The $4 Solution That Saved Me from Noisy Neighbors—and Helped Me Get the Best Sleep of My Life

published Aug 6, 2019
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Credit: Per Swantesson/Stocksy

When you live in an apartment building, chances are you’re going to hear noise coming at you from all sides. You know, the guy in 4D rehearsing his cabaret act on the piano. The young couple who just moved into 4G and are constantly hosting parties. And the garbage truck that roars around every morning at 5 am. Yes, gentle reader, these were all things I experienced in my last New York City apartment and exactly what prompted me to move seven years ago.

But within a month, I got a rude awakening—quite literally—from the woman upstairs. She would—and still does—frequently come home at 12:30 am and stomp around for 30 minutes, drop things, and, occasionally, drag furniture across the floor as she vacuums. And the once-empty, quiet backyard outside my window? Filled with partying college-age kids every weekend from late spring through early fall.

Realizing that none of this was going away any time soon—and damned if I was (moving is expensive!)—I sought a solution. After much trial and error, I tested out some silicone earplugs. And I finally found my precious.

I’m not talking about just any silicone earplugs, though. The best ones, I’ve found, are Mack’s Pillow Soft Silicone Putty Earplugs. For starters, once you press them in, they stay put, so you won’t wake up in the middle of the night suddenly unplugged. They’re also super comfortable and just the right size.

But the best thing about Mack’s is that they live up to their promise and truly block out just enough extraneous sound—the irritating stuff—so that it doesn’t disturb you. I wear them to bed nightly so I’m not jarred awake when the roller derby kicks off upstairs in the middle of the night (and yes, I can still hear my alarm go off in the morning and have never slept through it). And on the weekend, I’ll pop them in at the first cry of a frat boy’s “Woo!” so that I can read or watch TV in peace while they play beer pong for hours below my window.

It may sound a bit much, but these earplugs have truly saved my sanity, allowing me to sleep better and be more relaxed not only in my apartment but also when I travel. I always toss them in my carry-on in case my hotel has thin walls, and they’ve definitely been a life-saver when I’ve been on flights. A word of caution, though: Be sure to remove the earplugs before the initial descent; otherwise, the pressure from your ears popping has nowhere to go but back inside, and it feels like your head is going to implode. Lesson learned.