Finns are understanding neighbours

YIT Corporation Press release 25 January 2021 at 08:00 a.m.

 The noise heard from next door is most often related to social gatherings or housework.
The noise heard from next door is most often related to social gatherings or housework.

A recent survey reveals that, even though Finns are often annoyed by the noise caused by neighbours, about half of us are also glad to hear sounds from next door. Most often, those sounds are related to social gatherings or housework.

Even though noise from next door may be irritating, it also evokes positive feelings, reveals a recent YIT survey* that received responses from a thousand Finns. The noise heard from next door is most often related to social gatherings or housework. While about 42% found their neighbours’ sounds unpleasant, 51% were glad to hear the voices of other people.

“A popular Finnish artist was throwing a party and they were singing a familiar song when I woke up to breastfeed. It was nice to know I wasn’t the only one awake,” says one respondent.

Music and more intimate moments

The noises we hear through our walls often come from bathroom visits, the television, radio and music – and of course sex.

“I remember a time when an older couple upstairs would usually get busy after watching Dallas,” says one respondent.

About half of the respondents were happy about the sounds coming from next door as it made them feel like they don’t have to tiptoe around their apartment either. In fact, nearly 70% of respondents were worried about making noise that their neighbours might hear. Of all respondents, 55% reported that they have sometimes tried to muffle the sounds coming from their apartment.

Nearly 27% of respondents reported feeling safe when they hear noise from next door. People are also interested in what goes on in neighbouring apartments; 13% of respondents reported enjoying listening to their neighbours, and nearly as many said they have sometimes turned down their radio or television to better hear what the neighbours are doing.

People have compassionate and personal feelings towards their neighbours. Of all respondents, 22% reported feeling compassion for a neighbour due to something they have heard.

Living next door to Tarzan and Jane

A slightly surprising result of the survey shows that Finns prefer complaining about disruptive noise to their neighbours face to face rather than by leaving an anonymous note. Of all respondents, 57% stated they had visited a neighbour to talk about noise, whereas 47% revealed they had sometimes knocked on the walls or radiators.

“We climbed the stairs from the 5th floor to the 7th floor to kindly inform our neighbour that they were playing the same Kake Randelin song for the fifth time in a row. He said he would stop playing the song and, in turn, asked us to stop giggling so much,” says one respondent.

Finns also have a tendency to give their neighbours nicknames based on the sounds they hear. Some of the nicknames include Screamer, Concubine, Disco King, Metalhead, Gassy, Casanova and Tarzan and Jane.

“The range of sounds heard is quite wide, with some respondents hearing more of their neighbours’ life than they would perhaps like, while others never hear anything. Many of the results were predictable, but we were surprised by Finns’ positive attitude towards their neighbours. Nearly one third of respondents reported feeling safe when hearing sounds from next door,” says Pekka Helin, Vice President, Living Services at YIT. “When buying an apartment, people tend to pay attention to sound insulation. Over the decades, the developments in building regulations have made new apartments for example quieter and more energy efficient.”

Commissioned by YIT and executed by the market research agency Bilendi, the purpose of the survey was to investigate how Finns hear their neighbours. The survey focused on apartment buildings and was taken by 1,000 respondents around Finland on 18–21 November 2020.

Read more about the survey’s results (In Finnish)

Further information:
Pekka Helin, Vice President, Head of Customerships and Living Services, YIT Finland Ltd, tel. +358 40 588 8135,
Johanna Savolainen, Communications Manager, YIT Corporation, tel. +358 (0)44 305 4594,

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