annoyed by neighbour

Hello all, I’m looking for some help because my neighbour is a pain in the arse. I’ve had hammering on my ceiling at all hours and banging and crashing around. Plus he has made threats. Enviromental health looked into my complaint, but he fed them a load of crap, and blamed someone else for the noise, and when noise recording equipment was installed, he let the enviromental health workers in while they were holding their kit. I managed to record nothing. He would bang bang bang and wake me up. And I was supposed to run across room to press record. It didn’t happen so he carried on and got away with everything. By everything I mean he would bang bang bang and slam toilet seat every 15 mins, do daffy duck whoooo ooooo impressions at the top of his lungs over and over, and he would annoy a cockatiel until it shouted at the top of its lungs. That damn thing was high pitched and would wake me up from what was already a really bad nights nap. Recently new neighbours moved in above him and he has stopped some of the bang bang bang stuff, and obvious noise that others might hear. He does however make floor boards squeak and walk about in heavy boots. There is also a rumble of vibration coming from above. SOMETIMES he seems to do his laundry at 3am and I can hear his washing machine in the background. Its not loud loud loud, but in the early hours of the morning I am aware of it. The vibration I can hear or feel is different though. I’ve tried recording some sounds using audacity. Honestly I have no clue what its telling me though. What exactly am I recording ?? how loud is it ?? and would it be audible to most people or have I become sensitive to sound because this guy basically attacked me out of the blue at random times in the middle of the night…I bet anyone reading this would sh*t themselves if someone repeatedly shouted in your ear at different times through the night. Well its the same thing when a hammer goes bang bang bang. it causes a heart attack and a lot of anxiety.

Anyways rant over (: what would be appreciated is some help to read these different figures and frequency readings ? what do they actually mean ? Also if anyone can clean a recording up for me that would be very helpful. Audacity seems to have recorded a conversation between the guy above and his kid. She visits him every now and then…but he is mostly a loner that sits indoors all day watching wwe and jeremy kyle !! In this instance something is said about not doing something because he’d get 15-20 years if he did. Can anyone tell what he is saying ?? I’d be very grateful if you can let me know what you think is said and been recorded !!! whatever is being picked up by audacity is being picked up in a small block of flats. My tv etc is usually off and a lot of recordings have been done in the early hours of the morning. I’m knackered and lacking sleep so figuring out whats what is harder than it might be. Besides that having time to play around with audacity isn’t easy to find. Perhaps I should send the audio upstairs to the recluse ceiling banger ??. Maybe he can tell me what is going on !! lol


As policy, we don’t help with recordings for legal purposes (including covert recordings) and for management of person to person disputes.

Someone not on Audacity Team may or may not be willing to help you. However my advice is to get a lawyer and a proper Sound Pressure Level measuring instrument for measuring the volume of the banging. Take the measurements to the authorities (or have them do the measurements again from your own property). Arbitrary recordings using a general purpose microphone are not calibrated to any known reference point and will have no legal standing.

To decipher covered up words, search for “audio forensics” specialists online. Only evidence by an audio forensics specialist will be legally admissible.

If you are concerned for your safety, contact law enforcement.


Hi Gale, thanks for your reply and input. Probably the least important bit of everything ! but a decent mic might be calibrated and therefore give more accurate readings ? that could possibly be translated into something a simpleton might understand. Knowing what might be going on above my head would be helpful because I could show enviromental health officers something different to bang bang bang is happening. They might investigate my complaint again then. Police have been involved but they just said because the guy was in his flat and doesn’t seem to mention me by name or anything like that. He could be talking about anyone, or more to the point, just talking rubbish about tv. No threat was made apparently. I know thats not the case. His windows were open and he said something that did refer to me. That may be recorded it may not. I have told my neighbour he is being recorded…or rather anything audible by ear or by bog standard laptop in my property is being recorded. Enviromental health told him he would be recorded and could be at anytime. My guess is he gets away with being a pain over and over again. And now feels he can just talk crap and do what he wants. The people above him were blamed for everything after I complained about him. He didn’t say what noise what are you on about its peaceful here !! no !! he stuck it to an innocent pregnant lady !! he and his mum would ring her intercom and mine and annoy us both. Fortunately she managed to move out shortly after complaints and hassle. Unfortunately she doesn’t want to be involved and won’t talk to anyone about intercom ringing and comments made towards her.

It would be nice to put an end to his behaviour. He is a recluse. Go quiet get in bed and he makes himself known. Bad sleep (if any) and then he wakes me up again. Go out all day (often for 20hrs) come back to him banging (or using washing machine…or making something vibrate). Someone that knows what their looking at/hearing might be able to tell foot steps from dropping stuff and washing machines from speakers or blenders. Should anyone read this and want to help they can message me and hopefully we can figure something out.


Maybe contact your local-council’s “anti-social behaviour team”, but don’t get your hopes up …
The cost of putting someone in a prison-cell/padded-cell is a multiple of the cost of them at-liberty on-welfare.
So there is financial pressure to leave them where they are.

An Audacity display may not be admissible in court, but it would be something to show environmental-health / “anti-social behaviour team”, the that the noises were occurring in the small hours.

You may not know about Audacity’s spectrogram display : it shows the frequency-content of the sound, so you can see what type of sound, (e.g. speech or a bang), occurred from the pattern on the spectrogram.

Below I’ve made a duplicate-copy of of an 80 minute recording, so one copy shows waveform, and the other the spectrogram of the same recording …
Demo of duplicate track then spectrogram display.gif

Thanks for your reply and video. Ive got a few screen shots of various the various views available on audacity. these are taken from a 1am and a late evening recording. Something heavy is dropped on the floor. This can happen once every 10mins…sometimes more sometimes less. Can you tell me how loud that bang is please ? would be much appreciated (:


This is the whole point. Your recordings are not calibrated. There is no Sound Pressure reference level.

You can drag-select the bang and Effect > Amplify… . The opposite sign of the “Amplification (dB)” level is the volume with reference to 0 dB full scale, where that 0 dB reference level is the level above which digital sound distorts. It tells you nothing about how loud the sound was in Sound Pressure and tells no-one anything other than the microphone recorded a bang somewhere.

I don’t know why Environmental Protection could not set up video/audio recording and a Sound Pressure Meter before in your apartment, but I suggest you ask them to do that.


Just for your information, here are What the Spectrogram colors mean.


And yes, you can calibrate your microphone, but step one is compare it to a Sound Level Meter.
Radio Shack offered a digital one for a while, then they changed the model and now I don’t think they offer it at all any more.


ok thanks for your replies and info. Enviromental health were involved and did place recording kit inside my flat. Trouble was the guy was told he would be recorded, and then he let them in while they had noise kit in their hands. He would still bang at random points in the early hours of the morning…but I had to jump out of my skin, sort my head out, and then try find their machine in the dark. They didn’t leave a remote to start it. However they tried again with a remote. I still managed to fail at gathering evidence.

At this point in time I was exhausted from lack of sleep and from feeling anxious. Honestly get someone to shout boo in your ear out of the blue at random points during the night…After a week you will start to expect boo in your ear and probably wont sleep well waiting for it to happen. for full effect try press find something the size of a car alarm remote and press it. Its impossible to get head together after being made to jump out of bed mid sleep. Even if the person promises to stop trying to scare you awake, you wont trust them NOT to try booing or banging whenever they feel like it !!

I’m basically going to have to try sort this problem myself or I will need to move. The latter would be easier, but I dont fancy moving right now !! besides audacity seems an interesting useful piece of kit !!! its worth trying to learn a bit more about it anyways (:

thanks again for your input…

Ideally any recording-device should run continuously : 24/7.
A cheap voice-recorder (~£15) will run for ~8 hours on a fully-charged battery.
Just before you go to bed, start it recording, then say the date, time & location into it.
If there are any loud noises overnight they should be recorded.
Then next day you can download the 8 hour recording into Audacity and use the waveform & spectrogram displays to show when the noises happened.
[ An 8 hour recording could take ~15 minutes to transfer to the computer ]

And again, recordings made with uncalibrated equipment amount to little more than incidental hearsay. If environmental health can’t help further, I would contact a lawyer as to what steps you can take to gather evidence.