Noise pollution can generally be described as the production of any repetitive, unwelcomed, or displeasing sounds. Once it's an unwanted sound, it can simply be categorised as noise, and noise tolerance levels vary from person to person. A wide range of noises can be categorised as pollution, but common examples include loudspeakers, road traffic, air traffic, construction, electrical appliances, and even your neighbourhood.
Imagine you come home after a long day of work to an excessively noisy neighbourhood, where the chance to take a silent break is almost impossible. From kids screaming outside to the sound of commercials blasting from the television, the feeling of frustration is hard not to miss. When noise pollution starts negatively impacting your daily activities and your peace of mind, that’s when it becomes important to find effective ways to tackle the intrusion. With that said, here are some practical ways to minimise noise pollution in your immediate surroundings at home.
Effective home insulation
Sometimes, you don't want to have anything over your head while you lounge in your abode. In such instances, you might consider redesigning your spaces to have some form of insulation, separating your internal environment from what's happening outside.
Soundproofing your home is a practical way to curb noise pollution in the home, as it works to block all sound vibrations and noises. Liaise with a designer or contractor to decide whether you go in for floors, ceilings, walls, or a mix. Soundproofing can also be done on your windows which is highly effective for aircraft noise reduction if your home is near your local airport, for example. Double-glazed windows, are also known to absorb alot of outdoor noise.
Implement no noise zones
No noise zones are geared towards minimising noise pollution within your neighbourhood. To reduce noise within your home and the entire neighbourhood, 'no horn zones' need to be implemented near residential areas, schools, and hospitals. These zones are typically created by the local government and are emphasised as strict rules that come with repercussions when violated. No horn zones will reduce unwanted noise in your home and the neighbourhood while keeping students and residents safe and secure from accidents.
Be intentional with your interior layout
There are instances where you cannot alter your building makeup, yet you still need to keep noise at bay. For such homeowners, you might have to get a little creative with how you design your interior spaces. This can be a DIY project, or you can seek help from a professional interior designer. Choose an interior layout that keeps all noisy machines away from the 'quiet' spaces such as home offices, studies, or bedrooms. Categorising your home and segregating noisy and quiet areas is an innovative way to curb noise pollution without making any monetary commitment. It is also considered a smart way to design modern homes and offices.
Consider energy-efficient appliances
Another major cause of noise pollution within homes is noisy home appliances. Reducing noise in your home might look like changing old appliances and replacing them with newer, energy-efficient models that are usually quieter by design. In addition to reducing noise pollution within your home, energy-efficient appliances also allow you to contribute to making the planet a better place, which elevates your peace of mind tremendously.
Moderate all volume levels
One of the major causes of noise pollution within homes is caused by electronic gadgets. These machines, though small, carry high noise volumes and, when utilised at full capacity, can seriously affect your ear health and general peace of mind. When using an electronic gadget, use a moderate volume to reduce sound pollution internally. Be sure to switch off all electrical gadgets that are not in use, such that in addition to reducing noise pollution, you'll also save electricity. If the noise is from areas beyond your home, your best alternative to reducing the volume is to close the windows of your house. Closing your windows keeps all noises away from your building and internal rooms, giving you the peace of mind you require.
Noise-friendly house items
A home with a noisy floor is prone to major noise pollution. Many homes are quite busy with people always moving around. The noise from these movements are amplified when there are weak floorboards. This disturbance can irritate other household members or neighbours living in the same building. A solution to this is to invest in noise-cancelling floors and good quality floorboards.
Invest in good flooring to help soundproof your home, and choose this flooring after careful consideration of how much noise you're likely to experience in your home. Instead of carpeting, for example, you can use vinyl for your flooring since it's good at absorbing noise and reducing noise pollution. Another piece of your home you can employ noise-friendly items is your furniture. Noise-friendly furniture absorbs sound vibrations and echoes: furniture includes bookshelves, cabinets, lounge chairs, and couches.
The best solution to noise pollution in a home is to purchase earplugs. This is the most ideal and affordable option for several households. Earplugs are used especially by homeowners with houses close to airports. Their use enhances noise reduction which is very common for such locations. The best thing about earplugs is how comfortable they are to wear. They can be used on the go and even during your nap time. No matter the time of day, once you're looking for quiet spots to work or have a pause, you should have earplugs on standby as a nose block.
A great alternative to earplugs is noise-cancelling headphones, which are great for people working or living near construction and industrial work areas. Noise-cancelling headphones feature filters that keep all unwanted noise away, such that you can focus only on the productive sound that matters to you.
Plant more trees
Trees and plants are naturally good absorbents of noise, so having them within and around your neighbourhood is a great way to curb noise pollution. Studies have revealed that with trees, the noise produced is reduced by 5 to 10 decibels, which is a lot of discarded sound.
Trees reduce noise and improve the air quality where they are planted, thus delivering double benefits for a long time. In addition to tree planting, there are simple ways to cover noise that might permeate through the foliage. Counter any noise with peaceful sounds from elements such as fans and wind chimes.
Your own vehicle
You can insulate your floors, walls, and ceilings all you want, but if your vehicle produces a lot of noise, it’s possible that your neighbours are struggling with constant noise pollution from your car. Getting around this noise pollution will involve you looking into repairing any car issues that cause the noise or even purchasing a new, quieter, and more efficient vehicle. Replacing your vehicle puts you several steps ahead of reducing sound pollution and enhances your safety on the road. A vehicle, though highly beneficial, can be costly. Thus, you must factor in cost and budgeting before making major changes.
Rugs are great too!
A sure way to reduce noise levels in your home is to fill all empty spaces and cover hard surfaces. An area rug does this well; they're affordable and easy to access. If your home has a fun, daring theme, you could invest in a fluffy shag rug or a floral-patterned, Persian-style rug. Tugs with subtle patterns add a charming and lavish touch to your home.
An alternative to the area rug is carpet tiles, which are extremely useful in apartments with different floors. Their composition enables them to block noise from floors below and above, acting as intense insulation to keep unwanted noise at bay.
Teach your children about noise
Parents are often exposed to loud, unwanted noises from their children. It can be due to a tantrum or a simple case of having fun during playtime. No matter the occasion, the sounds coming from children can be very distracting and sometimes irritating to some people’s ears. One of the best ways to minimise noise pollution from kids is to teach them about noise.
It can be in the form of a story, song, or movie. Relay the message in a manner that is intriguing and memorable. Teach them about the adverse effects of noise and how best they can help you curb it within the home.
Another great idea is to treat the solution as a challenge. Kids love a challenge and will do anything to win. Attack prizes to the simple tasks such as keeping devices off when not in use, replacing old toys or fixing squeaking doors, and many more. This will surely teach your little ones about the relevance of silence and how to reduce the noise they make daily.
Over the years, noise pollution has shown its adverse effects in myriad ways, from ear-related health issues to migraines and many more. Minimising or eradicating these effects will go a long way to improve your mental and physical health by a wide margin, enabling you to fully enjoy everything life has to offer. Remember that dealing with noise pollution within your neighbourhood starts within your home. Planting trees, fixing insulation on your ceilings and floors, and noise-friendly furniture is the key to avoiding noise pollution and enjoying your peace of mind.