The situation

  1. I live in a small appartment in a densely populated building (6 floors, 24 apartments per floor).

  2. I have no furniture. I work on the floor. I sleep on the floor.

  3. My downstairs neighbors listen to techno music. I can hear the beats / bass. Especially when I sleep (on the hard concrete floor).

  4. I wear earplugs. That filters out most of the noise. But when I lie down to sleep I can hear the beats.

  5. The neighbor is a youngish lady who lives on her own.

  6. On weekends (Saturday and Sunday between 10am to 11pm), the neighbor has guests and they play techno music.

  7. When the neighbor has guests, there is often shouting and loud noises (like furniture being thrown over, banging on pipes).

  8. When the neighbor has guests, and when I open my window I can smell marijuana fumes coming from downstairs.

  9. Frequently the neighbor throws objects out of her window (furniture, picture frames, skateboard, large flower pot, broom, light bulbs).

  10. The owner of my apartment, said that there is a court case to evict the lady. But the case is still in progress.

  11. My rental agreement expires towards the end of the year. Before that I would have to pay a penalty.

What bothers me

  1. The repetitive beats of the music. The beats are not loud. It is more like a clock ticking. Like tapping a finger on a wooden table ten times, then stopping for 5 beats and then repeating. The loud banging noises and shouting do not bother me.

What I have tried

  1. Twice I have called the police. The first time they arrived too late. The neighbors had left. The second time the music had stopped by the time they arrived. The police spoke to the lady and she said she would turn the music down. Also the building often smells of pot / marijuana and the police do not take the situation seriously.

  2. In my last attempt, I went downstairs to complain directly. The lady stared at me silence. The guest (a man) mocked me (he pretended to be mentally handicapped, danced and imitated me).

What I think presently (below are my opinions not facts)

  1. Now the neighbor (when her guests visit) turns up the music on purpose. I had this impression after the police spoke to the lady, and after I complained directly.

  2. From experience, calling the police is a waste of time and an unpleasant experience.

  3. Calling the police was morally wrong in the eyes of the neighbor. I am now considered a traitor (prick).

  4. Talking to the neighbors will not help.

    1. Firstly I lack the communication and negotiating skills required for such a situation.
    2. Secondly, I called the police which angered and provoked the neighbor and her friends.
    3. Thirdly judging by their taste in music, their behavior and the part of town they (we) live in, these are lower class, uneducated people.
  5. The man who mocked me, has no scruples about mocking me in public and will do so when our paths cross.

I am looking for practical advice.

  1. Will a bed (or just a matrice) dampen the noise?

  2. I have tried wax ear plugs and foam ear plugs. Both work well but are not perfect. Any other types of ear plugs out there (maybe some one has a homemade ear-plug-material) ?

  3. How do I deal with the taunting in public? Do I reply? Do I remain silent? How do I remain calm in such a situation?

  4. I cannot always wear earplugs in the apartment, e.g. when I need to wear headphones. How do I deal (mentally) with the loud music which I now believe is being done purposefully?

Other information which might be (ir)relevant

  1. I have been living 1 year in this country in central europe.

  2. I look and talk like a native of this country.

  3. But before moving here I lived my whole life in another country.

  4. I am not used to living in a densely populated building.

  5. I am 40+.

  6. The neighbors are in their early 20s.

  7. The build is a modern-ish concrete construction. The acoustics is terrible. Inside the apartment I hear the beats coming from below. I hear the beats (vibrations) not really the music. In other words a different type of music would be less audible.

  • Would it be worth paying the early termination penalty? Can you negotiate with the landlord? Can you send the lady some flowers and smile at her when you see them? Mar 31, 2020 at 19:01
  • Hi kixosa3273, Welcome to Lifehacks.
    – Stan
    Mar 31, 2020 at 22:39

4 Answers 4


Let's concentrate on the music first.

Humans hear sounds in 2 different ways:

  1. The air vibration (sound wave) travels into the ear channel, causes the eardrum to vibrate as well, which is then translated to nerve impulses.
  2. The sound wave causes tiny vibrations inside our own skull, which is transferred to the eardrum and then translated to nerve impulses.

Earplugs can only block the first way of hearing, not the second. If you lay down on the floor, the sounds travels through the floor into your skull and you hear it although your ears are blocked. A mattress would seperate your head from the source of the vibration.

If you really have no furniture at all, first find out whether the country you live in offers social services like minimal furniture. If it doesn't, find a social welfare organization and ask them for help. Don't feel amberrassed, your living situation warrants you receiving their help.

If you want to leave this apartment, record the sounds with your phone close to the floor and use this evidence to negotiate with your landlord. He already knows that your neighbor is a problem, so you could probably ask to either move out without paying a penalty or to lower the rent as long as the disturbance persists.

And lastly the mocking. Mocking you is only fun as long as you get angry and react to it. In my personal experience the best way to stop mocking is to act as if the other person doesn't exist. You don't see them, you don't hear them, you don't react in any perceivable way. Just walk past without obviously turning away or directly looking at them. They should stop really soon, because suddenly they are the one acting stupid, while everyone else around them is acting perfectly normal.


Given that the sound is pounding through the concrete, there's no good-enough solution to dampening the sound (even if you use a sleep-box).
The neighbours don't give a damn and neither do the police, so notify the landlord.

If even the landlord can't get the neighbours to stop, just pay the rental agreement's penalty and leave. Sleep deprivation is very harmful for the body, and the penalty you will be paying is very small, compared to the blessing of getting proper sleep and peace of mind.

This time, when searching for a place to stay, just make sure you talk to a lot of neighbours at the new place and find out how things are and make sure you are ok with the terms and conditions of the rental agreement, before you sign.

Just leave. Battles with disrespectful, stupid people are just not worth it. Once you leave, if the rental agreement doesn't prevent you from writing a review (I've heard of some hotels that have such an agreement), then perhaps it'd help to write a review on Google Maps or anywhere, so that others won't have to go through the same problem.


There are several options.

1) Noise cancelling headphones https://www.nosleeplessnights.com/headphones-for-sleeping/

2) External window noise cancelling devices (Might not help your internal sound issues but worth a look) https://www.extremetech.com/extreme/170649-sono-a-noise-cancelation-and-isolation-device-that-sticks-on-your-window

3) White Noise Machines https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bblXKFmXSns

4) Sleep sound apps (Many free and paid for options) on the Google and Apple Stores


Here's a suggestion for a noise abatement HACK that I thought was extremely effective, fast, and inexpensive. It's not nice but it fits the situation and occupants in kind.

When the "Lady" is not home, your landlord/property owner makes necessary repairs to the broken toilet in the apartment lavatory…
- Turn off the water to the bathroom.
- Flush the toilet to empty it.
- Smash the toilet with a sledge hammer.
- Leave the apartment.

The noise will cease. A new toilet can be replaced and installed inexpensively ($300) after the "Lady" and friends move.

Good luck.

  • Destruction of property is an offence last time I checked. Apr 2, 2020 at 7:36
  • @JacquesRamsden Destruction of your own property is not an offence. The owner wants the 'Lady' out also. My hack is for passing on to the property owner to remedy a social disease that has infected the property.
    – Stan
    Apr 2, 2020 at 11:21

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