What is the Most Annoying Noise in the UK?
What is the most annoying or irritating noise that comes into our homes?
To find out, we surveyed 1000 members of the UK public about noises that enter their
property from the outside and asked them to tell us which they found was the most
annoying or irritating.
The noise from building work - for example drilling or
hammering - was named by the highest number of
respondents (27%) as the sound that annoys them the most.
These types of construction noises are more annoying to women
than men, with 32% of females who participated in our survey
naming this as their top choice for the most irritating sound,
compared to 26% for males.
A close second on the list was the
noise from alarms. Overall, 23% of
participants in our survey said they
found the sound of car or house
alarms to be the most annoying.
However looking at just the female vote, noise from neighbours
(such as shouting or playing music too loudly) was considered
to be the second most annoying behind building work.
Other noises people find annoying include sounds
from animals, like dogs barking (15% named this as
their top answer) and children playing outside (9%
citing this as the sound that most irritates them).
Top 5 Annoying Noises
1) Building work (hammering, drilling etc.) 2) Car or house alarms 3) Neighbours (shouting, playing music loudly etc.) 4) Animals (dogs barking etc.) 5) Children playing or crying
Impact on Health
Studies¹ suggest noise pollution can be detrimental to
health and linked to conditions such as stress, insomnia
and even heart attacks.
The World Health Organisation have even suggested that
around 3,300 deaths from strokes and heart attacks each
year in the UK could be attributed to noise pollution.
With the UK becoming an increasingly populated nation,
particularly in urban and suburban areas, the level of
noise pollution may be likely to rise in the future with more
construction, transport and people adding to the issue.
Solutions to Noise Pollution
A first step is to look at any gaps
around windows and make sure they
are properly sealed. Triple glazed
windows add an extra layer of air
and glass to what you would get with
double glazing, bringing added sound
an thermal insulation. A more radical
step is acoustical window seals
which add a layer of fixed, airtight
glass in front of your windows.
A door with a solid core made from
a material such as wood will offer
improved insulation over hollow
doors or those filled with a
lightweight material. It's also worth
paying attention to the small gaps
around your doors and installing
Sound insulating or acoustic
plasterboard has a high density core
and is great both for stopping noise
from entering your home from the
outside and for sound proofing rooms
in your house (like home cinemas or
music rooms) to reduce internal noise
distribution. The boards are applied
directly to the walls and become
invisible once finished and decorated.
Drapes or curtains in heavy fabrics
such as wool can help to absorb
more sound from entering a room via
windows and doors. There are also
special sound absorbing materials
from which curtains can be made.