Whilst we have to accept some road traffic noise, barking dogs and noisy neighbours in today’s urban sprawls, we don’t have to just grin and bear it. Especially when it starts to affect our home life and health.
There are legal remedies you can explore when it comes to noise pollution but if the thought of starting what can be a time consuming and sometimes stressful process there are more practical solutions at hand. Have you ever thought of starting a decibel diet?
Don’t be too quick to dismiss noise as a harmless inconvenience. A recent study of 65,000 people by the Danish Cancer Society Research Centre in Copenhagen found that couples living close to busy streets took from six months to a year longer to conceive than those living in quiet areas. Other studies have linked noise to heart disease and many stress-related conditions.
Taking a Decibel Diet in the Home. How Can You Make Your Life and Home a Little Quieter?
One obvious route is double glazing, or secondary glazing where a second window is installed on the inside of an existing single-glazed one. The air gap is larger between the two panes of glass than with standard double glazing so it can make a major difference
If you do go for double glazing, one little known tip is to choose glass with two different thicknesses because ‘these will vibrate at different rates and be more effective at blocking sound
If you live in an older house, it may be that sound is filtering in through timber-framed tiled walls that were often used in houses built in the Thirties and Forties. Unlike masonry, these walls are not as good at blocking out sound. However, putting a secondary, stud wall on the inside of this section of external wall can make all the difference.
If you’re living in an apartment, you can stop noise travelling by installing what’s known as a floating floor. This is a foam-backed floorboard and should also be done in conjunction with putting insulation in the floor joists. It is also possible to buy sound-blocking acoustic curtains, though any thick fabric will help
Noise Reduction Fence Panels
You can reduce noise by making changes outside, too. New products such as Forest Garden’s Decibel Noise Reduction Fence Panels are an option. Conventional fences have gaps through which sound travels when their boards shrink or expand in changing weather.
Panels like the Decibel Noise Reduction ones reduce noise because their interlocking boards and thick frames ensure there are no gaps through which sound can pass.
Quieter Household Products
There are an increasing number of products that help to reduce noise. Many will have the Quiet Mark (a purple Q symbol), which was established in 2012 alongside the UK’s Noise Abatement Society and which is awarded to the quietest technology and noise-quelling products.
These include specialty doors – acoustic doors – which are said to shut out unwanted sound.
Poppy Szkiler, founder and managing director of Quiet Mark, says: ‘Acoustic design should be made a priority, so we can all live in a healthy aural environment. If we all choose to buy quieter, high-performing products, we can transform our soundscape.’
Building Work Causing a Nuisance?
If there’s building work or other noise nuisance outside, you can still turn to the law.
Work on building sites should take place between 7.30am and 6pm on weekdays, 8.30am and 2pm on Saturdays and not at all on Sundays or bank holidays. With building work, the construction company could apply in advance for consent from the council. However, if they don’t, then the council could serve a notice. If the company fails to comply, they can be prosecuted and fined. Thousands of complaints are logged across the UK against errant builders who try to push the boundaries of noise pollution.
However, be aware that statutory noise nuisance laws don’t apply to noise from traffic or planes.
Now it’s Time to Start Your Decibel Diet
I hope you’ve found some useful ideas for reducing the noise in your and home to start your decibel diet. Got any more ideas? Get in touch to let us know.
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