How do you talk to your neighbour about noise?
We all hear it but very few of us know what we can do about it. Noise can impact our lives in a variety of ways. Loud sounds may begin as an inconvenience but over time they continue to take a toll on our sleep, productivity, and health.
Trying to navigate what rights you have when it comes to unwanted sound can be confusing. NoiseNet is passionate about helping people take back their lives from unwanted noise which threatens to invade it. Our team has compiled a list of answers to the most frequently asked questions about noise. You can read the full FAQ page HERE. We've been receiving lots of questions about dealing with noise and what you can do about it and we've decided to take a closer look at some of these issues.
What can you do about loud noises and how can you approach the situation?
The most common threat of noise comes from neighbouring properties. If your neighbour is being too loud, you have the right to approach them in a polite way to tell them your concerns. You can try to speak to them in person about the problems or write a letter. Be mindful of the tone you set in your communication with them as you don't want to escalate the problem. Keeping your emotions in check is key to working through a noise problem on your own.
Try to stay calm when talking with your neighbour. Remember to slow your breathing and speech. If you don't centre yourself with your physical presence, it's easy to get worked up and lose control of a situation.
Explain how the problem is affecting you. This is important in justifying your concerns to your neighbour. If you don't have sound, logical reasoning behind the concerns when you approach the conversation, your neighbour may think you are trying to pick a fight. Try to be honest about your situation. You might want to try writing down a list of how the noise is impacting your life beforehand, so you can stay on topic during the encounter.
Give your neighbour a chance to tell their side of the story. The cliché is true in the case of noise, there are two sides to every story. You might find out you are more similar then you first thought. Try to empathise with your neighbour through your language and body language. Casting blame and refusing to hear the situation from their point of view will only escalate the problem.
Be prepared to listen and let the other person know you are listening. Be aware of your body during the conversation, crossing your arms will make you seem adverse to what they are saying. Respond non verbally when you can and remember to have eye contact. Practice asking open questions so it feels like an open dialogue, this will avoid the conversation becoming defensive.
Try to work together on a resolution. You might have far more in common than you first thought. Perhaps you can even let your neighbour know the health impact of living among loud noises. Take the time to work on a solution, don't make your neighbour feel like it's something they have to do alone. Open the lines of communication, make sure your neighbour feels like they can contact you about this at another time.
If you feel you need more help, there's also the neighbourhood mediation kit available to you, which provides tips on how to resolve issues such as this.
If you're in Queensland you can also talk with your local Dispute Resolution Centre, which provides free mediation sessions for neighbours to resolve disputes without having to go to court.
NoiseNet is always here to help you with your noise problems and we can support you to resolve the intrusive noise in your life.