Noise pollution was a big issue for 2019. With over 99.8 billion noise complaints in New York and 1.3 million in San Francisco just last year, people are definitely talking about it. Google searches for “soundproof” have more than doubled since 2009. We can hear you now, everyone.
Noise is growing because of the way we lead our lives, demand data, products, and services. How do we get relief? Indow has compiled a lot of research on reducing noise pollution this last year and put together resources to help everyone make this next decade a quieter one.
The Dangers of Noise Pollution
How bad is noise pollution for your health? Research indicates that loud, stressful sounds stimulate the amygdala, the portion of the brain that regulates one’s survival instincts. This triggers your body’s “fight or flight” response, which means you experience an adrenaline surge. Without even being aware of it, your heart rate and blood pressure may reach unusually high levels.
The World Health Organization (WHO) says: Environmental noise exposure is responsible for a range of health effects, including increased risk of ischaemic heart disease as well as sleep disturbance, cognitive impairment among children, annoyance, stress-related mental health risks, and tinnitus.
WHO says that traffic noise is the biggest issue, increasing its impact in cities. This reaches us on the streets and into our homes. Gayle learned how to soundproof a window from traffic noise when her double-panes couldn’t stop it.
When noise is taking over your home, where else do you have to turn for quiet? Our quiet spaces are disappearing and the health risks associated with noise pollution become just one more chore to deal with.
How to Reduce Noise Pollution
Learn how sound works. The more you know about how sound travels, the better you can reduce noise pollution and absorb it once it enters your space. Getting uninterrupted relaxation time or quiet in your home office is invaluable.
Learn the basics of soundproofing windows to get comfort in your own home. Soundproof window treatments are simple and add both noise blocking and absorption to your space. Because windows are the most likely source for letting sound into your home, they are a good place to start with soundproofing.
Consider noise pollution solutions in your next home remodel. It might feel like a large investment, but adding these brings you immediate relief and a higher value to your home. If you aren’t ready for a remodel, use these common soundproofing solutions in the meantime.
No matter where the noise is coming from, unless it’s coming from inside your house, you can file a complaint with the city. The better you know your city’s noise ordinances and filing system, the better response you will receive. You cannot complain about animal noises in the same place you can complain about construction noises. Learn how to file a noise complaint online (and anonymously if your issue is with your noisy neighbor).
Community Action & Prevention of Noise Pollution
In New York, people use an app called Hush City to seek out quiet spaces in the chaos of traffic, yelling, and construction. It’s open source, so users are encouraged to add their experiences of different settings so others can rush to find a quiet spot.
People are desperate for quiet, and they are willing to work together to find it.
Soundproofing and noise complaints can help us individually protect our own spaces. Noise pollution is a matter of community health and welfare. Noise ordinances are confusing and hard to enforce. After you’ve filed your noise complaint, talk to your neighbors. They might be suffering in similar ways and your community action could help reform noise codes.