Aircraft Noise & Soundproofing
If you live near an airport or under a flightpath, you’ll know the pain of planes. Convenient for when you want to go on holiday but a burden the rest of the time – the noise emitted from airplanes can be stressful and can negatively impact your quality of life.
Thankfully we have solutions to soundproof your home against aircraft noise pollution, restoring happiness and tranquility in your home.
Aircraft Noise Pollution
Noise from aircraft is a big problem if you live in London.
- An estimated 700,000 people are affected by noise from Heathrow, which is 3 times as many as any other airport in Europe.
- If a third runway is created, another 300,000 people will be affected by Heathrow’s noise pollution.
- At City airport, more than 330,000 people are overflown by arrivals and 400,000+ by departures – all flying at a range of 4,000 feet or less.
- Noise readings of 70-75dB have been recorded outside houses on City airport’s pre-landing approach (more than 6km out).
Soundproofing Your Home Against Aircraft Noise
Aircraft noise pollution can vary dramatically depending on the following factors:
- How high the aircraft is
- Whether the aircraft flies directly overhead
- Whether the aircraft are arriving or departing
- The weather
These will affect not only the decibel levels (the volume) – but also the noise frequency. When it comes to finding the right noise pollution products, we need to take into consideration all of the above factors – although, unfortunately, we can’t do anything about the weather…
Soundproof windows employ a variety of techniques to ensure that aircraft noise is kept to a minimum in your home.
The thickness of the glazing will be chosen depending upon the level of noise and its average frequency range. Two panes of glass in different thickness should be used in order to work against the ‘coincidence frequency’.
Acoustic Foams & Sealants
Acoustic foams are used during installation to ensure that noise cannot leak into your home between the wall and the window frame. High-performance acoustic sealants are used to prevent noise skirting around the frame, making your soundproof windows greatly more effective.
Increasing the distance between the two glass panes will also reduce the level noise pollution that can pass through. Installing soundproof windows inside existing frames, or using a two-window system is the ultimate solution to aircraft noise – however, it may result in a reduction or loss of sill space on the interior of your property.
After the windows, your doors are the next easiest point of entry for noise pollution. Soundproof doors have been designed to keep noise out by adding more mass which dissipates the noise, as well as preventing sound from getting around the frame and through the internal locking mechanism.
In cases of severe noise – or where noise must be kept to an absolute minimum (i.e., home recording studios) – a double-door system can be installed for a significant reduction.
Soundproof French doors employ the same glazing as the Soundproof windows, also using two different thicknesses of glass in order to combat the coincidence frequency.
The soundproofing of your home will only ever be as strong as its weakest link – which, in some cases, is in fact the walls. Walls that have gaps in them or that were poorly constructed can be responsible for a great deal of aircraft noise pollution. This can be addressed by installing custom soundproofing systems, including:
Noise Reduction Insulations
i.e. acoustic membranes, rockwools and muteboards.
Complementary High Mass Materials
Materials of different densities stop sounds at a greater range of frequencies.
Seal up gaps that soundwaves can travel through.
Lofts and attics can be especially susceptible to sound and noise pollution, and so to soundproof a loft it is important to plug all of the gaps, and to fill the rafters with acoustic insulating materials. Skylights should also be replaced with soundproof skylight windows.
The canopy above bay windows are generally poorly insulated against aircraft noise, becoming an easy entry point for noise pollution – even if the windows themselves are effective at soundproofing.
Aircraft Noise & Your Health
Aircraft noise has a considerable impact on the lives of the people that it affects – ranging from a daily nuisance to the cause of some serious health concerns – and so it shouldn’t be treated lightly.
There have been repeated studies that seem to demonstrate that exposure to noise disturbances can result in poor cardiovascular health:
- According to the HYENA (Hypertension and Exposure to Noise near Airports) study, just a 10dB increase in noise at night will produce a 14% increase in the chances of high blood pressure.
- This same increase in noise also corresponds with a 34% increase in high blood pressure medication usage in the UK.
- A study on hospital admissions in London of people living near Heathrow (Hansell et al., 2013) found that both day and night time exposure to aircraft noise increases the risk of hospital visits.
- For those exposed to aircraft noise over 63dB during the day there was a 24% increase in admission for stroke, a 21% increase for coronary heart disease, and a 14% increase for cardiovascular diseases in general.
At the same time, exposure to nocturnal aircraft noise has been shown to have a considerable impact on sleep hygiene; a meta-analysis of 24 studies (Miedma & Vos, 2007) found that aircraft noise had a greater impact on sleep than road traffic noise for those who were exposed to noise levels of 45-65dB at night.
The World Health Organization’s guidelines state that the target for nocturnal noise exposure should be set at 40dB in order to minimise sleep disturbances, which, in turn, can lead to use of medication, hypertension and heart attacks.