With noisy neighbors, everyone has their own tolerance levels. I could sleep through a storm, a loud concert, but once my neighbors play their music after hours or start talking loud when I’m trying to sleep, it’s over, I won’t be able to.
There are legal limits to every single type of noise: Construction, a barking dog, motorcycles, cars, bars, clubs, ect… and they are all measured in when they are allowed (times) and decibels (db). Different cities have their own rules.
Decibels are measured for certain things. Based on a NYC book (where I live) on noise laws, here are the db’s for common things:
Conversations are under 65 db, trains 100, and loud music is over a 100.
On page 9 of that book, it mentioned noisy neighbors, but didn’t mention any db that is considered beyond the limit. It depends on the city or town you live in and how far away from the noise you’re hearing it and at what db. But there is no standard db for noisy neighbors.
What is fine and what is too loud?
A website called Coopersafety.com which sells noise reduction machines and ear plugs has a chart which lists noises from a moderate-very high level you can identify with if you are hearing too much noise coming from the neighbor:
You can also use a db machine to measure if the noise level exceeds anything normal beyond hours. To reduce noise and db, you can use ear plugs or white noise machines. Ear plugs have different NRR levels which are measurements of noise reduction. NRR and db are not the same thing, but you can use whatever number they are to see how much noise reduction you’ll experience.
If the noise level where you are is 50 db and you wear ear plugs that have an NRR or 20, you have to always subtract the NRR number by 7. So 50 – (20-7) becomes 50 – 13. Your db would be 37 then. The lower the db, the less noise you’ll hear. That’s why, anything with a high NRR rating is good for noise reduction.
How loud do neighbors have to get before you’ve had enough?
Usually if you can hear the noise enough that it doesn’t let you sleep or disturbs your peace, you don’t even have to worry about the db, just call the police (or talk to the neighbors). If you’re very sensitive to noise, get ear plugs (or a noise machine).
Noise levels are very important for health. If you’re experiencing too much noise, your ears and health are being damaged and you have a right to stop it.