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How to deal with airplane noise

Heading to the airport can often mean the beginning of a great adventure - a holiday to an exotic destination with sunshine, delicious foods and the opportunity to make memories that will last a lifetime.

But as your flight is taking off for your dream getaway, the rumbling of the jet engines could be somebody else's nightmare.

For those living under a flight path, noise from the planes throughout the day and night can be detrimental to their well-being and quality of life. Meanwhile, for landlords and developers, sounds emanating from a nearby airport can make it much harder to find tenants or buyers. 

So what should homeowners do if they're faced with flight path noise?

First of all, it's a good idea to get in touch with the airport. If you've noticed a sudden increase in noise, it could be that guidelines about flight altitudes and noise are not being strictly followed - and the airport can take steps to correct that problem.

There have been instances in the past when large airports have paid to have homes within a certain radius soundproofed. Following a complaint, most airports will send a representative out to check the noise levels in your home and to discuss the situation with you. Remember that the airports generally want to make their neighbours happy to avoid bad press or community action - and they may prefer to spend the money soundproofing an entire neighbourhood.

The problem is that the airport's time scales can sometimes seem unrealistic. A large-scale project to install acoustic insulation in a community can sometimes take years. Meanwhile, the homeowners, landlords and tenants will be suffering. If that's the case, carrying out your own soundproofing work might be a more attractive option.

It's also important to remember that just because a property isn't directly under a flight path today doesn't mean it won't be within a few months or years. Flight paths and airport layouts can and do change - and a once-quiet neighbourhood can be flooded with airport noise. For example, we recently wrote about how towns and villages in Fife - including  Burntisland, Kinghorn and Kirkaldy, the Wemyss and Buckhaven - may soon have aircraft passing overhead at an altitude of less than 4,000 feet due to a change in routes for planes arriving at Edinburgh airport.

One of the best ways to reduce the amount of noise getting into homes is installing acoustic insulation. This is ideally done when a house is being built - but acoustic insulation can also be retrofitted as needed. Like most home improvement projects, adding acoustic insulation can be more cost-effective if it's carried out in conjunction with other projects.

In addition to the acoustic insulation panels, you may also want to check your windows and doors to make sure they're keeping sounds out as much as possible. Double or triple glazing can make a big difference to the amount of noise that gets inside and having heavy external doors can also help. Also, be sure to check the seals around your windows and doors - not only can faulty seals allow pesky noises indoors, but they can also make a property more expensive to heat during the winter.


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