View Full Version : Could you hear a clock chime next door?

09-13-2014, 07:26 AM
Could you hear a clock chiming from the house next door?

09-13-2014, 07:35 AM
Unanswerable. Depends on proximity of houses, construction of same, whether windows are open or not, loudness of clock, presence or absence of unrelated interfering noise, etc. etc. etc.

If you want your character to hear the clock next door, you make the setting such that he can.


09-13-2014, 07:48 AM
FWIW, I can hear the phone next door ringing even with all windows closed, and I'm not in the nearest room. We have a common wall, (row housing) so it's similar to your situation, but, yes, it would depend on all those things Blacbird mentions.

Karen Junker
09-13-2014, 09:58 AM
I lived in a house once where we could hear conversations from a house that was down in a valley a block or so away (no houses between us) -- someone explained it to me as an effect something like an echo, where sounds can be heard even from pretty far away due to an acoustics kind of thing.

We live in a detached house around 20 feet from the nearest house and we can hear a dog bark in there, even with our windows closed. Previously, we lived in an apartment complex and never heard a thing, except when the upstairs neighbor walked across the floor, and very rarely when his newborn cried.

In Seattle, when I lived there, the houses were much closer together (sometimes 6-10 feet) and we could hear conversations if the windows were open.

So it seems like you could set it up however it would work out for what you want to happen in your story.

09-13-2014, 10:07 AM
I've never heard a clock chime from next door, but if you have houses with thin enough walls that are close enough together, I would fine it plausible.

09-13-2014, 11:05 AM
I've been kept awake by next door snoring. If you want it, it can happen, especially at night and if the clock is loud.

09-13-2014, 12:05 PM
It's nothing to do with thin walls - it's a matter of what the sound is, what other sounds there may be, distance, and the material the sound has to travel through.

We've been very quiet and listened and heard our next door neighbour playing his piano - and our terraced houses were built of granite.

I've never heard a clock chime from next door, but if you have houses with thin enough walls that are close enough together, I would fine it plausible.

09-13-2014, 02:04 PM
It's plausible, especially in the absence of other noise.

09-14-2014, 12:31 PM
I once lived in a Victorian brick terraced house, outer walls double run of brick (laid header and stretcher) and party walls were single skin of brick, with plaster on either side. Neighbour had a chiming clock in their front room and I always thought it was hung on the party wall to my house. You could certainly hear it in my front room - every quarter of an hour too. Can't remember if I could hear it in the upstairs front room, certainly couldn't in the back upstairs room which had a corridor between the party wall and the bedroom which was where I slept as it was quieter away from the street. Not a really noisy street - local traffic, people parking, doors slamming, occasional **** car alarm. More major road two blocks over which gave a steady background hum. House had double glazed windows which reduced sound coming in from the street but didn't eliminate it.

09-15-2014, 04:01 PM
Thanks for your help. Flagging to close.

Don't delete your question. It may be useful to others--but how can it be when it's gone?

09-15-2014, 04:21 PM
I can hear my elderly neighbour's tv, phone and most conversations in his house. I'm kinda reassured that I can hear him as he's been ill and at least I'd hear him calling for help if he fell or something.

I can also hear EVERYTHING that goes on in the house across the street. My other neighbour and I call them 'Mr and Mrs Outdoor Voice.'

Mark G
09-19-2014, 11:10 PM
In the last several places I've lived (houses), it would be impossible to hear a blaring TV next door, much less the chime of a clock. Dual pane glass, heavy insulation, and 20+ feet of landscaping drown out all.

In an apartment, absolutely. With only a thin wall, you can hear everything.

09-30-2014, 04:36 AM
The house directly next to ours on our right, we can hear her talking to her dogs. The house directly to our left, we can't even hear them blasting music. Depends so much on what's around you, the layout of the properties (yours and theirs), etc.

If you want your character to be able to hear it, they can hear it. Or not. Whatever you want, basically.