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How dealing with noise in your home night and day can cause unacceptable damage to your health

The different types of noise nuisance in your home

Home is supposed to be a place of sanctuary. The word connotes a personal space in which to unwind and relax. But many people find that instead, they’re dealing with noise. Most are concerned about creating too much noise, or trying to cope with noise that invades their home. Either way, dealing with noise issues can make it almost impossible for you to relax. What most people don’t realise is that noise can also have an enormous impact on your health. But before we get into the specifics of that, let’s look at the different noise issues you might face.

Noise from neighbours

This is, perhaps, the most common complaint of noise in the home, particularly in modern homes. If you have noisy neighbours, you may find yourself listening to their TV, conversations, or dog. You may even hear them moving around the house as they go about their day.

Lynne and Dave had everything they wanted when they moved into their 1930s semi-detached home with large rooms. They loved the street, and the area was perfect. But then their neighbours installed a TV on a chimney breast on the other side of the party wall. They could hear the TV in every room that adjoined that wall, particularly the rear dining room and back bedroom above. Not only that, but they could also hear their neighbour’s conversations and dog’s feet on the hard wooden floor.

TV on a chimney breast that can leave neighbours dealing with noise

They felt as if they had no privacy and became embarrassed about inviting people around. The last thing they wanted to do at their age was move again – this was supposed to be their forever home. But the noise was unbearable. They looked around but couldn’t find another house they liked. They were in the home they wanted and just needed the noise to stop.

This situation will be familiar to many up and down the UK. But it’s not the only type of noise you may face.

Environmental noise

Even if you live in a rural detached property, you might not escape dealing with noise. Environmental noise tends to enter through windows or roofs. This is the hum of cars near a busy road, trains rattling past on a nearby railway line, or even aeroplanes flying over when you’re on a flight path.

This was the issue Steve and Natalie faced when they moved into their beautiful barn conversion in the Cotswolds. They were within walking distance of a lovely village, but the barn had only a small front garden. This meant road noise from passing traffic plagued them. In the bedroom, you could feel the vibrations as tractors drove past. You could also hear conversations outside, particularly from those on the school run. If a car drove past at night, it would wake Steve up.

It was only a month before the stress and sleep disruption became so much they were looking at moving again. The level of noise nuisance made little sense to them – the barn had very thick walls. It was only when they researched soundproofing that they realised the roof materials and construction used during the renovation were amplifying the noise outside.

Considerate neighbour noise

This type of noise issue is slightly different and relates more to the type of noise you might make. Do you remember Lynne with the noisy neighbours from earlier? Well, Lynne was also worried about disturbing her neighbours. If she could hear everything they were doing, surely they could hear her too. It was such a concern she worried about having the grandchildren visit in case they were too noisy and disturbed their neighbours.

A stereo switched off because they don't want their neighbours dealing with noise

If you’re a considerate neighbour, you probably worry about making too much noise. Perhaps you have a hobby such as playing the guitar, or perhaps you just love loud music. However, if you’re concerned about noise travelling through a party wall, you might stop doing some of these things. Our homes are supposed to be a relaxing environment where we can enjoy our interests. All too often, poor soundproofing prevents us from doing so.

Health implications of dealing with noise

We can all agree that noise can annoy us – some noises irritate us more than others. But dealing with noise is much more than just an inconvenience. In fact, in her report ‘Sick of noise: The health effects of loud neighbours and urban din’, Diana Weinhold found ‘a variety of health outcomes including cardio-vascular symptoms, joint and bone disease, and headache’. Noise causes us stress and a lack of sleep. This can lead to issues such as high blood pressure, which itself has other health implications.  

When it comes to environmental noise, things look no better. Doctor Clark points out in ‘Aircraft noise effects on health’ that ‘a recent review suggested that risk for cardio-vascular outcomes such as high blood pressure (hypertension), heart attack and stroke increases by 7 to 17% for just a 10dB increase in aircraft or road traffic noise exposure’.

The implications are clear. If noise is leaving you stressed out, or making you lose sleep, then your health is at risk. But what can you do about it?

Your noise-free home

Both case studies we’ve looked at considered moving as an option. However, in the end, they decided to improve their home accoustics with soundproofing. Dave and Lynne chose to have us soundproof a room upstairs first before also doing the downstairs dining room. After, they could no longer hear their neighbours in these rooms. For Steve and Natalie, soundproofing involved a huge compromise as it involved covering up some of the barns’ beautiful oak rafters. We left as many exposed as possible, and the results were so good, Natalie had to look out the window to see if a car was passing.

If you too want a noise-free home, then get in touch to book your free noise diagnosis. Alternatively, have a read of our founder’s book, The Noise Free Home, to find out more about noise reduction and soundproofing.   

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