In the U.S & U.K night hours are specified as being between 11 pm and 7 am. Between these hours there are set noise levels which should not be exceeded.
Other countries have different rules (and some have no rules at all) but in most western countries between the hours of 11 pm – 7 am you should keep noise levels to a minimum.
Everyone has a right to play music however the right to silence trumps the right to play music both in the Uk and the USA.
In the Uk this falls under the 1996 Noise Act as well as the Common law of Nuisance and in the USA this is covered by the Noise Control Act.
How Loud Is Too Loud?
A common sense approach is always best when it comes to music volume. If you can clearly hear music when you step outside your house then chances are your neighbours can hear it too.
However on the off chance that you have a sound meter lying around your home then the permitted decibel levels are:
- 34 dBA (decibels adjusted) if the underlying noise less than 24 dBA.
- 10 dBA above the underlying level of noise if this is over 24 dBA.
For clarity underlying noise is generic background noise. So if you live in the middle of New York or London this is going to be fairly high with road and traffic noise, if you live in quiet suburbia then this will be much lower.
What You Can Do When Someone Is Disturbing You With Loud Music
There are few things more irritating than lying in bed trying to get to sleep only to be woken up just as you’ve drifted off by heavy bass reverberating through your floor or ceiling.
Also Read: D.I.Y Bass Traps: How To Make One
Sleep is an incredibly valuable commodity, ensuring that you can get a good nights sleep is vital for everyone’s health and wellbeing, so if you find that you are being disturbed by loud music here are some things you can do:
Speak To Your Neighbour
This is the most obvious solution and should be your go-to course of action, a polite considerate conversation can do wonders and many neighbours will happily turn their music down.
Many people will be blissfully unaware that they are disturbing the whole neighbourhood so letting them know gently that they are being too loud is a good course of action.
However, if your neighbours are aggressive and inconsiderate people or if they have been drinking a lot then you may not want to speak to them for your own safety.
Call The Police
If the party is getting out of hand, people are clearly very drunk and noisy then your best option which will ensure your safety can be to call the police.
Police are usually more than happy to give a word of warning to unruly neighbours about their noise levels…providing that there are no other more important police incidents occurring.
One thing to be aware of is that while police can ask your neighbours to turn the music down most police forces don’t actually possess any prosecution powers for noise offences, so if your neighbours choose to ignore them there is not much they can do…fortunately most people aren’t aware of this so will comply.
A few police forces in major metropolitan areas may have powers to take action on certain days when noise is more of a problem such as Friday and Saturday nights. Have a look at your local police force website to work out exactly what sort of action you can expect.
Report To The Council
Noise complaints are handled by local councils, if you have a serious noise problem and want action to be taken then you need to report the noise to your local council. In order to help your claim there are a few things you could do:
- Keep a noise diary – this is simply a list of dates and times where excessive noise was an issue. This will allow you and your local authority to clearly see patterns and this will make it clear how much of a persistent nuisance the noise is.
- Record the noise – when music is being played record it on your phone to give your local authority an idea of what you are experiencing.
Noise problems can usually be reported through your local authorities website so just do a google search for “your local authority name make a noise complaint“.
If you don’t want to report your neighbours and have no desire to speak to them then a good solution is getting some earplugs.
Yes, it’s a very basic solution and one which can feel a bit like admitting defeat to your noisy neighbour but if that doesn’t bother you then a good pair of earplugs can do wonders for your sleep, completely blocking out loud music with ease.
Alternatively, check out some of these devices for dealing with noisy neighbors.
Obviously, if your neighbour is playing loud music right now then it’s neither possible nor practical to deal with it by nipping out to your local hardware store and buying soundproofing materials to start an emergency midnight D.I.Y project, if loud music is a persistent problem in your area then it is worth investing in soundproofing.
First of all, work out how sound is getting into your home then choose a soundproofing solution that effectively blocks the bass noise.
For example, if the sound is coming through your walls then you will need to soundproof your walls, if sound vibrations are coming through your door then you will need to soundproof your door (this can be done at a very low cost).
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