What was your worst experience with a noisy roommate?
I’ll start. Mine had hour-long phone calls… at 4 in the morning.
Granted, if it only happens once in a blue moon, you could let it slide.
But it’s a problem if it happens every single day. And your roommate is making your life miserable.
That’s why we’ve come up with this article on how to deal with a noisy roommate.
8 Ways to Deal With a Noisy Roommate (For Students & Adults)
1. Talk to Your Roommate
If you’re like a most people, you might dread confrontation. After all, what if things get awkward after talking to your roommate?
The thing is, your roommate might have no idea that they’re making a loud noise. Give them the benefit of the doubt.
Start small, but make sure to be direct. For example, let’s say your roommate starts playing loud music. Ask them if they can put on earphones or if they can lower the volume.
Remember to be polite. If you snap, then of course, anyone will become defensive or hostile.
But if they immediately raise their hackles, don’t give in to the urge to unleash your anger. Instead, try your best to keep calm and explain why their noise is bothering you.
Continue to remind your roommate every time they become noisy.
Why? If you don’t, you might build up the anger inside you. And you might end up exploding on a random day.
If your reminders don’t work, it’s time to have a proper sit-down with your roommate. Explain to your roommate how you feel in a calm, friendly tone (no matter how frustrated you might feel).
A little tip: Along with your tone, make sure your statements aren’t accusatory. Use “I” statements, such as: “I’m a light sleeper, so even something small can wake me up.”
You should also give your noisy roommate actionable tips. For instance, say you can’t concentrate every time they watch a movie, so ask them to lower the volume.
2. Establish House Rules
Make it fair for all parties by establishing house rules. To do so, ask for a “house meeting” with your roommates first.
During the house meeting, discuss what rules all roommates should follow. Include things such as everyone’s needs, priorities, and limits.
Sample List of House Rules:
- Don’t be noisy before 10 am
- When playing music or watching TV/movies, use headphones
- Take phone calls in the hallway or balcony
- Clean up after using the kitchen or bathroom
- Close the lights or use a lamp after midnight
It’s important to understand you and your roommate don’t share the same lifestyle. Plus, what is important for you might not be important for them.
For example, your roommate might be a night owl who prefers to work or study late. Or you have trouble sleeping. So you need peace and quiet, unlike your roommate who can fall asleep in 5 seconds.
That’s why you have to come up with an agreement and establish set rules.
What is considered as noise? When is it okay to be noisy?
Once you’ve come up with the rules, we recommend writing the rules down or printing them out. In my case, we wrote our house rules in front of the fridge so everyone could see.
3. Soundproof Your Room
Old habits die hard. As such, you can’t expect your noisy roommate to turn over a new leaf overnight.
That’s why we’ve listed some DIY tips. The first solution is soundproofing your room — without breaking the bank.
Remember, noise transmits the most through your door and windows. For your windows, buy some soundproof curtains.
Soundproof curtains are thicker than normal curtains for blocking out noise and sunlight. Plus, most have thermal insulation, so you can save up on heating or air-conditioning costs.
Weatherstripping is helpful for your door.
Originally, weatherstripping a door was to keep away rainwater and snow and to make your home warmer. However, it also helps with soundproofing your door.
You could use some kind of strips of tape. Or install a door sweep. A door sweep is a quick and simple solution. It’s available in various materials, but the plastic and steel door sweep products are most common
If your room is right next to your noisy roommate’s, soundproof the walls too. Here are some options:
- If you live in an old house or building, chances are there are cracks on the walls and ceiling. If so, apply some acoustic caulk like Green Glue on the walls to seal up any cracks or leaks.
- Another affordable option is to buy soundproofing materials. Dry wall, mass-loaded vinyl (MLV), and panel sheets are great options to thicken your wall.
- Rearranging your furniture helps. Move your things around so that they cover any gaps or air leaks. For instance, if you have a bookshelf, you can move that towards the shared wall as it will muffle the noise.
What if you share the same room? Oh, I’m so sorry to hear that. Don’t worry, though; there’s still a solution for it.
Similarly, you could rearrange your things. This will create a bit more distance, making sort of a “room divider” between the two of you.
If possible, buying an actual room divider is an affordable and effective solution. As a bonus, a room divider will give you some privacy between you and your roommate even if you share the same room.
As an alternative to a room divider, you can also use a thick curtain hanging from the ceiling. This might be a bit more hassle to setup compared to a standard room divider, but it’s a worthy option to consider.
4. Prioritize Your Sleep
Sleep and stress are closely related. Since your roommate is making you stressed, it helps to have a good night’s sleep.
Along with that, sleeping has many benefits such as:
- Improves concentration and memory
- Helps regulate your emotions and social abilities
- Boosts your immune system
We’ve listed 3 things you can do to sleep better. These are helpful even if you live with a night owl who is going on about their (noisy) business all night long.
1. Exercise or Do Some Yoga Stretches
Among the many benefits of exercise is better sleep. Sign up for some spinning classes or run around your neighborhood.
Your choice of activity doesn’t have to be intense, either. You could make it fun by dancing along to some exciting pop songs. Or take a walk and clear your mind.
With that being said, if you’re planning to workout, don’t do it right before your bedtime. An intense workout can actually ruin your sleep because of increased heart rate and adrenaline.
As an alternative, doing yoga poses is also a helpful way. It helps you clear your mind and body through regular, mindful breathing.
Check out this article for the best yoga poses you can do before bedtime. Don’t worry—all of them are beginner-friendly!
2. Use Herbs
Lavender contains chemicals that help you sleep. They come in various forms — oils, cream, sachets — so you can pick what’s best for you.
For instance, you could use a diffuser and put a few drops of lavender oil in it. Or buy a lavender cream and apply it to your body, massaging any sore spots as you go.
You can also make your own spray by combining lavender oil with some rubbing alcohol. Spray onto your bedding (pillows, blankets) before going to bed.
A cup of warm herbal tea will also help you unwind and relax. Examples include chamomile, valerian root, and lemon balm tea.
Most herbal teas don’t contain caffeine. But if you’re worried, you can also consider warm milk.
3. Play Some White Noise
White noise produces the same range of intensity in all audible frequencies.
Because of this, white noise is helpful for drowning out other sounds. Examples of white noise include TV static and whirring fan.
That’s why it’s great for sleeping, especially if you’re dealing with a roommate who’s a night owl. Or if you’re trying to get some work done and need to concentrate.
You could get yourself a white noise machine. If you don’t want to spend, tons of mobile apps or websites also provide a white noise playlist.
Personally, pink and brown noises are much more relaxing. They’re basically specific types of white noise.
- Nature sounds, such as steady rainfall and rustling leaves, are examples of pink noise. This type of noise creates a deep sound as it’s more intense at lower frequencies.
- Brown noise is deeper than white and pink noise. To the human ear, they might sound more “intense” or louder. Examples include strong waterfalls and thunder.
Rather than focusing on the specific noises, find a sound that you like. For example, raining sounds make me feel relaxed and extra cozy.
5. Buy Noise-Canceling Headphones or Earplugs
Earplugs is an old-school way to block out noise, but hey, it works! They’re cheap, too, compared to all of the options listed above.
These are available in all kinds of materials, so the price can range from as cheap as $0.30 per pair, or to a whopping $300.
Just take note of these tips before buying:
- The classic one made from PVC foam will be more than enough. If you want more comfort, which is key for a good night’s sleep, consider a moldable wax or silicone earplug. Plus, some of them will be washable and reusable.
- If you have work or school, then it’s not a good idea to wear earplugs to sleep. You might end up blocking all kinds of noises, including your alarm clock (the horror!).
- If you like to listen to music before (or during) you sleep, then consider buying noise-canceling headphones instead.
Note that they don’t block out 100% of the noise. Instead, they “dull” it down to a more tolerable level. It works best with low-frequency sounds.
However, for high-frequency sounds, such as voices, it won’t be as effective. The good ones are also pretty expensive, so be ready to shell out money.
Is buying a new set of headphones worth it for peaceful sleep? WE think so.
Bonus tip: If you want a more comfortable alternative, consider buying earmuffs.
The ones designed for sleeping come with eye masks, so you can knock yourself out all night long no matter how annoying your roommate can be. During colder seasons, a fluffy earmuff will be cozier as well.
6. Find an Alternative Workspace
If all the steps above didn’t work, it’s time to go out of the house.
There’s no point in wondering when your roommate will stop. So instead of waiting all day long, find another place to study or work.
For example, you could go to the library to get some peace and quiet. Switching up your workstation could also help with productivity.
Although, going to a public space where you have to share the same table could be distracting for some. Make sure to consider this before heading out.
Side note: My personal favorite is going to a coffee shop. Besides the overflowing caffeine, the ambiance of a coffee shop helps me concentrate.
If you need somewhere to simply relax, you could visit a friend’s house or the local park.
You can even vent and share your problems with your friend, and they might even give you some advice. Or taking a stroll along the local park will also help you let off steam.
Granted, you might feel that it’s unfair that you’re the one adjusting.
But think about it like this: If your roommate is smart enough, they might get the hint. Every time you’re leaving the dorm room or house, it means they’re being too loud.
7. Get a Mediator to Help
If you share a dorm room with your noisy roommate, you’re in a tricky position.
You want your roommate to quiet down, but it’s also risky to rock the boat. After all, you might end up seeing your roommate across the campus for the rest of the school year.
But at the end of the day, your physical and mental health is the most important. If you don’t want to cause a rift between your roommate, talk to a Resident Assistant (RA).
The RA will help mediate a conversation between the two of you. Among the suggestions will probably be a noise schedule. So be prepared to list your routines and priorities.
If you’re feeling petty or shady, you can ask others to complain to the RA on your behalf. Of course, if you do this, it’s pretty much declaring war on your roommate. So be careful!
If your RA isn’t helpful, go to the Office of Residence Life and ask for someone in the higher-up position.
Ideally, the best-case scenario is to set boundaries before moving into the apartment.
Either your roommate isn’t doing their part (rude!). Or you haven’t had the chance to set some ground rules.
Try Steps 1 and 2 first. But what if you’ve already tried it and it didn’t work? We get it — you’re tired.
Don’t give up just yet.
If you have a common friend, try asking them if they can step in. They’ll act as a bridge for communication. An outsider perspective can help, especially in pinpointing the problem.
For example, your roommate might think the TV is at a “reasonable” volume and that you’re just too sensitive. But having a friend as a mediator will help in making a verdict.
When listing your discomforts, you could become emotional and angry.
So having someone else present could keep emotions in check. They could prevent conversations from turning into heated arguments.
If you don’t have a mutual friend, ask your roommate’s friend. They could relay the message for you or also act as a mediator.
Just don’t bring in your friend in this scenario. Your roommate might feel that their judgment will be unfair and biased towards you.
8. Get a New Roommate
If all else fails, don’t prolong your suffering. It might be a hassle, but it’s worth it to find another person to share a room with.
Keep in mind that you’re going to be stressed from studying. So it’s better to reduce your sources of stress, one of them which is your roommate.
To do so, you can go about it in 3 ways:
- Apply for a dorm room change
- Ask about switching roommates
- Find off-campus housing
Applying for a room change is a formal way to get rid of your roommate. Talk to your RA regarding the details.
However, if you don’t want to make such a big fuss out of it, switch with someone else. If they’re a night owl, maybe there’s another person who wants to share a similar routine.
Keep in mind that a room switch might be difficult mid-semester. Read up on your dorm room regulations, or ask your RA for help.
If switching rooms isn’t a possibility, you may want to consider off-campus housing. This is a more expensive option and will require you to travel further.
As adults, everyone has a busy life, so finding a new place isn’t as easy as when you’re a student. So timing is key.
You could find another apartment to live in. But let’s be real, why should you move out?
Of course, it will depend on your circumstances and dynamics with your roommate.
You could go about this in an indirect manner. Say that you want to live with someone else (e.g., your significant other). Or you can be direct and say you can’t stand the noise.
You can let them stay until the apartment lease is up. Or if you want them out of your sight ASAP, offer to help them find a new place.
Your home should be a place for peace and relaxation. So if you have a noisy roommate, remember to communicate and compromise first.
If it doesn’t work, there are other methods to deal with the noise on your own.
But when push comes to shove, you could always ask for help from someone else. Or find another person to share a room with.