Addressing noise disturbances: tips & laws

Key highlights:

  • Excessive noise, whether at home or work, can be stressful. It can affect your concentration and focus, impact your sleep, and make you feel anxious – as well as affecting your hearing. 
  • There are various ways to address noise disturbances, but the first step should usually be speaking to the people causing the noise.
  • Noise disturbances may not be solved quickly,  so there are other steps you can take as well, including wearing earplugs to reduce sound levels, and soundproofing your home.

Noise disturbances during the day or night can be a blight on your day-to-day life – whether they’re coming from your neighbors or roadworks. So if your peace is being disturbed, what should you do? 

Read on as we take you through all that you need to know about noise disturbances, and give you some tips on what actions you can take.

Tips for addressing noise disturbances

There are two things to consider when it comes to noise disturbances: how to make sure that you’re not the source of any noise pollution, and what to do about it if you’re disturbed by noise.

How to reduce noise disturbance

If you’re affected by noise disturbances at home, you may want to invest some time and effort into reducing the amount of noise that leaks into your home. You can block noise from your next door neighbors in a variety of ways, including:

  • Fitting soundproof curtains: Heavy curtains can help to absorb noise from outside – particularly useful if you have windows that face onto a busy street.
  • Seal windows and doors: Make sure that your windows and doors are properly sealed to prevent any noise from sneaking through gaps and cracks.
  • Invest in a rug: Adding a rug (or using carpets rather than wood or vinyl flooring) can help to absorb sound vibrations.
  • Soundproof walls: Consider adding insulation or soundproofing your walls to stop noise leaking in from other rooms in your home, or adjacent apartments.
  • Strategically placed furniture: Placing bookshelves, wall hangings and decorative items like drapes can help to absorb sound disturbances.
  • White noise machines: Masking noise with white noise machines can help to create a calmer, more peaceful environment.
  • Noise-reducing earplugs: Using noise-reducing earplugs can help to reduce the amount of noise that reaches your ears, bringing noise down to a safer level and reducing stress and anxiety caused by noise disturbances.
Noise disturbances Noise disturbances

How to report noise disturbance

Consistent noise disturbances can wreak havoc on your mental and physical state. Especially if the raucous noise is keeping you awake at night, which can lead to sleep deprivation and agitation.  

If you’re suffering from a noise disturbance, it’s only fair that you’ll want to take action. So let’s take a look at what you can do to counteract both community noise and public noise. 


In most urban areas and communities, there will be ordinances that prohibit any excessive and unreasonable levels of noise. If somebody is consistently exceeding these ordinances, chances are that you will want to do something about it. But if your neighbor is the guilty party, it may not be the best idea to go straight to the nuclear option of filing a lawsuit.

Here are some steps you can take to try and tackle the situation:

  • Talk to them

Sometimes the best option is the easiest option. Rather than going straight to aggression, try and calmly approach your neighbor and inform them of the issue. There is a chance that they are unaware of the problem and can quickly remedy the situation.

  • Send a warning

If talking to the guilty party didn’t lead anywhere, then you can send a written warning. This should include the noise laws and a statement of intent on how you plan to approach the situation if the noise doesn’t stop.

  • Get the police involved

If nothing up to this point has worked, then you can call the police to file a complaint. You can let the police know that you have taken steps to solve the situation but haven’t been successful. They can then investigate and take action if they see fit.

  • File a lawsuit

If the police fail to make a difference, the final step would be to file a lawsuit in a small claims court. You will need to provide evidence of the noise, the steps you previously took, and a testimony. If successful, a court order will be imposed on your neighbors, forcing them to cease the excessive noise.

Public noise

If the noise disturbance is coming from public sources such as loud construction work, then the best route to take is to file a complaint with your local government or the police.

The police will most likely give the guilty party a verbal warning. If the noise continues then you can make a second complaint and further action could be taken.  

If you’re worried about any potential repercussions of reporting a disturbance, you can file your complaint anonymously. The police will not require you to leave any personal details, meaning you can take action while leaving your name out of it.

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Laws and regulations on noise control

Excessive noise in public spaces can be disturbing and distressing. If you’re disturbed by noise, it can cause stress, poor sleep, trouble concentrating, and even hearing loss or damage. Noise control laws and regulations, then, play an important role in safeguarding public health and ensuring the general public maintain a good quality of life.

Every region has different rules when it comes to laws about noise disturbance, including acceptable levels of noise, hours of noise disturbance, and how noise pollution is dealt with.

When it comes to the letter of the law, a noise disturbance is defined as “any noise, sound or signal which unreasonably disturbs the comfort, peace, or repose of another person or persons.” 

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established the Noise Control Act of 1972. This act states that inadequately controlled noise presents a danger to the welfare and health of the nation. It mainly deals with public noise disturbance, putting the leading sources of noise as: 

* Transportation vehicles and equipment 

* Machinery 

* Appliances 

* Other products in commerce 

While there is a blanket definition of a noise disturbance, each state’s specific laws and regulations on noise differ. So the EPA is in control of coordinating the programs of all of the federal, state, and local agencies that deal with noise complaints. Due to these state differences, to find out the noise ordinances for your town, make sure to check your local government’s website.

In the UK, councils are required to look into any complaints about noise that could be considered a ‘statutory nuisance’ (covered by the Environmental Protection Act 1990). For the noise to count as statutory nuisance, it must do one of the following:

  • unreasonably and substantially interfere with the use or enjoyment of a home or other premises
  • injure health, or be likely to injure health

In Germany, the whole country adheres to the concept of ‘Ruhezeit’ (quiet time). This means that any noise above 50 decibels is banned from 10pm - 7am on weekdays, and all day on Sundays (although there are some local variations).

As every country or region has different regulations around noise disturbances, they also have different rules regarding punishments for noise violations. 

In the UK, for example, those who break noise disturbance rules without a reasonable explanation may be given a fixed penalty notice (up to £110 for residential properties and up to £500 for licensed premises), and if the fine isn’t paid, they may be prosecuted and asked to pay a fine of up to £1000 for residential dwellings and an unlimited amount for licensed premises.

If you break Ruhezeit rules in Germany, you may face a fine of several hundred Euros. And in the USA, those who break the rules may also face fines of up to $500. So, it’s always worthwhile doing your research and understanding what the rules around noise disturbance are in your region – as well as the potential implications of breaking those rules.

How Loop Earplugs address noise disturbances

If you struggle with noise disturbances, whether from roadworks, noisy neighbors, or a busy street outside, earplugs can be a good way to reduce the noise. In some cases, noise disturbances can be damaging to your hearing – while in other cases, if you’re sensitive to noise, noise pollution can be overwhelming, stressful and distressing.

We have a range of earplugs to choose from, designed to provide a balanced sound experience, reducing harmful noise and taking the edge off stressful sounds, while allowing important sounds to be heard:

  • Loop Experience reduce noise levels by up to 17 dB (SNR), while keeping sound quality high – meaning they’re ideal for reducing noise in day-to-day life as well as concerts, festivals and live sporting events.
  • Loop Quiet are great for focus and uninterrupted work, offering 24 dB (SNR) of noise reduction, helping you to reduce noise levels and get into your bubble. They’re also ideal for reducing sound levels when trying to get to sleep when there’s lots of noise outside.
  • Loop Engage are ideal for use in noisy environments, such as if you’re trying to work when there’s lots of noise from your home, or environmental noise from outside. They take the edge off background noise while offering more clarity in conversations – making them a great choice if you’re noise-sensitive.
  • Loop Switch does it all, offering the convenience of 3 earplugs in 1, controlled by a single switch. That means you can switch from Experience to Quiet to Engage and back again, depending on the situation.

“Tried and tested in a very busy area in London I can safely say they are amazing one night I didn’t use it I could hear so much from the busy streets at night, simply I didn’t sleep. The following night I used then I didn’t hear anything and slept like a baby, crazy good.”

Bernard H.

Key takeaways:

Excessive noise, whether at home or work, can be stressful. It can affect your concentration and focus, impact your sleep, and make you feel anxious – as well as affecting your hearing. So if you’re affected by noise disturbances, it’s important to address them, for your overall wellbeing and quality of life.

In the first instance, you should address the cause of the noise disturbances, by speaking to your neighbor, construction workers, or whoever is causing the noise. But it may take some time for these issues to be solved – so there are also steps you can take to reduce the impact of noise disturbances, such as soundproofing your home and wearing earplugs to take the edge off noise and enjoy a peaceful environment.

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