What is noise pollution?
At work, on the street, and even at home, noise is omnipresent. Noise pollution affects our quality of life and the consequences can be serious. But first, let's look at the topic of noise nuisance itself and what it covers.
First of all, let's specify that in 2016, a JNA - Ifop survey revealed that 9 out of 10 British people (!) consider noise and noise pollution as "a social issue". This is huge and demonstrates the size of the problem. And it's not just noise from the neighbourhood…
Noise pollution or environmental noise pollution is defined as a sound that can be sanctioned when it harms the peace or health of a neighbour because of 3 factors: its duration, its repetition, and its intensity.
Noise does not have to be very loud to be considered noise pollution, it just has to be consistent.
Noise pollution is mentioned in French law, more precisely in article R 1334-31 of the Public Health Code: "No particular noise should, by its duration, repetition or intensity, be detrimental to the tranquillity of the neighbourhood or human health, in a public or private place.
Often linked to neighbourhood disturbances and sometimes also referred to as 'behavioural noise', noise pollution is a nuisance for some people. For this reason, legal remedies exist, including a procedure conducted by a lawyer and a court.
Construction work, shouting arguments, loud music, footsteps… noise pollution varies. But what are the specific health risks caused by noise pollution? It all depends on the level of noise pollution in terms of intensity and regularity.
A neighbour who carries out work every Sunday and causes disturbing noise can be considered a nuisance and a neighbourhood noise.
The main health risks of loud noise
High intensity or repeated high-frequency noise pollution can have devastating consequences for people's health and lives. Fortunately, this type of noise rarely comes from neighbourhoods, except in exceptional cases (in which case it is better to lodge a complaint and immediately contact a lawyer).
This type of noise pollution can permanently or temporarily damage or disrupt your hearing. Tinnitus can occur when the ear generates sounds instead of just picking them up. The person suffering from this type of malfunction then hears noises that may be in the form of whistling or buzzing.
Tinnitus is an intrusive noise that can greatly affect the quality of life of those who experience significant noise pollution.
Sometimes they can be accompanied by hypersensitivity of the ear, making daily sounds painful. Noise pollution then becomes an enemy against which one must protect oneself.
A serious risk of deafness
Repeated loud noise in the form of noise pollution can damage the ear (specifically the eardrum) to such an extent that hearing is impaired. It is possible to lose this sense altogether and suffer total deafness due to regular loud noise pollution.
So be careful and make sure to protect yourself and avoid this type of noise! Remember: if a sound is unpleasant, it is dangerous for your ear.
But again, it is unlikely that neighbourhood noise will cause this type of injury (thankfully).
The main effects of low noise
In contrast to the above-mentioned nuisances, they may be caused by your neighbour. It is common to initiate proceedings for disturbance or noise pollution.
Impaired sleep with serious consequences
Poor sleep is the key to a bad day. Noise above 40 decibels that can last for several minutes or that is repeated during the night, can stop you from getting a good night's sleep.
Poor sleep has much more serious consequences in the long run: chronic fatigue, depression, immune weakness, permanent irritation… noise can be much more dangerous than we think, and it is not only very loud sounds that we should be wary of.
Stress, fatigue… even depression
Continuous noise pollution in the home can destroy lives. Stress caused by constant noise, fatigue caused by lack of sleep, depression caused by the impossibility of finding peace and quiet… it is better to take the initiative and measure the noise in order to protect oneself from it or to launch a court procedure with a lawyer.
Measuring noise is the first step towards ending noise pollution. For this, the Netatmo Smart Weather Station is an excellent solution that combines sound measurement with your indoor air quality, weather, or humidity measurement. Everything you need to feel informed and to optimise your comfort. Don't let any nuisance (noise or otherwise) spoil your life!
How can we put an end to noise pollution?
In condominiums, noise pollution and noise, in general, are often the cause of neighbourhood disputes and other conflicts with upstairs neighbours. The solution may then consist of soundproofing or acoustic insulation which protects against noise from outside the space, or acoustic correction, which reduces the reverberation of noise in a room via walls, ceilings, or floors
Noise pollution is not to be taken lightly. They can cause real health risks, even at low noise levels. Don't wait until things get worse (in the neighbourhood or your health) to take action, try to solve the problem or call a lawyer!