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Doctor Called Out For Trying To Soundproof Apartment Because Of Neighbor’s Screaming Baby

Katie Smith/Unsplash

Having to deal with other people’s crying children is never a good time for anyone.

For one woman on Reddit who is working 100 hours per week as a medical resident, her neighbor’s constantly crying newborn keeping her awake was resulting in her falling asleep on her feet at work.

When her attempts to try to rectify the situation quickly escalated to drama, so she wasn’t sure about how she handled it.

So she went to the AITA (Am I The A**hole) subReddit for perspective.

The Original Poster (OP), who goes by the username AvocadoSafe9119 on the site, asked:

“AITA for filing a noise complaint about a single mom with a newborn?”

She explained:

“I (26f[emale]) live in an apartment. I’m a resident in a medical profession and I work 100 hour weeks plus a lot of additional hours of studying and paperwork.”

“I hardly sleep as is. I cannot wear ear plugs because I need to be able to hear my phone when on call or if I’m called about a patient under my care.”

“This happens frequently and I never turn off my phone and only update it when I’m at work. Just for an idea about how strongly I’m attached to my phone.”

“My downstairs neighbour had a baby last month. Since she came home from the hospital I haven’t slept through the night.”

“I’m woken up every 1-2hrs by the baby and this baby screams.”

“I know the mom is trying her best- I’m sure she doesn’t want to be woken up either. But, I’m loosing it.”

“I fell asleep Thursday standing up in the middle of rounds. My attending was not impressed and I was reprimanded. My boyfriend has been encouraging me to file a complaint because it’s not fair I can’t sleep.”

“I have tried to talk directly to my neighbour yo ask if she could stop walking around her whole apartment (I’ve tried sleeping on my couch which is better but mom walks the baby around the apartment) or maybe if there could be some soundproofing done.”

“But every time I’ve had the chance to go to her apartment she’s got a note about the baby sleeping and please don’t knock.”

“I do not have her number or other way to contact her (I feel weird about leaving a note and want to address it in person).”

“So I spoke to my landlord Friday evening. I was very clear that I’m not trying to blame this woman, I just wanted to know if there could be some sound proofing done or something. The landlord said they’d look into options.”

“Well, Saturday I had a day off mandated because I’m now considered a risk to patients which is causing a whole host of issues for me.”

“I was sleeping and woke up to pounding and screaming. The mother was furious with me and kept screaming about how I’m selfish and trying to kick out a single mom, etc.”

“neighbours were watching and I kept trying to explain but she (and the baby) just kept screaming. I lost it. I’m beyond exhausted and just screamed back.”

“I told her her baby is so loud she might cost me my job and that I can’t function anymore because of her and that soundproofing isn’t the end of the world.”

“If she can’t soundproof she should be considerate and f*ck off from apartment living. She started crying and left.”

“I feel awful about it. I know I shouldn’t have yelled. I know that makes me TA.”

“But am I TA for filing a complaint? My impression was the landlord was going to fix the issue not kick her out? I don’t want that.”

People on Reddit were then asked to judge who was in the wrong in this situation based on the following categories:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
  • NAH – No A**holes Here

And though there was a lot of disagreement, most Redditors thought that nobody was truly in the wrong here–this is just a very difficult situation for all parties.

“… NAH. You’re both overly exhausted and the situation sucks on both ends, but neither of you are the true AHs.”

“Additionally you could try soundproofing your bedroom instead, but I think true soundproofing is a bit of a process, and potentially expensive.”

“You could go more cheaply, but it won’t be nearly as effective.” –rainbow_lynnzo

“NTA… TA is the job for those hours.”

“When I watch those fake hospital shows it makes me mad knowing it happens in real life all the time and people make mistakes in those fields bc its the norm to get such little sleep.”

“I also agree the second trouble maker in this story is the apartment complex for lack of sound proofing.”

“Our apartment is super weird. We had a upstairs neighbor who had a baby and we never heard it, but we can hear every step they take and it sounds like everyone is stomping.” –Agreeable_Mention_89

“I expect that both the mother and the OP are severely sleep deprived – and that is why they got into a screaming match.”

“And they are both so tired coming up with solutions is far too much mental work for them at this point.”

“Earplugs might help the OP, as might white noise to help cover the baby crying. OP and the mother could hang something on their walls to help muffle the noise – rugs, maybe.”

“OP is NTA.” –SnooPeripherals2409

“NAH – you chose to live in an apartment, which means you’re going to hear noise. it sounds like the bigger issue is that your schedule does not work with your living situation.”

“Additionally, I don’t mean to be TA by saying this, but if you are that tired that you are being given mandated days off, is there really nothing else to try?”

“stay with your boyfriend? try and get your paperwork and studying done with headphones in while the baby is crying and sleep when it calms?”

“why don’t YOU soundproof YOUR apartment? that is generally what people do when they have issues with noise, rather than asking the noise itself to stop.” –Pristine_Business

Some did feel OP was in the wrong, however, and after reading her fellow Redditors’ responses, she returned to provide some updates.

“EDIT: thank you for the replies. Just to address a couple points”

“Yes working these hours is insane. It’s not ok, but unfortunately the way this field works is you either get on with it or they will fire you and there goes the last decade of my life (matching with another residency is next to impossible).”

“Besides, I want this career. Hopefully it’ll change as the younger generate pushes for change.”

“I live on the top floor of my building. I’ve been here 5 years. There’s been a few families with young kids, including babies, that have lived here over the years.”

“Life sounds never been an issue. This baby is loud and it’s constant. The baby will scream every 2hrs or so and can go on for over an hour most of the time.”

“I DO NOT THINK THE MUM CAN JUST TELL THE BABY TO BE QUIET. I want solutions so I can sleep and that’s it.”

“I have tried soundproofing my apartment- short of tearing up the floor and installing insulation of some kind I’ve done everything I could find online. It has not helped.”

“I hear the baby crying by the way when the mother walks the baby around the apartment- I don’t hear her walking.”

“When the baby is in the bedroom I can sleep through the crying, but when the baby walks over my head I can’t.”

“I cannot just move. Firstly finding the time to move (or the money) is impossible.”

“I have to live 15min from the hospital (why I can’t stay at my boyfriends) and I’m lucky my landlord has kept my rent down (he’s rented to many residents from this hospital for decades and cuts us a break) since I can’t afford anything in this area.”

“I might be a doctor that works a lot, but I don’t even make $40,000 USD a year before taxes (and then take about half of that to our student loans) so moving to a house isn’t an option.”

“Yes I could sleep in an on call room and do occasionally. But as people have said the rooms are awful and they’re not really quiet with all the other residents trying to work/sleep/etc.”

“Plus, I think it’s reasonable to want to go home and sleep when I can. I have to make food, do laundry, call family in private and decompress alone.”

“So driving home and doing that and driving back to sleep for the foreseeable future isn’t going to work.”

“I don’t wake up to vibrations. I need the sound. I have tried noise cancelling earbuds (I don’t like the headphones- I can’t get comfortable) but spend most of the night terrified they’ll fall out and I won’t hear my phone so I don’t sleep.”

“Missing a call is automatic grounds for termination so the fear is very real for me.”

“My landlord called me earlier today and told me he heard about her coming to scream at me. He informed me he had no intention of evicting anyone.”

“He spoke to her about when he could come and soundproof her apartment. He’s been considering doing this for a while and has decided to bite the bullet and soundproof every apartment.”

“Starting with hers as multiple people have mentioned this to him as well. She was never in danger of being evicted. I NEVER WANTED THAT EITHER.”

“Babies cry, but I didn’t sign up for this. I’ve never had this issue (in any apartment I’ve lived in).”

“This is the first complaint I’ve made in over 5yrs besides my shower head breaking. I think soundproofing is valid.”

“Maybe it’ll disrupt this mother, but I’ve decided I don’t care. Long term this will be better for everyone.”

“Yes I’m the a** for yelling at her.”

“I snapped and since everyone keeps saying this woman is exhausted and sleep deprived so I should be understanding I think the same can be said for me.”

“Since I’m awake when she’s awake so sleep deprivation on both ends probably lead to very bad communication on both ends. Hopefully the soundproofing will resolve some issues.”

Here’s hoping OP and her neighbor can find a way to peacefully co-exist.

Written by Peter Karleby

Peter Karleby is a writer, content producer and performer originally from Michigan. His writing has also appeared on YourTango, Delish and Medium, and he has produced content for NBC, The New York Times and The CW, among others. When not working, he can be found tripping over his own feet on a hiking trail while singing Madonna songs to ward off lurking bears.