Noise – unavoidable background of Lithuania’s major cities

The above results of the residents’ opinion have been generated by the representative opinion poll conducted by public opinion and market research agency Spinter Research. According to the agency data, as many as 53 % of rural residents do not experience any noise-related issues, with only 27 % of urban residents sharing this opinion.

“The effect of urbanisation and noise, which is the direct result of urbanisation, have become strikingly evident in the cities across our country. Data published by Eurostat early this year have suggested that every fifth resident of the European Union experiences certain level of discomfort caused by noise coming from vehicles or neighbours’ apartments, and the issue of noise is double as relevant in the cities compared to the countryside. Lithuania has been following similar pattern. The difference is that vehicles are very distinctly referred to as the main source of the bothering noise, while majority of other respondents residing in the EU have pointed at street noise and neighbours being the major noise makers”, – Dr. Andrius Buska, Technical Marketing Manager at ROCKWOOL producing stone wool insulation products, has noted.

Data by Spinter Research suggest that 23 % of the residents in Lithuania consider the vehicles in the streets, and another 18 % – the vehicles in the residential premises to be the major cause of the bothering noise.

More apparent differences could be noticed, if different types of residential areas are compared. Urban dwellers are equally highly bothered by the vehicle noise in the streets (28 %) and car parks (27 %), while only one out of five rural residents (20 %) is bothered by vehicles buzzing in the streets, and even fewer are bothered by noise near their homes (7 %).

According to A. Buska, the issue of vehicle generated noise in the cities could be addressed by improving driving etiquette, including efforts to keep vehicles with their engines off whenever possible at least around the residential premises, turning down music volume, depressing the accelerator pedal while idling.

“External factors are the most difficult to change in the cities, where every square meter counts, and residential premises are packed with cars, and it is more considerate, quieter conduct that could improve the situation, at least around your home. On the other hand, if your home is located in a noisy neighbourhood, for example, next to pass-through streets with highly intensive traffic, it is up to you to find the solution that would improve the quality of your life, and upgrading of the building sound insulation tops the list”, – the expert at ROCKWOOL has no doubts about it.

Quality sound insulation also helps in dealing with noises coming from adjacent apartments, which are bothering one out of five urban dwellers. 17 % of major city residents also complain about slamming building entrance doors and other noises in the shared premises, 15 % – about the rumble coming from construction and remodeling works nearby, 9 % – about the bar and restaurant bustle.

“Results of the opinion poll seem to suggest that city apartments often resemble of the sieve baskets, letting in all the noises of the street, residential premises, and from behind the wall. Then again, majority of apartment blocks in Lithuania were built in the Soviet period. Apartment owners upgrading their homes often attempt to cut down the costs at the expense of materials and, as a result, only focus on improvement of the thermal parameters. This is inappropriate, as the noise issue remains without any consideration, and people continue living in the same bothering environment, not suitable for proper rest”, – says Mr. A. Buska.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) considers noise to be hazardous for public health. Long-lasting exposure to traffic or industrial noise deprives residents of proper rest and quality sleep, may lead to higher blood pressure, cause cardiovascular diseases, or even a stroke. Noise also affects children and teenagers’ abilities to concentrate and even their learning outcomes.

“Hence, use of adequate structures including efficient sound insulating materials made of stone wool allows to mitigate the negative effect of noise and create the conditions of acoustic comfort”, – the expert has noted.

The opinion poll on noise was conducted by Spinter Research among 1003 residents of Lithuania aged 18-75 on 19-27 June.

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