Battling Noise Pollution in a Taipei Apartment

Hello all,

I just moved into a new apartment. It’s a nice place, good price on rent, and you can’t beat the location. Only 30-40 meters from an MRT exit. The big problem though is noise. Holy shit. I did not realize it would be this noisy. It is right by a major road in Taipei. It’s not directly on the main road, but a little further back. There are a couple of taller buildings on either side, but the building directly in front of mine is only one story, so all the noise gets funneled to my building and I’m on the side that faces the main road. I am on the fourth floor.

I’ve lived right next to the Dan Ryan Expressway in Chicago before when in university and it wasn’t as bad as this! The constant roar of cars makes it difficult for me to sleep at night. Has anyone faced a similar situation? What did you do? What are some ways to combat the noise pollution? Turning on the air conditioning isn’t an option this time of year, and I’m thinking about getting a fan, but all the department stores keep saying they do not have them because they are seasonal items. I am checking Craigslist and Tealit for people selling them. I have a feeling that this beast will not be tamed by a simple fan. Plus, it’ll make an already drafty apartment that much draftier.

I have also considered ear plugs, but then how will I hear my alarm when it goes off in the morning?

Those are the things I have considered so far, and right now I don’t see a good solution to this. Please can you give me some helpful suggestions from previous experience so I make finally get a good nights sleep without having to get black out drunk. Thanks.

A few years ago, my wife an I rented an apartment close to a noisy road. Before we signed the contract I asked the landlord if he could put a second line of windows and he did.
After that the two rooms facing the road were really quiet.
You could talk to the landlord and offer him a little more rent if he puts a second window. It’s not this expensive.

I live right on the corner of a busy intersection with an elevated highway about at even level with my apartment across the street. On weekday mornings I can judge what time it is when I awake by the level of traffic outside. I sleep with the windows closed always, even if it means running the a/c, which I did last night even though it wasn’t hot. I also keep a Honeywell air purifier (available at Costco) running next to the head of the bed close to me when I sleep. I only run it on low and that’s enough but it can go up to high, which creates a lot of sound. Sometimes I turn on an additional fan in the warm weather. All this creates enough white noise for me to sleep well. Wine and sleeping pills on the weekends helps too. The foam ear plugs let in enough sound to hear a loud alarm clock I think. I like Hamletintaiwan’s suggestion of the windows too.

Good luck!

Yeah I have found an air filter provides enough white noise to drown out traffic. And ear plugs won’t block a high pitched alarm. I use them all the time in China.

Ear plugs worked great for me. Jumped up every morning like Pavlov would have wanted.

Cool, thanks for the suggestions. Will I be able to pick up ear plugs at places like Watson’s, Cosmed and Wellcome?

they are 10 nt at my local pharmacy, look around your neighborhood

OP, I strongly suggest you move. We had an apartment like that for a while, and although you can “get used to it” after a fashion, you don’t realise how badly it’s affecting you until you actually get out. I finally had an epiphany while trying to read and drink a coffee on the sidewalk at a local cafe. The traffic noise was indescribable; then a bloody great truck rolled past and literally made the ground shake. I’d finally had enough. We moved to Danshui, where it’s still noisy, but bearable. My stress levels are down by about 90%.

There are studies out there that reckon ambient noise is directly responsible for a measurable number of deaths. Not sure how they figure that out, but it makes sense to me.

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Sounds like I got ripped off. I just bought some at Watson’s for 50. It came with two sets and a plastic carrying case though.

And to Finley, your anecdote isn’t all that clear with having an epiphany.

I try not to spend too much time in my apartment, and when I’m in there, just try to listen to music or have the TV on and use ear plugs and other white noise to block out the traffic while sleeping.

[quote=“finley”]OP, I strongly suggest you move. We had an apartment like that for a while, and although you can “get used to it” after a fashion, you don’t realise how badly it’s affecting you until you actually get out. I finally had an epiphany while trying to read and drink a coffee on the sidewalk at a local cafe. The traffic noise was indescribable; then a bloody great truck rolled past and literally made the ground shake. I’d finally had enough. We moved to Danshui, where it’s still noisy, but bearable. My stress levels are down by about 90%.

There are studies out there that reckon ambient noise is directly responsible for a measurable number of deaths. Not sure how they figure that out, but it makes sense to me.[/quote]

I used to live across from an orphanage and senior high school. I wanted to kill people, literally, at times, because of the noise. Nothing could block out the loud speakers, the military marches, the endless loop of “Do your ears hang low?” and weekend parades. One day the noise was so thick I felt I could cut it with a knife.

My last two places have been mercifully quiet and yes it makes a world of difference.

[quote=“finley”]OP, I strongly suggest you move. We had an apartment like that for a while, and although you can “get used to it” after a fashion, you don’t realise how badly it’s affecting you until you actually get out. I finally had an epiphany while trying to read and drink a coffee on the sidewalk at a local cafe. The traffic noise was indescribable; then a bloody great truck rolled past and literally made the ground shake. I’d finally had enough. We moved to Danshui, where it’s still noisy, but bearable. My stress levels are down by about 90%.

There are studies out there that reckon ambient noise is directly responsible for a measurable number of deaths. Not sure how they figure that out, but it makes sense to me.[/quote]

I moved in like 10 days ago. How would I be able to get back my deposit money and etc if I did?

I should be able to deal with it. I’m gonna try out the fan and I just did a test run with the ear plugs and alarm earlier today while taking a nap. It worked quite well. Got to sleep with relative ease and heard the alarm that woke me up. It wasn’t that big of a deal when I lived next to the highway in Chicago. I lived on a major road another year in university in Chicago in a semi-ghetto area. My room was in the back so there wasn’t much noise from cars for me, but there were public housing units behind the building and plenty of fights, arrests, and gunshots to be heard.

:idunno: I couldn’t even read a fucking book and have a coffee without Civilization making its presence felt. At that moment I just put the book down, left the coffee on the table, and went home - where it was equally noisy, but at least I could look on the internet for new apartments.

Just saying, life shouldn’t be like that. You shouldn’t HAVE to block out white noise with other white noise. Your body will be in perpetual stress mode even if you think you’re “dealing with it”.

Yea, DONT ever move into an apartment facing a busy street.

They have isolation windows that would work when installed, since the concrete wall does a fairly decent job of blocking noise in itself. The problem is they’re expensive and rare, and so chances are your place won’t have it. Look for a place in a back alley or something. Area of town doesn’t matter so much, I’ve lived in Danshui next to a busy street that was crazy all the time.

If it gets real bad and you don’t care much about sunlight you can always board up the windows with plywood… that would be about the cheapest solution to noise.

If this is an independent choice or is dictated by your job schedule you’re fine. If it’s because you do not enjoy your home due to the noise, you definitely need to move as soon as you can manage.

I lived on the main road with double pane windows… no one could sleep in the room facing the street and we couldn’t watch TV in the living room. Sometimes, no white noise can fake it.

As said, you shouldn’t have to put up with it. The noise interrupts your sleep, even if you don’t consciously notice, and that plus the stress creates heart problems, hence the death statistic.

I live in a quiet alley. We are on top of the MRT but there is enough distance and tall buidlings to shed us from the noise. Yes, sometimes other buildings act as funnels. But we also have a treeline, small but I think it does the trick.

Try to reason with teh landlord. Maybe a health condition is aggravated by this noise? yes, maybe you will lose your deposit, but think about your health, which has no price.

Odd suggestion here. Not sure if they sell this stuff here, but is it possible to buy some insulation and attach them to some boards and place them over the windows to block out the sound? Not sure if they sell it here, since the insulation I’m thinking of is primary used in US construction where it’s placed in the wall before the drywall is screwed in.

I asked for acoustic baffles to be installed in partition walls following a few mods. The builders looked at me, scratched their heads, and said “we don’t do that in Taiwan”. They’re probably not available, because non-load-bearing walls seem to be made of foamed concrete - there isn’t really anywhere to put the baffles, except on the surface of the wall.

You can buy acoustic foams at Taiyuan road near Taipei main station. Don’t trust builders, they really do not know anything except for their routine work.

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[quote=“gavmasterflash”] I moved in like 10 days ago. How would I be able to get back my deposit money and etc if I did?
[/quote]
Hate to say it, but I think the point is, you don’t.

Well, after a rough night last night with only the foam ear plugs, I bought a fan today from someone on Tealit. Going to give this combo a try. I think it’ll work. The plugs cut down on the noise, but it was still very noticeable. Not a good night of sleep. I guess the nap on Sunday wasn’t that good of a test run. So wish me luck tonight. I am hoping this combo works.