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We are considering buying an apartment. Most apartments have the kid's bedroom separated from the living room by only a thin wall.

We are concerned about implications, in particular noise due to people talking or watching a movies past the child's bedtime. We do not have a child yet, so this question concerns potentially all ages from age 0 on.

  • Do children get used to low-volume noise while trying to fall asleep and/or while sleeping?
  • Under the assumption that they get used to it, would it significantly influence the quality of their sleep?
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Contrary to what you might think, children sleep well with a certain level of noise, especially if it's the familiar sounds of the family doing whatever they usually do or the voices of people they trust. It can be very reassuring, especially for smaller children. That's the reason some parents leave bedroom doors open a small crack: You hear the baby/child, child hears you, everyone is reassured that everything is ok. (Note that some babies can be pretty noisy in their sleep, too: they sigh, snore, grunt, babble or moan... Can be terrifying or confusing at first, but you get used to your baby's typical sounds soon.)

Yet this is no free pass for shoddy sound isolation in the walls: While some noise is fine, I wouldn't want a child exposed to the sound effects of a typical Hollywood Blockbuster action or horror movie - screams, gunfire and explosions IMHO shouldn't be part of any child's dream soundtrack. I know a few parents that invest in a white noise machine to somewhat "even out" TV sounds or external noise.
And one day said child will be a teenager - unless you don't want to watch a presidential debate with a background choir of Heavy Metal, Rap or whatever, good insulation is a must. And while you can have one teenager wear headphones, a method to silence a bunch of giggling teenage girls hasn't been invented yet, afaik.

(I'm fully aware that construction methods and standard floor plans vary a lot over the world and you didn't say where you live, so work with whatever is available at your locale. )

  • This is a nice answer, just let me add that when buying an appartment, adding an isolation with dry lining and some mineral wool can be sufficient and might, depending on your skill, also be doable by yourself. On top, you might be able to lay those new HDMI and loudspeaker cables for your surround system in the living room. – martin Aug 24 '15 at 7:43
  • We have a HEPA filter fan for our son's room, and it seems to provide sufficient white noise on top of cleaning the air. – user11394 Aug 24 '15 at 19:12
  • Also note that if used to, some kids are really heavy sleepers. I am pretty sure that my kids sleep through just about anything (loud music, dogs barking, car alarms...), while some of my friends kids wake up at the slightest sound. – Ida Aug 25 '15 at 19:38

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