It is a truth universally acknowledged that a quiet home, free from noisy neighbours and roads, is a place of relaxation and comfort. Imagine not dealing with noise. You come home after a hectic day and shut the door on the world. There are no more noisy lorries, sirens or car horns – they just melt away. You sit down in your lounge or kitchen, kick off your shoes and soak up the silence while sipping your drink of choice. You can feel your pulse slow, blood pressure come down, and the day’s headache slipping away. Now, you can relax.
But for many homeowners, that can seem like a pipe dream. Their home does not offer peace and quiet. Instead, they can hear children next door, pounding up and down the stairs next to the party wall. Somewhere outside, a dog barks incessantly, the high-pitched noise grating on your nerves. The queue of traffic outside rumbles away and the bass beating from one of the car stereos vibrates through your walls. It leaves you feeling uncomfortable and unsettled in your own home.
Dealing with noise – the evidence
The truth is that when we are most in need of a stress-free sanctuary, our lives and homes have actually become noisier. According to the charity, MIND, “The amount of people with common mental health problems went up by 20% between 1993 to 2014,” and “1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem of some kind each year in England.”
The recent pandemic has only compounded these issues. Not only were many left feeling lonely and disconnected, but there was a vast increase in the number of people working from home. This, of course, led to more noise from neighbours, disrupting people’s peaceful homes. A study into noise in homes during the pandemic discovered that when it came to working from home, “the most frequent negative judgments were associated to noise from people at home, followed by traffic noise, neighbours, construction works, and noise generated by people outside”. And for “impacts on relaxation, neighbours’ noise featured as the most frequently mentioned source with a negative connotation, followed by traffic noise, and people at home”.
In other words, noise at home has made it harder for us to work and reduced our ability to relax, neither of which is conducive to good mental wellbeing. But this is not a pandemic-isolated problem. In fact, a systematic review found that five studies “showed noise from different sources (traffic, surrounding area, neighbourhood and indoor noise) was statistically significantly related to depressive mood after adjustments for individual characteristics”.
But what can you do about this? Is it possible to create that ‘pipe dream’ of a quiet home?
The WRONG way to reduce noise in your home
When plagued with noisy neighbours or road noise, the first thing many people do is to look into noise reduction methods, such as soundproofing. They often consider acoustic glazing to reduce outside noise pollution and party wall soundproofing, so they no longer need to listen to their neighbours’ daily habits and conversations.
But regardless of whether they choose to go down the DIY soundproofing route or even hire a professional, the results are usually disappointing. For example, applying sound insulation material to just the party wall will only result in a slight reduction in noise. It will only filter out light conversation and airborne noises, and sounds at high frequencies. It certainly won’t be enough to reduce your stress and blood pressure, or to allow you to relax.
This is because most people don’t fully understand how noise travels through our home (hint – it’s not just through the party wall or windows). Indirect paths such as the ceiling, floor, external window walls, chimney stack and any walls that are perpendicular to a party wall also transmit large amounts of noise. Plus, once the noise reaches a certain number of decibels, it enters the structure of the building and travels through this too.
How to reduce noise in your home the RIGHT way
Most soundproofing methods and companies only focus on reducing noise from its direct path. Unfortunately, this only accounts for about 30% of noise being transmitted. If you really want peace and quiet, then dealing with noise in your home requires a 4-step soundproofing method.
You need to consider the:
- Main cause
- Direct paths
- Indirect paths
- Fixtures and fittings.
By tackling all 4 of these areas, you get to enjoy a noise reduction of 80% or more.
Let’s be honest for a minute, though. This kind of soundproofing work doesn’t come without its drawbacks. While we carry out the work, there will be noise, dust and disruption. Treating walls also results in a very slight loss of space. Plus, there is obviously a cost involved. Many customers choose to soundproof a room or two rather than the entire house for this reason.
Despite these drawbacks, though, soundproofing is preferable to the other options you have. You could choose to move home. However, soundproofing a room or home is far less disruptive than this and it costs less. We also complete the work in weeks rather than the months a house move takes. Plus, you get to design your dream room or home and the space loss is barely noticeable.
Alternatively, you could do nothing. But if you don’t make any changes, then you’re stuck with the unwanted noise. This continues to disturb your sleep and stress you out. However, proper home soundproofing from Quietco, puts you in control of the noise around you. You no longer have to listen to the sounds that cause you stress or headaches, and instead you can listen to the things that bring you joy and peace.
In other words, you get to continue living in the home you love, and it supports you and your family’s mental wellbeing. That is priceless.