Aircraft Noise & Soundproofing
Whether you live near the airport or simply under the flightpath, you’ll know the pain of planes. Convenient for when you want to go on holiday, a burden the rest of the time. While you might have found the perfect location to live in, the drone of Boeings can eventually prove too much for anyone.
Thankfully we have solutions to soundproof your home against aircraft noise pollution and keep you happy 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. This is 3 times as many as any other airport in Europe.
- If a third runway is created, over 300,000 more people will be affected by Heathrow’s noise pollution.
- At City airport, over 330,000 people are overflown by arrivals and 400,000+ by departures – all lower than 4,000 feet.
- 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 dependent on the following factors:
- How high the aircraft is.
- Whether the aircraft is directly overhead.
- Whether the aircraft is arriving or departing.
- The weather.
These will affect not only the decibel levels but the noise frequency. And so when it comes to finding the right noise pollution products, we need to take into consideration all of the above. 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 used will depend upon the level of noise and its average frequency range.
Two panes of different thickness are used to work against the coincidence frequency.
Acoustic Foams & Sealants
We use acoustic foams during installation to ensure that noise cannot be transmitted between the wall and the window.
High performance acoustic sealants are used to prevent noise skirting around the frame.
Increasing the distance between the glazing panes reduces noise pollution. Installing soundproof windows inside existing frames, or a two window system is the ultimate solution to aircraft noise, but means a reduction or loss of sill space.
Next to your windows, doors are the easiest point of entry for noise to enter your home. Soundproof doors work on the following principles: add more mass to dissipate the noise, and prevent sound getting around the frame or through the internal mechanism.
In cases of severe noise, or where noise must be kept to a minimum (i.e., home recording studios), a double door system can be installed for further reductions.
French doors employ the same glazing as windows, with different thicknesses of glass to combat the coincidence frequency too.
The soundproofing of your home is only as strong as its weakest link, and in some cases this might be the walls themselves. If your walls have gaps in them, or were poorly constructed, they can be responsible for a great deal of aircraft noise intrusion. We combat this by installing custom systems which include:
Noise Reduction Insulations
Including acoustic membranes to rockwools and muteboards.
Complementary High Mass Materials
Materials of different densities stop sounds at a range of frequencies.
Acoustic sealants ensure there are no gaps for the sound to get through.
Lofts and attics can be especially porous to sound. Gaps need to be plugged and rafters filled with acoustic insulating materials. Skylights should also be replaced with soundproof windows.
The canopy above bay windows are generally poorly insulated against aircraft noise and can present an easy entry point even if the windows themselves are effective.
Aircraft Noise & Your Health
Aircraft noise has a considerable impact on the lives of the people it affects. From annoyance to serious health concerns, it shouldn’t be treated lightly.
There have been repeated studies showing that exposure to noise disturbances can lead to poor cardiovascular health.
- According to the HYENA (Hypertension and Exposure to Noise near Airports) study, just a 10dB increase in noise at night produces a 14% increase in odds for high blood pressure.
- This same increase in noise also corresponds with a 34% increase in high blood pressure medication 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 night time 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 40 dB to minimise sleep disturbances, which in turn lead to use of medication, hypertension and heart attacks.