone everyday about the same thing and appearing whiny, but then a peaceful sleep for my child is more important to me.

We do have a council and I can raise the issue with them and they will come to help but I feel embarrassed calling someone else for this matter.

Both of them are in their 30s and don't appear to have hearing difficulties from our interaction with them.

How do I explain it to the couple that at night the noise levels should not be that high and that my son is more important to me than friendly relations with them but if I had to choose one its obvious what I would?

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Having successfully handled loud neighbors who (like yours) were disturbing my son's sleep, I'll share my successful approach and comments.

I think it's better to take it up when it happens if possible, rather than waiting until the next day.

Not wanting to try to raise my voice loud enough to attract their attention, I instead used a very bright flashlight. (This may not work for your exact situation as you say the walls are right up against each other, but more on that later.) Pointing it over the board fence and turning it on and off a couple times invariably got their attention, and then they would stop talking (shouting/laughing/whatever) for a moment.

Having gotten their attention, I could say, without having to shout, "Hey, could you please keep it down?" I didn't have to speak angrily, nor did I want to. They would reply, "Yeah, sorry!" and it would be fine after that (at least for that night).

Repetition had the desired effect. I had to do this several times—they weren't loud every night, but when I first started addressing it they were distractingly loud perhaps once or twice a week. Gradually, this happened less and less often, and then not at all.

The keynotes of my approach were:

  • Keeping it reasonably polite

    (at least, not devolving to angry shouting or swearing—I'm not saying you can't communicate some anger and frustration at being kept up if the situation continues, but hurling insults and just venting will never be productive);

  • Getting their attention without raising my voice (in my case, by using a bright flashlight) so that my message ("please be quieter") could be delivered calmly, having already gotten their attention;

    (In my case, both I and my neighbors have very long driveways, so going up to their door would mean a lot of walking. But if you share a wall that's likely not the case for you.)

  • Taking it up when it happened, not later.

If you don't have windows and so can't use a flashlight, I would go so far as to go and ring their doorbell and ask them to be quiet. To make it somewhat courteous, you could pay this visit when your son will be going to sleep in about half an hour.

Ding dong

(Loud noises, furniture banging, TV blaring)

Ding dong, ding dong!

(Scuffling, TV stops, someone comes to the door)

"Yes?"

"Hi there! I guess you're having a movie night?"

"Yeah, is it too loud?"

"Thanks for asking. Actually, it's been okay up to now, but now my son is getting ready for bed and we'd like him to get to sleep in about half an hour. Do you think you could please turn down the volume, or maybe use headphones?"

If you're friendly in your communication rather than JUST going there to deliver an ultimatum or antagonize him, or vent, or whatever, your communication will reach much much better.

You'll become more real to him. When you're more real to them as a person, when your family is more real to them as a family, they will also be more considerate of you.

After you've had this conversation a couple times, or even during the first conversation, you may also want to mention your son's usual bed time and request that they please keep the volume down after _____ time.


To specifically comment on a couple bits in your description:

I once requested him to please keep the volume down and he did...

This is good news. You're not dealing with just an inconsiderate asshole. :)

...but it is more of a habit I guess because it happens almost everyday.

This is why I recommend taking it up when it happens. After several times of doing that (always politely), they will think, "Let's watch a movie!" and then they'll think, "Oh, let's use headphones or keep the volume down." You could call this "conditioning" but really it's not; it's just being friendly so that your family is more real to them.

I don't feel like complaining to someone everyday about the same thing and appearing whiny...

You won't. As long as you're patient about it and just make the request newly each time. They will probably end up embarrassed more than anything, though that won't be your intention. Just be understanding, and remind them when they need the reminder.

...but then a peaceful sleep for my child is more important to me.

Same here. And they will understand that, also (since it sounds like they're nice people).

They will also appreciate that you're very nice about it (but persistent! Don't be "nice" by never telling them what's happening; that's not nice!) and will respond much better to that friendliness than to expressed annoyance or to "getting them in trouble" with the council.


Good luck! Hope your boy starts getting good sleep and your relationship with your neighbors improves! (And congratulate them on getting married, too!) :)

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    Thank you for taking your time to write such a nice answer and provide very helpful tips! Our windows face away from each other but im still included towards using this idea and create some sort of consistent signal. – Hanky Panky Jan 15 '18 at 3:34
  • @HankyPanky you’re welcome! Best of relations (I won’t say luck) for you and neighbors. :) – Wildcard Jan 15 '18 at 5:15
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From your question, it seems as though things were fine before your neighbour got married. It seems reasonable to assume, therefore, that his new wife is the root cause of the increased noise.

You've asked him to decrease the volume, and he did that once.

I feel that the most appropriate person to ask his new wife. Just point out that your son is sleeping on the other side of the party wall and that the noise of the TV is causing problems in getting him to sleep, and this is disrupting the family.

If they deny that the TV is too loud and that they're being appropriate inside their own house, then you have a cause to ask the council to decide.

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    I'm not sure the assumption that 'the wife is the root cause' is directly true, necessarily. Two people sharing space will have a different soundscape from a single person without it being because one of them is noisier than the other, but because they use the space differently now. It could be that your neighbour always watched TV in bed, but he used headphones and that doesn't seem sociable now its two of them. Maybe he used to do weights in the spare room but now that's her home-office and he uses the bedroom instead. Not saying don't speak to her, but maybe speak to them both together – Spagirl Jan 12 '18 at 14:44
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    Still. The OP asked one of the couple and it didn't make a different. Asking the other half is statistically more likely to bring better results than asking the same partner again. – Snow Jan 12 '18 at 14:45
  • Which would be why I didn't suggest just asking the same partner again. :D – Spagirl Jan 12 '18 at 14:46
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Sounds like you told them once, as a one off thing so far.

The next step you should take is to have a general conversation with them about it. Try generalising it so they realize it's actually regularly and not just right now, and try to work it into a normal conversation you're having with them anyways (If you're on friendly terms you talk from time to time, right?)

Something like:

Hey Janet, I noticed that you guys often times keep a pretty high volume on your TV at night. Our son is only 4 years old and sensitive to noise during bedtime, could you please work out a way to turn down the volume or watch TV in another room of the house? Thank you.

This will make it clear to your neighbours that:

  • The problem is permanent
  • It's not a question, it's a request
  • You're asking them to always turn it down, and not just once.

Now, they might still not comply or slip back into their old habits. After that, you can remind them occasionally, but that might sour your relationship with them.

Going to the council should be a last resort only, as it can easily be seen as betraying their trust.

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Both of them are in their 30s and don't appear to have hearing difficulties

The problem can be the flooring, but also the walls and pipes. Since it's your nextdoor neighbour and you can hear the television it's is likely to be airborne sound (not impact sound).

If money is not an issue ask them if they will let a soundproofing professional check out their apartment:

"Would you let a soundproofing professional checkout your house, because my son's sleeping quality suffers from the sounds coming from your house. I'm willing to pay the costs."

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    If you are sharing a wall, shouldn't you soundproof your wall ? – Juan Carlos Oropeza Jan 12 '18 at 21:09
  • @JuanCarlosOropeza That's possible. Hard to tell from behind my PC. – Boondoggle Jan 15 '18 at 21:48

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