Imagine moving into your dream apartment, but you can hear everything from the unit below.
Upstairs neighbors can hear some noise you make but not everything.
Here’s Whether Upstairs Neighbors Can Hear What you Do:
Upstairs neighbors can hear what you do, but mostly music and the TV more than other noises. They can’t usually hear you walking or running the dishwasher. Luckily, you can lower the volume to keep from disturbing others.
What Type of Noise Will Travel Upstairs in Apartment Buildings?
The most common type of noise that travels upstairs in an apartment is noise from the television.
Music can also travel upwards, especially if you play it loud.
Any other sounds that you make that come from higher up in your unit are also more likely to affect your upstairs neighbors. This could include talking if you speak loudly, for example.
Want to know if your neighbors can hear you?
Here are 7 examples of scenarios where your neighbor could hear you:
1. Can Upstairs Neighbors Hear What You Talk About?
Upstairs neighbors may be able to hear what you talk about, but there’s no guarantee either way.
For example, if you tend to speak louder than average, your neighbors might hear you. However, they may not be able to hear the specific words you’re saying.
This also depends on other factors related to the design of the building, such as if you’re near a staircase where the sound could travel.
If your ceiling is relatively thin, your upstairs neighbors can hear you better. Likewise, with the walls for your adjacent neighbors.
If you’re concerned about others hearing you, ask your landlord about the building. Then, you can better understand how quietly you must speak to keep your conversations private.
2. Can Upstairs Neighbors Hear You Shower?
Once again, it depends on the design of the building and how thick or thin the floors are.
However, the nice thing about the shower is that most bathrooms are stacked on top of each other.
So even if your upstairs neighbor can hear the sound of your shower, they’ll probably only hear the water when they enter their bathroom. They most likely won’t hear anything when they’re in their kitchen or living room.
You should be able to shower whenever you need to, whether early in the morning or late at night. I’d still be courteous and not play any loud music or podcasts in the shower unless I use it in the middle of the day.
While the water might not disturb your neighbors, the music or podcasts that you listen to in the shower could be loud enough to cause problems.
I know that I tend to use a louder volume when listening to music in the shower compared to my bedroom!
3. Can Upstairs Neighbors Hear You Walking?
The sound of you walking primarily travels down, so you shouldn’t have to worry about upstairs neighbors hearing you.
Now, that doesn’t mean they’ll never hear you.
If you have a heavy gate or run across the room with a loud step, your neighbors may hear it, but it will be much harder for the people above to hear you than those below you.
When I lived in my last apartment, I was on the bottom floor. I could walk around the unit anytime and not worry about waking up or annoying my neighbors.
4. Can Upstairs Neighbors Hear Your Dishwasher?
Your dishwasher almost always sits near the floor in your kitchen.
Because of that, I’d be very surprised to learn that an upstairs neighbor could hear it running.
That doesn’t mean it won’t happen. If you have an older dishwasher, it could be loud enough to the point where the sound travels up to the apartment above you.
Like walking, though, the sound of your dishwasher is more likely to affect your downstairs neighbors. Keep that in mind when filling and running your dishwasher.
5. Can Upstairs Neighbors Hear Your TV?
If you tend to watch TV on a low volume setting, you should be able to watch TV whenever you want without any problems.
However, if you like to increase the volume, your neighbors will be more likely to hear it. The effects also depend on where your TV is in your apartment.
I keep my TV on a bookshelf/TV stand, so it’s about halfway between the floor and ceiling, but maybe you’ve mounted your TV closer to the ceiling in your apartment.
The closer your TV is to the ceiling, the greater the odds are that your upstairs neighbors will hear it.
6. Can Upstairs Neighbors Hear Cats and Dogs?
I know this seems like the most repetitive answer, but it depends. Like downstairs neighbors and people in units next to you, your upstairs neighbors will probably hear dogs barking.
Whether you have cats or dogs, your upstairs neighbors may hear your animals playing, especially if they’re loud. Most of the time, your pets shouldn’t be a problem.
When your pets sleep or walk around the apartment quietly, the noise they make shouldn’t travel up to the apartment above you.
If you want to be extra careful, I’d recommend keeping any pet beds and toys closer to the floor. Avoid super tall cat trees, for example, so that your cats don’t get too close to the ceiling.
7. Can Upstairs Neighbors Hear Snoring?
Your upstairs neighbors may be able to hear you snore if you raise your bed higher than average or if you sleep in a top bunk bed or loft bed.
To hear you, you’d have to snore very loudly.
Also, your upstairs neighbors would have to keep their beds close to the floor, such as only sleeping on a mattress. The floor of their apartment would have to be pretty thin.
I’d also consider where you and your neighbors put your beds in the bedrooms. Most bedrooms are big enough to allow for multiple setups.
So even if you have a high bed and they have a low one, if your bed is in a different corner, they may not hear you snoring.
Of course, knowing where they keep their bed would be almost impossible, but you can try to guess!
3 Tips for Reducing the Noise You Make:
It can be easy to forget that sound travels upwards. So if you live in a first-floor apartment, you may not think to reduce your noise.
However, taking a few steps can keep you on good terms with the people in the apartment above yours.
1. Turn Down the Volume
Whether you like watching TV or listening to music, set the volume slightly lower.
You probably don’t need to blast the volume to hear your favorite lyrics or what the characters are saying on your favorite show.
You have a few options if you can’t hear at a lower volume. Try to sit closer to the TV or whatever device you play music on.
You could also turn on closed captioning when watching TV to better understand the dialog. Consider using headphones to watch a show or listen to a song if nothing else works.
2. Follow Quiet Hours
I know for me, noise doesn’t really annoy me during the day, but it definitely does when I’m trying to sleep.
Check your lease or the city’s website to learn about any quiet hours you must follow.
Save your laundry, dishes, and other loud chores for during the day. If you play an instrument as I do, practice during the day rather than before or after work if you can.
If you have to make noise after work, try to do so as early in the evening as possible.
Then, you and your neighbors can enjoy some quiet time as you wind down for bed and finally get to sleep.
3. Visit the Dog Park
Maybe you have pets and worry about them disturbing your neighbors.
On your days off, take your dog to a park or venue where they can run around and make noise.
You could also take your pet to a pet daycare facility if you have to work. Then, they can play and get their energy out without annoying your neighbors who are home that day.
Many of those places are good for getting your pets to be active. When you pick up your animals, they may be tired from their day, so they won’t get super loud at home.
2 Tips for Dealing With Loud Downstairs Neighbors
If you live on an upper floor, you might have some downstairs neighbors who don’t know how to stay quiet.
Of course, you could move, but that’s not always an option.
Fortunately, you can try a few things to help absorb or reduce some of the sounds from below:
1. Add Some Rugs
Rugs and carpeting can help absorb the sound you and your downstairs neighbors make.
The material will keep sound from passing through, or it can at least lower the volume.
If your apartment has hardwood floors, add rugs where you can. Even if you have carpeting, you may want to place rugs on top of the carpet to absorb more of the sound.
Of course, you may not want to put rugs in your bathroom or kitchen. They can be very useful in your bedroom, living room, and other spaces you want to make quieter.
2. Use a White Noise Machine
Another option that can be especially useful at night is a white noise machine.
It plays a noise at a reasonable volume consistently, so it can help your brain ignore sudden, loud sounds.
You can get a physical machine, download an app, or play a white noise recording from YouTube. I’ve used white noise to help me sleep, and it can be really nice.
If you don’t want to use a white noise machine, a fan can work well, too!
Not only can a fan keep you cool, which helps you get to sleep, but it can provide that consistent sound to help you fall asleep.