“Of all the problems that beset apartment owners and take first-time high-rise dwellers by surprise, noise is the most common and varied complaint. Noise is accepted to be the fastest growing type of pollution in modern cities, and its effect on our mental and emotional health has a direct influence on our physical well-being, through everything from lack of sleep to increased stress. But when that noise comes from people who live under the same roof as you, what can you do? Plenty!........... Australia has one of the lowest noise reduction standards in the developed world, running about 10 to 20 percent behind most of Europe.” [Apartment Living (2004) Sue Williams pp 171]
Exposure to noise has been linked to sleep deprivation, annoyance and health issues such as hypertension and heart disease. Apartment or unit living is difficult enough and with excessive noise penetrating through windows, floors, ceiling, walls, doors and even through water pipes the experience can be extremely unpleasant.
What you think of as unbearable noise, your neighbour may find soothing, entertaining or comforting. The timing of the noise could also have a large impact on its acceptability. The next door buildings air-conditioning fans may be OK during working hours, but when they kick on at 7pm till midnight you may have a problem.
Different apartments are built to different standards, so check both the insulation between apartments before you buy and the minutes of the owners corporation to make sure none of your neighbours have been the subject of complaints.