what is noise? ׀ loud music ׀ noise pollution ׀ excessive noise ׀ soundproofing



Soundproofing Specialists & Suppliers

What is Noise?


Noise is a form of pollution that affects us all but is unlike other forms of pollution.  Once the noise stops, the pollution immediately comes to an end and the environment is free of it.  Other forms of  pollutant such as sewerage and chemicals, are always difficult to remove such as from water, soil and air.

The classification of noise is always a difficult subject.  For some, the sound of a Grand Prix race is thrilling and gives enjoyment to many whereas, to others it is annoying and constitutes a nuisance.  The same is typical of loud music.  Many younger people among us enjoy listening to music set at high volumes when it infuriates others.  So noise is subjective, in some ways it is enjoyed by some but for others, is an unwelcome form of noise pollution such as hearing your neighbours television when you are quietly reading a book.

It is now well known that excessive noise is a danger to health.  It can cause stress, sleeplessness, annoyance and many other uncomfortable symptoms.

A rough guide to how noise is measured is shown in the table below.

0dB Barely audible
30dB Quiet conversation
55dB Female speech
59dB Male speech
80dB Inside a sports car
90dB Road drill at 3 metres
100dB Noisy factory
140dB Threshold of pain

As you can see from the table, anything over 80dB in volume is very uncomfortable and can impair hearing.  Lower volumes of noise can also be annoying if it is disturbing, particularly at night.  Normally there are two ways to reduce noise nuisance.  One is to eliminate the noise at source, giving instant relief or if this is not possible, introduce soundproofing to reduce the noise nuisance.

Sound travels as spherical ripples through the air much like the ripples created on a pond after a stone has been thrown in.  As the ripples travel further away from their source, they reduce in intensity and if they hit a solid barrier or hit reeds, their energy is split up and dissipated in much the same way as soundproofing materials work.

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