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Noisy neighbors can make life annoying, or even downright unbearable. Repeated exposure to loud noise can affect people’s hearing and ability to concentrate and sleep, as well as have long-term effects on physical and mental health. Sometimes neighbors are inconsiderate, and sometimes they don’t realize how much noise they’re making and how it affects others. The best strategy is to deal with the issue directly and diplomatically whenever possible.

Pick Your Battles
If your neighbors played music particularly loud one time or threw one party that got a little out of hand, it’s not the end of the world. If your neighbors play music at a high volume into the wee hours of the morning or throw raucous parties on a regular basis, or if their dog barks constantly, there is a serious problem that needs to be addressed.

Try Talking in Person
Talk to your neighbors face to face at a reasonable time, from mid-morning to early evening. Keep your complaint simple and to the point. Don’t go on and on or bring up unrelated issues.

If your neighbors’ dog barks loudly, they may not be aware of the problem unless you bring it to their attention. Some dogs get anxious and bark when they’re left alone. The neighbors may have no idea that their dog barks nonstop while they’re at work and may be willing to pay for obedience classes or to have a family member or friend come over during the day to spend time with the dog.

Don’t leave a note, especially an anonymous one. That can seem passive-aggressive. An anonymous note can make the neighbors perceive everyone else in the community as a potential enemy and will not give them an opportunity to respond or apologize.

Research the Law and Explore Your Options
If the noise problem is ongoing, check your local laws. Most communities have specific rules regarding acceptable noise levels and designate certain hours as quiet times. Keep records of the type of noise, when you hear it and how it affects you.

If talking to the neighbors hasn’t worked, you can suggest mediation. If your community has a homeowners association or condo board, you can file a complaint. If the neighbors failed to address a barking dog issue, you can contact Animal Control. If you call the police to complain about noise, try to do so while the noise is going on so they can hear it for themselves and measure the decibel level. If all these strategies fail, you can consider suing your neighbors in small claims court, either for monetary damages or simply to compel them to improve their behavior.

Try to Work Things out Amicably
If you have a problem with noisy neighbors, they may not realize how their activities or their dog affects you. Give them the benefit of the doubt, and try to resolve the issue with a friendly conversation. If that doesn’t work, consider mediation or contact the authorities.