In our modern world, the increased use of technology, along with the construction of purpose built cinema and entertainment rooms are among the plethora of noise that we are exposed to every day in our homes. Being exposed to high levels of noise impacts everybody differently. Such factors as age, health, and cognition to name a few, can influence the impact of noise.
It is quite remarkable how much background noise that our brains are able to filter out without us even realising that we are doing so. If you pause for a moment and concentrate on the audible, you will notice an abundance of internal and external sounds. Exposure to very loud noises can be damaging to the fragile parts of your ear, however it is also thought that chronic noise exposure, which may not even be particularly loud, can also negatively impact hearing. According to Peter M. Rabinowitz in his paper Noise-Induced Hearing Loss, ‘Noise can be described in terms of intensity which is perceived as loudness and frequency which is perceived as pitch. Both the intensity and the duration of noise exposure determines the potential for damage to the hair cells of the inner ear. Even sounds perceived as “comfortably” loud can be harmful’.
Structure-borne noise, also known as impact noise, is produced when sound arises from the actual impact of an object on a building element such as a wall, floor or ceiling. Energy passes through the structure and creates noise in nearby rooms. Examples are heavy footsteps particularly on bare timber or tile floors, banging doors, scraping furniture, vibrations from loud music and plumbing noises. The Impact Insulation Class or IIC is used to rate the impact noise insulation of floors, which can often be the hardest noise to isolate.