If you live in an apartment building, you might notice that you occasionally hear chatter or footsteps when your neighbor walks by your front door in the hallway; however, when you are inside your apartment, you don’t hear anything.
Why is this?
Generally speaking, this has to do with how the building was constructed as well as lack of sound control elements in the hallway.
How Sound Travels in Apartment Buildings
The way the building is constructed determines how well sound travels through the walls between units. In a building with proper insulation and concrete walls, it’s unlikely that you’ll hear the sound of your neighbor talking, more likely to hear their television while they’re in their apartment next door. One should not be able to hear these noises.
However, hallway noise is typically considered less bothersome, and as such, many buildings aren’t constructed to prioritize sound-resistant hallways.
As a result, you’re more likely to hear the occasional sound of delivery persons, cleaners, or neighbors walking by.
Some More Specific Reasons You May Hear Sound in Hallway
Exterior Apartment Door Quality – If there is not a strong or sound-resistant apartment entry door, you may hear more noise
Lack of Door Seal on Bottom – if there is not a door seal on the apartment entry door you may hear more noise
Lack of Hallway Sound Control – items like carpet, drapes, and furniture can help dampen the noise. If these items aren’t there, you may hear more noise.
Thin Hallway Walls – if the hallway walls are not thick or constructed properly, you are more likely to hear sound transmission.
What to Do If You’re Hearing Your Neighbors in Hallway
Frequent noise from neighbors can interrupt sleep and quiet time at home. If you’re hearing the neighbors or excessive hallway noise, you may consider asking your landlord if it is possible to:
– Put in a higher-quality exterior apartment door
– Add a seal/door sweep to your exterior door
– Add sound control measures such as carpeted flooring, furniture or acoustic panels in the hallway
– Talk to your neighbor(s) to inform them of this inconvenience to you, and to ask for their cooperation.