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Do you have any advice on soundproofing?

I have a neighbor who hoovers their house at least twice a day and the sound of the vacuum is one of the noises that aggravates my migraine. They can be hoovering for 45 minutes at a time and I’m struggling to cope now.

I have tried noise-cancelling headphones but they still let through too much of the sound to be effective, they also hurt my head most days as the top is tender to touch.

  1. Hi ,

    That sounds very frustrating, I'm sorry you are dealing with this.

    Have you tried any other brand of noise cancelling headphones? I wonder if that would make a difference? This link has our information on noise cancelling I hope is useful.

    I'm sure others will be along soon to share their tips and tricks with you.

    Will you let me know how things go?
    Nancy Harris Bonk, Patient Advocate/Moderator

    1. Hi, Sammibk. Noisy neighbors can be so frustrating!


      I'm going to assume that you rent, and can't just modify the building structure, or make permanent changes to your place, without permission.


      In that case, your most likely solutions will be to try to muffle the sound, somehow.
      Not long ago, I was changing a small room in my house from one use, to another. The room has a wooden floor, and originally had heavy curtains, and an area rug. When moving everything around, I changed to a more lightweight set of curtains, and no area rug. I was surprised at how different the sound quality of the room was. There was an echo even, despite having curtains up. I threw a very small carpet on the floor - it was about 1 foot by 3 feet - and the echo went away.


      I learned that little changes can make a big difference!


      Look around your space, and remember that sound can bounce off of any hard surface, and can be amplified by hollow surfaces, as well. These will be the places you will want to try to absorb the sound.


      You could try heavier curtains, or adding shades under your curtains, around your house. Windows are great reflectors of sound, and the more layers between the window and the sound, the more muffled the sound.


      You could also try some kind of curtaining on your walls. Hang a decorative tapestry, or quilt. Or get yourself some professional sound absorbing panels. One or two on the neighbors wall, and it's opposing wall might help a lot. If that's not your style, you could try covering the wall with a bookshelf, and place objects on the shelf which will absorb sound, like baskets, magazines...anything soft. You can also try arranging your space so that your large, overstuffed furniture, like couches or lazyboy's are against the neighbors wall.


      Don't discount the floors, and ceilings. Maybe try buying one area rug a week, and adding them little by little, until you notice the noise is dampened. Sound proofing panels can be applied to the ceiling.


      Sound might also travel through cracks under doors, or vents. If this seems possible, try buying a draft stopper for your doors, or to lay inside of your vent.


      If you find earphones to be too painful, another possible solution for dampening is earplugs. Try the hardware store, or the music store, as those earplugs for construction workers and musicians can be very good quality. You can also check with your local ear doctor, and see what they recommend.


      One other possibility, if you have the funds, is to research the quietest vacuums, and buy one for your neighbor, along with a carpet sweeper. If you present them with a humble manner, and explain gently, I'm sure your neighbor would try the new devices.


      If none of that works, you might try hiring an acoustic engineer to come look at your place, and give you more advice. If you can't afford that, you can find a lot on the internet, or on youtube about acoustics and soundproofing, since it's such a big deal in the music industry.


      I hope that you can find a solution!


      Take care.

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