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Noise Pollution: How can Rubber Help?

Noise pollution is a very serious problem which affects many people's quality of life and health. Numerous problems can result from exposure to excess noise including hearing loss, tinnitus and sleep deprivation, as well as the general anxiety that ongoing noise nuisance can cause.

People are left feeling irritated and tired when noise pollution strikes, as their privacy is being invaded and there's no peace in their own home. There are a number of common causes of excess noise and the same complaints are received time and time again by local authority environmental health departments.

Lady holding ears

© galitskaya / Adobe Stock


Most common noise problems

One of the most common complaints is about the noise caused by air conditioning units, especially those on industrial and business premises. Individually, they may not sound too bad, but collectively, they can create a higher level of environmental background noise.

Another problem is noisy neighbours, whether it's a private householder continually playing loud music, or leisure and entertainment premises such as a pub, club, or recording studio. Neighbours carrying out excessively noisy home improvements can also cause a nuisance.

Noise and vibrations from construction sites can cause distress, as can burglar alarms that ring continually, the non-stop buzz of car engines and vehicles rattling along the road if you live near a busy highway and the sound of trains racing past if you live near the tracks.


How to reduce sound

Rubber is a great way of reducing noise nuisance. Whether you're keeping loud noises out, or soundproofing a room such as a recording studio to keep the loud noises inside, there will be no problems from excess volumes.

Approaching it like a scientist is the best way to set about solving the problem. Sound is a type of energy produced when objects vibrate. The energy travels outwards away from the source of the sound. The air around vibrates until the remainder of the energy reaches our eardrums.

A simple explanation is that sound starts out from the source and after travelling through a number of media, it enters our ears. In order to stop it from being a nuisance, we must interrupt the chain somewhere along its route. Even though we understand how sound waves travel through the air, it isn't easy stopping them.

Sound waves can pass through many solids and will emerge from the other side almost as loud as in the first place. A good way of blocking out excess noise is to soundproof your room using a rubber material that soaks up the incoming sound waves, so there's less energy to transmit into the room.

This means that you can add materials between the walls, including neoprene rubber or mass-loaded vinyl, that will soak up the vibrations creating the noise.


Don't forget the floor!

As well as using rubber sheeting to block noise from coming through walls, don't forget to use noise and vibration reduction floor matting too. It can be placed under any machinery causing floor vibrations. It's also ideal for any items placed on the desk, counter or laboratory table that create excess noise and vibrations.

It can be used at home, under a washing machine or dryer. It can also be used for exercise equipment, under your dishwasher or refrigerator. This is particularly useful if you live in an upstairs flat, so your home and kitchen are directly above other residents.


Rubber roads

Scientists investigating better road materials are pointing to the benefits of rubber modified bitumen. The product is more durable than regular asphalt and modified asphalt compounds is cheaper to manufacture and provides a quieter surface.

The new rubber-based material will not only improve the quality of life for people living near noisy main roads, it will also benefit the environment.

Benefits of rubber roads are plentiful. Rubber increases the surface's durability, while research has proved reducing noise can be very important.

A study by the University of Dusseldorf in Germany claims living near a noisy road can increase the chances of people suffering from high blood pressure by 22%.


Recycled rubber

Around 3.4 million tonnes of old tyres are dumped in Europe every year. EU regulations ban the disposal of whole and shredded tyres in landfill sites but so many are being illegally dumped. Researchers are looking into ways they can be recycled to provide rubber for projects such as alleviating noise pollution.

Scrap tyres could be used to manufacture noise protection panels for busy highways and railway lines, combating noise pollution and helping to manage waste effectively. Used tyres which aren't properly disposed of can be toxic and cause environmental damage, so the initiative is aimed at reducing noise, as well as creating an eco-friendly practice.

Croatia-based company Ruconbar has launched an innovative scheme to combat noise pollution, thanks to EU funding. The company is using rubber from scrap tyres to make granules, which are then used to manufacture noise barriers.

The old tyres may otherwise be burned or dumped, so they are being given a new lease of life instead, to create sound protection panels, in line with EU noise reduction targets.

Coruba provides a range of products that can help protect against noise nuisance by providing sound insulation. We can supply many rubber sheeting products, including high specification Nitrile and Neoprene rubber.

We also provide natural rubber sheets, with all of our products produced to recognise quality standards. Please give us a call on 01702 560194 or email info@coruba.co.uk for further details.

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