Noise is a key quality-of-life problem for almost anyone living in a densely-packed urban environment. It's the bane of many a condo-dweller’s existence, and over the years engineers, architects, and designers have tried any number of ways to reduce the problem of noise in multifamily buildings—some more successfully than others.
Let’s make some noise about soundproofing.
When Noise Annoys
As long as people have ears and the ability to use them and live in closed quarters with others, there will be problems with noise. It’s just human nature.
“The biggest noise complaint is being able to hear your neighbors, either through a common wall or in the apartment above or below,” says David Ingersoll, national sales manager for Acoustical Solutions in Richmond, Virginia. With shared walls, the noise tends to be blaring music or television sets, overly loud conversations, or the strident smack of slammed doors. “Floor to floor, it’s more footfall noise.”
Mandy Kachur, a principal consultant with Soundscape Engineering in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and the vice president of public relations for the Institute of Noise Control Engineering/USA says, “Sounds that are transient, that come and go, that start and stop”—like hammering a nail into a wall—“or tonal noises, like whistles, tend to be more annoying than a steady broadband of white noise”—like the hum of a washer and dryer.