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May 23-28th is Noise Action Awareness Week

We all need a bit of quiet time now and again, but in today's world full of traffic, mobile phones and piped-in music, it's sometimes hard to find a place that isn't full of noise.

That's why Environmental Protection UK has coordinated Noise Action Week, providing an opportunity for a number of professional and voluntary groups to work together to find opportunities to reduce the nuisance caused by unnecessary noise.

The problem of noise

Research has shown that excessive noise can cause a variety of problems and puts a huge burden on our society. It can cause disruption and stress both at home and at work, and it can also contribute to poor health.

A government report published in January 2015 found that nearly half of those surveyed felt that their home was spoiled by noise. Around one-fifth of people also said that they are kept awake at night by noise - and often noise disturbances happen simply because the people making the noise forget that people around them may be sleeping.

Tolerating reasonable noise

Noise Action Awareness Week isn't just about telling everyone around you to be quiet. Organisers are also promoting the fact that we need to respect our neighbours and tolerate reasonable everyday noises - this can help to reduce your stress levels. It can also save the local community money, since investigating noise complaints can cost councils up to £7,000 per complaint.

Tips for dealing with noise

There are many ways to reduce the impact that noise can have on your daily life. In some cases, Noise Action Awareness says the answer may simply be approaching the neighbour and explaining politely that you are being troubled by the noise. This can be difficult and won't be appropriate in every situation, but often people don't realise that they are causing a problem.

If you live in rented accommodation, consider discussing the problem with the landlord, as most tenancy agreements will require that neighbours do not cause a nuisance.

If that doesn't work, start keeping a diary, recording dates, times and causes of noise and the effects it has on you. This information will be useful for any investigations that are carried out by the council.

Another option that you might want to consider is improving the acoustic insulation of your home.

Posted by Helen Hughes.