Obviously our audio equipment makes a bit of noise - that's what it's there for! The question is, though: how much is too much?
What you consider an acceptable amount of residential noise may be an annoyance to your neighbours. Not only that, but over time excessive noise can even have a negative impact on health – especially when it disturbs your sleep.
Residential noise can include anything from audio equipment, to cars, lawn mowers, tools, swimming pool pumps or air conditioners. It's usually considered to be disturbing when it's too loud, continues for long periods, or occurs at inappropriate times.
If you are worried that you are making too much noise, you should contact your local council, who can advise you on an acceptable volume and the times of day during which you can make a bit of noise.
For example, in Victoria, the Environment Protection (Residential Noise) Regulations 2008 state that any electrical amplified sound reproducing equipment (including stereos, radios, and televisions) should not be used in a way that they can be heard from inside a habitable room in a neighbour's house between these times:
- Monday to Thursday: before 7am and after 10pm.
- Friday: before 7am and after 11pm.
- Saturday and public holidays: before 9am and after 11pm.
- Sunday: before 9am and after 10pm.
This doesn't necessarily mean that the hi-fi can be blasted at stadium levels outside of these times though. Noise can be considered unreasonable at any time of day, especially if it continues for too long, or is too loud.
Any noise that disturbs your neighbours throughout their living and recreation areas can cause a problem for both of you, so consideration should be taken to keep noise at an acceptable level whenever possible. Beyond the rules, if you expect your neighbours to respect you, it's important that you pay them the same courtesy.
If you think that you are listening at a reasonable level, but are still disrupting your neighbours, you might also consider a soundproofing solution.