Four ways noise impacts on our lives


Stories of disputes over noise regularly make the headlines, but how does noise really affect our daily lives?

Here are four ways that sound can make a difference, according to academic and scientific research:


Well-designed sound environments in offices favour concentration. In fact, a study found that 99% of people experienced a drop in concentration levels due to office noise such as unanswered phones and background speech1


As well as impacting on our productivity, noise can affect our memory too. In a memory for prose task, 66% of participants had a drop in recall when exposed to different types of background noise2


High sound levels can increase stress and disrupt sleep quality, something that’s particularly important in patient recovery. As such, in hospital environments, the World Health Organization recommends that average patient room noise levels remain around 30 decibels.


Living near an airport can increase your risk of obesity according to a recent study3. Epidemiological research has also shown that those living close to busy streets are at a 20% higher risk of having a heart attack versus residents of quieter streets.

To tackle these factors, acoustic comfort is a fundamental aspect of our Multi Comfort building approach that seeks to reduce the sounds we don’t want to hear, like background noise and traffic, while increasing the quality and level of desired sounds. Through materials like specialist plasterboard or mineral wools, airborne and impact noise within a building can be dampened, producing a more comfortable and healthier environment for building users.

1 Source: Banbury SP. and Berry DC. (2005) Office noise and employee concentration: identifying causes of disruption and potential improvements. Ergonomics 48:1, pp 25-37
2 Source: Banbury SP. and Berry DC. (1998) Disruption of office-related tasks by speech and office noise. British Journal of Psychology 89:3, pp 499–517
3 Source: Schlenker, W and W. Reed Walker (2015), Airports, Air Pollution, and Contemporaneous Health. The Review of Economic Studies