Can Downstairs Neighbors Hear What You Do? (7 Practical Examples)

Living in an apartment can be a great way to save space and money.

If you don’t get a first-floor unit, you might want to know how much your neighbors can hear you.

Here’s What Downstairs Neighbors can Hear:

Downstairs neighbors can hear loud music and TV shows or movies. They may also be able to hear you walking if you have heavy footsteps. However, they shouldn’t be able to hear you shower or hear your dishwasher unless your appliances are super loud.

What Type of Noise Will Travel Upstairs in Apartment Buildings?

When I think of noise traveling between apartments, I usually think of the noise moving downstairs.

However, certain types of sound can also move upstairs.

Most notably, music and noise from the TV can travel up to the apartment above you. These sounds are airborne noises meaning they don’t contact the floor or ceiling directly.

Depending on how loud your neighbor plays their music or TV, you may be able to hear it.

Similarly, playing loud music or a higher TV volume could affect your upstairs neighbors.

1. Can Downstairs Neighbors Hear What You Talk About?

I lived in a first-floor apartment for a couple of years. While I could frequently hear when my upstairs neighbors were talking, I couldn’t ever hear any specifics.

Their floor and my ceiling blocked just enough of the sound to prevent me from hearing what they were saying. Those features didn’t block the noise completely.

You may hear more or less depending on how well your apartment building is built and how thick the ceilings and floors are.

So if you live on an upper floor, you may want to be careful about what you say.

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2. Can Downstairs Neighbors Hear You Shower?

During my time in a downstairs unit, I couldn’t hear my upstairs neighbor shower.

It’s possible they showered at times of the day when I wasn’t home or when I wasn’t in the bathroom.

My guess is that it would be the easiest to hear someone else shower when you’re in the bathroom as well. After all, many apartments are designed so that all of the bathrooms are on top of each other.

Now, I could hear when the people next to me would take a shower.

Even then, I had to be in my bathroom so the sound didn’t carry across the apartment.

3. Can Downstairs Neighbors Hear You Walking?

I could occasionally hear my upstairs neighbors walking around their apartment but not always.

When I could hear them, it sounded like they were using a heavy gate and not just tiptoeing around.

Unlike music or the TV, walking is a type of impact noise since the sound travels through the floor and ceiling to the unit below. The sound vibrates through and can cause your downstairs neighbor to hear you.

Of course, you shouldn’t have to tiptoe in your own home. However, you can work on taking lighter steps if you don’t want to disturb others or let them know when you’re home.

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4. Can Downstairs Neighbors Hear Your Dishwasher?

This is another one of those things where it really depends. If you have a relatively quiet dishwasher, the odds are low that your downstairs neighbor will hear it.

However, if it’s on the louder side, the sound may be traveling down.

In that case, try to run your dishwasher during the day to keep from interrupting your neighbor’s sleep.

5. Can Downstairs Neighbors Hear Your TV?

Downstairs neighbors may be able to hear your TV, especially if you turn the volume up quite a ways.

I couldn’t hear the TV from my upstairs neighbors all that much, at least from what I remember.

For better or worse, sound from your TV can also travel up. So if you’re not on the top floor, you may want to keep the volume lower to avoid annoying multiple neighbors.

You can also use headphones or earbuds if they work with your TV. Then, you can listen to your favorite shows as loud as you want without disturbing others.

6. Can Downstairs Neighbors Hear Cats and Dogs?

Your downstairs neighbors can probably hear your cat if it jumps from a high spot and has a hard landing on the floor.

For the most part, cats are quiet enough to where your neighbors can’t hear them.

Similarly, dogs may sometimes cause noise, such as if they bark at something. When they’re just relaxing or walking, as long as they don’t have a heavy gate, your downstairs neighbors shouldn’t be able to hear your animals.

Now, it can also depend on how thick your floor is. Don’t be afraid to ask your downstairs neighbor if they can hear your pets and if it’s an issue.

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7. Can Downstairs Neighbors Hear Snoring?

Downstairs, neighbors may or may not be able to hear snoring. I couldn’t ever hear my upstairs neighbor snore, but there are many potential reasons for that.

First, you have to consider how close your bed is to the floor. The sound may travel more easily down to the unit below if it’s closer.

Another thing to consider is where both beds are in the respective bedrooms. Maybe you sleep in one corner of the room, while your downstairs neighbor prefers a different corner.

Also, while this is rare, perhaps one of you works the graveyard shift. So you might not even be in your bedroom trying to sleep at the same time.

3 Tips for Reducing the Noise You Make:

If you have a downstairs neighbor, you can do a few things to reduce how much noise you make.

Then, you won’t have to worry about getting a ton of noise complaints.

Fix Cracks in Your Apartment

First, I’d recommend checking for any cracks in the walls or ceilings of your apartment.

If you find any, contact your landlord or property manager and ask them to fix those cracks.

Similarly, you may want to check if any of your doors are fitted incorrectly. If so, ask your landlord to install new doors or adjust your current wants to keep sound from traveling throughout your apartment.

Get Some Rugs

Another great option is to add more rugs to your home. The material can help absorb the sound you make in your unit and keep it from traveling through the floor.

If your apartment already has carpeting, you can still add a rug here or there.

That way, you can absorb even more sound than the unit already does.

Adjust Your Schedule

If you must make noise, try to do so during business hours or between 7 am and 9 pm.

I know that, for me, noisy neighbors made it much harder to go to sleep.

However, it was easier to deal with the noise when I was going to be awake anyway.

Consider if your apartment complex or city has any quiet hours or noise ordinances that you must also follow.

4 Tips for Dealing With Noisy Neighbors:

On the other hand, maybe you currently live in a ground-floor unit and have loud upstairs neighbors.

You can try a few things to mitigate the sound they make.

Use a White Noise Machine

A white noise machine offers consistent noise at a reasonable volume level. That helps block out sudden noises since your brain starts to focus on the consistent sounds.

Many people sleep with a white noise machine to help with loud sounds at night. However, you could also use the machine during the day if you need to focus on work.

You can buy a physical white noise machine and plug it into the wall.

Another option is to download a white noise app or find a white noise video on YouTube that you can play.

Soundproof the Ceiling

If you have to deal with a lot of noise from upstairs, consider adding soundproofing materials to your ceiling.

As a renter, you don’t have many options, so make sure you get something you can remove when you move out.

However, adding some soundproofing may help absorb noise that passes through your ceiling. It can also help keep the noise you make from traveling up to the next apartment.

You can ask your landlord if they’re willing to install more permanent soundproofing insulation. If they can’t do that, you have plenty of temporary options.

Talk to Someone

As annoying as it was, I eventually had to talk to my upstairs neighbor when their noise got to be quite bad.

I’m not a fan of confrontation, so it was a struggle, but they were able to quiet down.

If your upstairs neighbor is making too much noise to the point where it affects your sleep, talk to them. You could also leave a note in their mailbox or by their door if you want to be less confrontational.

Another option is to talk to your landlord.

They may ask you to talk to your neighbor first, but if that doesn’t help, don’t be afraid to contact your landlord or property manager to get help resolving the issue.

Move Out?

Maybe you’ve tried everything, and you still can’t seem to get any peace and quiet.

If you’re nearing the end of your lease, you may want to think about moving to a new apartment.

Even if you have time left in your lease, it could be worth breaking your lease and moving early. In this case, you’ll want to review your lease to learn the penalty.

However, moving to a quieter apartment could be a great choice.

You may not even have to move to a new complex; ask your landlord if they have a unit available on a higher floor where you could avoid upstairs neighbors.

Final Thoughts

If you have downstairs neighbors, you may wonder how much they can hear you when you’re home.

The specifics depend on the apartment and the people involved.

However, upstairs and downstairs neighbors can both take steps to reduce the noise.

That way, everyone can enjoy where they live and not worry about loud sounds.


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How to Reduce Noise From Upstairs Neighbors

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