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Blocking noise from entering your house and bedroom or drowning it out can be effective in helping you to get a better night's sleep. However, the most effective (and usually the least expensive) way to battle the noise is to prevent it at its source.
While some sources of noise that enter your home, such as traffic, are often beyond your control, other sources of noise are in your control to an extent. Barking dogs, car alarms, screaming children, loud music and more, often come from your neighbors.
Most people, I have found, avoid confrontation at almost all costs, including confronting a neighbor about noise. A few years ago, I moved into a new neighborhood. One of the homes on the block had a dog that barked day and night (especially night) with the loudest volume I've ever heard. The dog had one of those higher-pitch barks that would go right down your spine.
Several neighbors told me that the dog had been barking like that for years and that it really bothered them. When I asked what steps had been taken to deal with the problem, they told me that nothing had been done. Keep in mind that the man with the barking dog was not some mobster who would have anyone who complained shot dead. He was just a normal guy.
But all of my neighbors were so irrationally afraid of confrontation that they preferred suffering with the barking dog (and losing sleep) instead of doing something about it. (The end of the story, by the way, is a happy one. I did speak to the man with the dog a couple of times and the dog stopped barking.)
Once you are ready to confront your neighbor about noise, here's what to do:
1. Talk to the problem neighbor(s). This should be the first step that you take. And you should make sure that you are polite and respectful. Don't approach the neighbor when you are angry. If you prefer, you can leave a note instead of talking to them directly. Inform the neighbor of the problem in detail and that you would appreciate their addressing the issue. Remember that many people, for one reason or another, are not aware that their noise is a problem for others.
2. Warn the problem neighbor(s). Many times the first step ends the problem. But if it doesn't, repeat your request to the neighbor either in person or in writing, and also tell them that if the noise does not stop you'll be forced to contact the authorities.
3. Call the police. This should be done only as a last resort because any relationship you have with your neighbor will likely be damaged beyond repair once you call the police on them. If you do call the police, you'll likely get better cooperation and sympathy from them if you've tried your best to reason with the problem neighbor yourself as opposed to calling the police as your first option.
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