We often talk (rightly) about air or water pollution, but too little about acoustic comfort, especially in relation to the home. Yet noise is an important aspect in the choice of a home, so much so that in Italy there is a law defining the threshold of tolerability (no. 447 of 26 October 1995).
Noise pollution occurs when sound causes annoyance, disturbs rest or even has a negative impact on people’s health. Prolonged exposure to loud, continuous sounds can weaken the auditory system, cause dizziness and create such stress that it can affect digestion or the ability to concentrate. It can also lead to circulatory and cardiac diseases, as indicated by the European Environment Agency in its study ‘Environmental noise in Europe – 2020’.
But how to protect oneself when much of the noise (e.g. aircraft passing by or traffic in the street) can’t be controlled?
How to reduce noise pollution at home
As mentioned in the previous paragraph, a large proportion of noise arrives from outside: sound insulation is therefore an important first step, especially in large cities or near busy roads. In this case we are talking about anti-noise windows (double and triple glazing), new window frames, floors and ceilings made of insulating material or walls with sound-absorbing panels.
However, furniture can also come to our aid:
- carpets help to muffle occupants’ footsteps
- furniture and bookcases can reduce the flow of noise, creating a kind of ‘double layer’ of protection (one is the furniture, the other is books and furnishings)
- pictures on the walls decrease the spread of noise and reduce echoes
- plants (especially wall creepers) also have a small sound-absorbing effect
- curtains on the windows help not only to prevent heat loss, but also to limit sounds coming from outside
It is also essential to be careful when using electrical appliances. Turning on the washing machine at night could disturb sleep during the spin cycle; the dishwasher, however, could be turned on if the kitchen is far from the bedroom.
Does the refrigerator make a continuous humming noise? If the noise is persistent, it could be the compressor: a sign that it is time to call the technician.
Even the oldest of stoves can become noisy: a good reason to upgrade to a newer product with highly efficient performance. What’s more, with Palazzetti you can take advantage of the Zero Speed Fan function: with a simple click or voice activation you can switch off the stove’s ventilation, for greater acoustic comfort. Ideal for when you have guests, want to listen to your favourite music, watch TV… or put the little ones to sleep!
Foto cover Srdjanns74 | iStock