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Guerilla warfare for your ears: Fighting noise with noise

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What do you do when your upstairs neighbors are making your life a living hell because they won’t install carpet on their floors, even as their child hammers and drops toys on the concrete slab separating your apartments, and their baby rolls around in a walker all day long?

Most of the advice to this condo owner (venting on Habitat’s BoardTalk forum) urged a letter-writing campaign to the board, neighbor and managing agent to get the neighbor to abide by the condo's 80 percent carpeting rule.

But one commenter recommended a more extreme wake-up call should other measures fail:

“Bolt subwoofers & tactile acoustic transducers directly to your ceiling, essentially turning the slab into a speaker. Find suitably annoying bass-heavy music, & get some high-quality earplugs. You should have their attention soon.

Be prepared for calls from the agent & Board, & assure them you'll cooperate with their requests to control offending sounds if they can assure you their enforcement efforts are equally targeting all noise offenders...particularly those not in compliance with the floor-covering rule.

This requires a modest investment [buy gear on Craigslist] which should not seem extreme if the alternative is relocating.


We asked BrickTank's acoustical consultant to weigh in on this approach. He said he did not condone it.

“Hiring an acoustical consultant to make a calibrated audio recording that could be played back to the board, or having a board member present during the period of offending activity would be a better approach,” says John Hauenstein, the president of JRH Acoustical Consulting in Manhattan.

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