Hush Acoustics

Hush: Time to take the health risks of noisy neighbours seriously

  • 6 Apr 2021

To help meet design objectives to address noise nuisance in homes, Hush Acoustics‘ wide range of complete systems can be applied to walls, floors and ceilings of virtually any type of construction.

Whilst health problems as a result of air pollution are being taken more seriously in the UK, it isn’t the same for another form of everyday pollution that poses a danger to human health – noise.

Despite the effects of excessive noise on human health being known for decades, there still seems relatively little appetite amongst governments and regulators to tackle it.

As numerous studies show, the major problems resulting from exposure to noise include cardiovascular disorders, hypertension (high blood pressure), high stress levels, tinnitus, hearing loss and sleep disturbances.

This is why, in some aspects of life, action has been taken to prevent or limit exposure to dangerous noise levels, such as when working in factories or around aircraft.

Hush Acoustics

But how human health is affected when we are unable to get a good night’s sleep as a result of noise from adjoining properties or the external environment is an issue which needs more exploration.

The NHS website sums up why a good night’s sleep is so important

“The cost of sleepless nights is more than just bad moods and a lack of focus. Regular poor sleep puts you at risk of serious medical conditions, including obesity, heart disease and diabetes – and it shortens your life expectancy. It’s now clear that a solid night’s sleep is essential for a long and healthy life.”

One of the problems is that this is an under-researched area of science, so the basis for taking action is not as strong as it is for noise that can be measured consistently, such as that from a busy road.

An interesting study in 2015 by Diana Weinhold of the LSE Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, however, does shines a light on the problem. 

This survey of over 5000 adults in the Netherlands between 2007 and 2013 found surprisingly widespread health effects of residential noise annoyance, with neighbour noise relatively more damaging than street noise.

Diana Weinhold says: “We find strong suggestive evidence that residential noise annoyance, especially neighbour noise, is significantly correlated with health.

“Our results indicate that noise annoyance is associated with increased likelihood of cardiovascular disease through disturbing sleep, higher cholesterol levels, arthritis and other joint and bone disorders, and that loud neighbours is highly related with increased headaches.”

What does this mean for the way we design and build our residential properties? Firstly, it points to a need for far better minimum standards under the Building Regulations across the UK, but there is no sign of this happening any time soon.

Despite there being no legislative driver, architects and developers can still build homes to higher acoustic standards today using materials and fully tested systems that are proven to deliver results.

This should be part of a joined-up approach to building ‘healthy homes’ that are warm, without overheating in summer, with good ventilation for maximum fresh air, safe, secure and quiet.

To help meet design objectives to address noise nuisance in connected homes, there is Hush’s extensive range of complete systems. By adopting these systems – and complementary acoustic insulation products – as the norm, regardless of what the building regulations say, the building industry can transform acoustic standards to create healthier, happier homes.

Hush Acoustics Ltd
Unit 2, Tinsley Industrial Estate
Shepcote Way
South Yorkshire
S9 1TH

Tel: 0114 551 8685
Fax: 0151 944 1146

Visit Hush Acoustics' website

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