Quiet Mark, the independent global certification programme associated with the UK Noise Abatement Society charitable foundation, has conducted a brand new 2021 survey, taking a deep dive into the UK’s attitudes towards noise in their home and work lives, in the wake of both increased work from home and return to the workplace this Autumn.
The latest British home and work trends headlines interestingly show a significant lack of knowledge around how noise impacts on well-being. Other surprise findings are young people aged 18 – 34 having particularly strong preferences for quieter technology.
If Brits were to consider a new job, half (52%) say the would factor noise into their employment decision. Over a quarter (28%) would prioritise working from home as it is quieter and enables them to concentrate better than in their workplace. On the other hand, just 14% would prioritise working on-site as they find that to be more productive. Over one in ten (12%) would want to work in a different industry or work environment altogether in order to minimise noise.
Over half (57%) of Brits would like their home to be quieter, with a further 62% noting that they are drawn towards quieter appliances. This is stronger amongst those aged 18-34 (66%) compared to those aged 55+ (54%). This love for quieter appliances transfers to the cost Brits are willing to pay, with two thirds (63%) of 18-34 year olds willing to pay more for quieter appliances.
The survey, carried out by Opinium Research, sampling 2,000 UK adults aged 18+ across all regions also showed that almost four fifths (79%) of Brits say that it matters how loud an appliance is when purchasing one for their home, with 45% wishing their washing machine, and 43% their vacuum cleaner, were quieter than their current ones.
Through scientific testing and assessment Quiet Mark identifies the quietest products in multiple categories spanning many sectors, including home appliances and technology, building sector materials and commercial sector products. Only 10% to 20% of the quietest best performing products are awarded Quiet Mark certification.
Each product category is re-evaluated annually to reflect new models coming on to the market. In the past year the number of Quiet Mark certified products listed on quietmark.com has tripled from 350 to over 1,000. The number of manufactures achieving certification has also increased from 60 to over 80, as more household brands join long standing names including Dyson, Samsung and Philips to show responsible achievements in engineering.
Recognising increased consumer demand for quieter appliances, many of the UK’s largest retailers, including Argos, John Lewis & Partners, and VERY, have formed retail partnerships with Quiet Mark. Each has their own Quiet Mark section on their websites, making it easier for their millions of customers to find the quietest technology for all areas of their homes.
Laurence Mitchell, John Lewis’s technology director, says there are more than 10,000 searches a month for appliances that include the term “quiet” on the retailer’s website, with washing machines and kettles the most likely devices to be linked to the search.
However, the survey did also highlight a lack of knowledge related to the health risks of noise. When it comes to knowledge on hearing, over a third (39%) of Brits incorrectly believe that hearing loss begins at 110 decibels, about the noise level of a rock concert. Just under half (47%) know that exposure to noise can disturb sleep and cause high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. Only a fifth (19%) know that noise is the second biggest killing natural pollutant after air pollution, according to The World Health Organisation.
CEO & CoFounder of Quiet Mark says: “Because sound is invisible it is often overlooked. Yet, the fundamental impact it has on all the physical rhythms of our bodies, our hormones, heart-rate and brain waves is so profound and inherent to our well-being. According to our latest public surveys commissioned by Quiet Mark”
“There is still a huge knowledge gap about this in the UK, which often prevents noise reduction being made a priority in the design focus of new product development, yet unwanted noise is a serious pollutant which affects our brain-waves, heart rate, all our physical rhythms”.
This survey stresses the importance of noise to people in their daily lives. Especially since the introduction of lockdowns due to the pandemic, many more people have been working from home and have enjoyed that environment significantly more than entering the workplace. The quietness and comfortability of working from home has certainly made an impact in people’s decisions on how they want to live.
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