The curse of the noisy housemate

My housemate owns a guitar, a tambourine, a mandolin, a saxophone, a tin whistle, windpipes, a harmonica, an otamatone, a clarinet, a melodica, a recorder, an accordion and a very powerful set of lungs. He keeps these all in his room. The one directly next to mine. Therefore, I feel fully justified to rant about the pains of living with noisy housemates.

Otamatones - not so cute at 3am ©Jess Astbury

With exams looming around the corner, home should be a place where you can get some work done or relax and sleep after a hard day cramming in the library. However, there's always that one person that just doesn't want you to. Whether they are blasting drum and bass through subwoofers at 2am or practising for a clarinet recital at another ungodly hour in the morning, the curse of the noisy housemate is omnipresent and inescapable.

A favourite experience of mine is being woken up to at 2.30am by the sweet sounds of 'Concerning Hobbits' filtering though my wall being played on a tin whistle. However, it is important to remember that there are two types of noisy housemates. The first, which my housemate was guilty of, is the noisy house mate that is completely oblivious to themselves being noisy. When you inform them that actually playing Lord of the Rings theme tunes on their tin whistle is keeping you awake, they apologise, never do it again and you live happily ever after.

However, it's their no good relative, the happily aware noisy housemate, that will have you running for the hills. No matter how many times you knock on their wall or ask them to be quiet, they will be quieter for a little while but begin again once you have left them alone. It's a fact of life that there are bad people in this world. And these guys are some of them.

Whatever you do, don't sit back and accept being kept up at 3am as just another part of University life. Of course there are times when you will probably just have to suck it up. If your neighbour is playing music in the afternoon but you can't read without complete silence, it would be unfair to complain. Equally, if the floor below is having their annual party it would probably be better to go join them than go running to the provost. The library is there for a quiet-ish place to study but if you work better in your room, it might be wise to invest in a pair of earplugs. Silicone earplugs have saved me from many a night I would otherwise have spent tearing my hair out in frustration.

However, as the decibels rise or the hours laten, noise making turns from a slight annoyance to ASBO-worthy behaviour. The most a lot of people need is for you to tell them that they are disturbing you and they will stop. Just don't wait until the point that you are so wound up you bust down their door and go for their throat. People are much more likely to respect your concerns if you voice them in an equally respectful manner.

If after a few tries this doesn't work and the chosen noise-maker is unapologetic, its time to bring out the big guns. Living in halls, you should have a college tutor who you can talk to or if you are living in your own house, and the neighbours haven't already complained, you could talk to your landlord. It is an issue that should concern them as your contract should have a clause about unreasonable noise-making.

University doesn't have a reputation for raucous drinking and impulsive parties for no reason but it needn't be 24/7. If you're getting to the point where your sleep or work is being affected, don't be scared to voice it. Chances are that if you are being affected, so are other people around you, who may be too scared of being thought of as a fun sponge to say anything. If you're reading this and thinking you don't know any such housemate, it's probably you, so in the politest way I can think of... hush up.

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