Did you know that UK adults lose a staggering 84.1 million hours of sleep every week as a direct result of noisy neighbours? Well, so says new research. This research has been conducted by an insurance company, so just how accurate or scientific it is could be up for debate, but it does make for interesting reading if like me, you’re doing everything you can to stay indoors and avoid the woes of hay fever.
According to this research, 25% of adults lose sleep due to noise caused by noisy neighbours and are deprived of an average of six and a half hours every week, which is the equivalent of almost an entire night’s sleep for most people – students excluded. Men apparently lose more sleep because of noisy neighbours than women do, with seven hours six minutes lost compared to six hours.
A sound test conducted by the researchers revealed that the most annoying noise from a neighbour was bass-driven music, with 43% of Brits reporting this as the sound that made their blood boil the most, followed closely by the sound of couples arguing, which 34% of respondents said was their biggest pet peeve. So if you live next to a couple who can’t agree whether to list to Bach or Skrillex, you’re in for some sleepless nights.
Women found DIY activities more annoying than men, with drilling and hammering being the most irritable (34% vs 23% and 25% and 22% respectively). I know certainly in my household, it’s not just the noise of drilling and hammering that annoys my partner, but the quality of the work too! I wonder how much of that played a part in these responses. And in typical British fashion, just a fifth of those who took part in the research actually made the effort to go and speak to their neighbours about the noise they were making. We’re such a polite bunch!
13% of people had lodged a noise nuisance complaint with their local council (for which Cirrus’ Trojan2 Noise Nuisance Recorder is particularly helpful), whilst 8% had gone one step further and involved the police. Now these figures are interesting but the methodology of the research could be questioned here. Cirrus conducted its own UK-wide research via a series of Freedom of Information requests to investigate how many noise nuisance complaints were logged between 2015 and 2016. Our figures, which came directly from local authorities across the UK, suggested that nowhere near 13% of the population had complained about noisy neighbours – that would be roughly 7.5 million complaints! Our research also took account of other sources of noise nuisance, such as those from industry, leisure and manufacturing.
Local councils have powers to intervene in a neighbour dispute if statutory nuisance is involved. They have a duty to investigate the matter, which can result in a noise abatement order being issued to the offending party. If the noise doesn’t cease the local authority can go further with legal action; culprits can face fines of up to £5,000 with legal costs on top. A quick search on Google will uncover some rather interesting cases that made it to magistrates’ court.
To round off the research, the findings suggest that 41% of Londoners lose sleep because of their noisy neighbours, which is by far the highest proportion of people in any region across the country. It’s estimated that those living in the capital lose eight hours 55 minutes of sleep each week because of their neighbours’ shenanigans, which again is equivalent to roughly an entire night’s sleep a week. Surprisingly, those living in Scotland are also negatively affected by noisy neighbours, with people on average losing eight hours 11 minutes of sleep per week.
The regions which appear to be least affected by noisy neighbours are the West Midlands, whose residents lose four and a quarter hours each week, and Northern Ireland who lost four and a half hours. Obviously this has a lot to do with population density, but it doesn’t come as a surprise that the more populated an area, the louder it is and the more likely someone is to cause a disturbance by being too loud. I’m pleased to say that God’s Own County, Yorkshire, didn’t feature very high in our list, so it would appear I’m on for a good night’s sleep tonight – unless of course the football goes to extra time and penalties again.
My final thought on this would be why an insurance company took the time and expense to conduct this research in the first place; as much as we’d all like to, you can’t insure against a bad night’s sleep.
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