By Eoin A. King, NNI Editor

NNI is on Facebook and Twitter – we try to keep our readers informed with noise news from all across the globe by highlighting interesting research and projects. Here is a roundup of some of the stories that have been making headlines. Follow @NNIEditor to stay up to date with all noise related news.

What to do – a noisy Heat Pump is keeping us up at night

This one is from a little while back, but is in keeping with the theme of this special issue. A concerned resident writes to the Irish Times property section complaining that a heat pump is keeping them awake at night. The reader is referred to the requirement for noise protection recognized by all local authorities; Irish building regulations stipulate the standards to which new buildings and extensions should be designed and constructed.

Similarly, the Institute of Acoustics (UK), responded to a recent consultation from the Department for Business, Industry and Industrial Strategy in the UK. The consultations ask whether a heat pump first approach should be taken to replacing fossil fuel heating for homes and businesses off the gas grid. IOA answer no because we are not convinced potential noise issues have been properly addressed.

Noise Pollution is Killing Us

A recent opinion piece in the Guardian (UK) covers the problems of noise pollution is detail. It notes that noise disproportionally affects lower-income families, as well as the fact that London has not updated its noise pollution strategy in almost 20 years. This article is certainly worth a read.

Recent Developments in Airport Noise in Europe

Euronews reports that Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport is aiming to eliminate overnight flights by the end of 2025. It is part of a push to reduce noise pollution and lower CO2 emissions. However, some airlines are opposing the proposals, and are preparing to mount a legal challenge to the night-time ban.

Elsewhere, in Ireland, there has been significant discontent over the opening of a new runway in Dublin airport. The Irish Times reports that residents claim a change in flight paths by the airport’s operator, DAA, since February 23rd have led to several new communities being “significantly affected by unexpected aircraft notice” and have increased air traffic and noise in some areas.

Plants are not silent – they make noise!

A new study suggest that plants actually emit ultrasonic airborne sounds when stressed! This research shows that stressed plants emit airborne sounds that can be recorded from a distance and classified. The researchers recorded ultrasonic sounds emitted by tomato and tobacco plants inside an acoustic chamber, and in a greenhouse, while monitoring the plant’s physiological parameters, and notes that these sounds may also be detectable by other organisms.

Noise in the Workplace may impact your well-being 

A new study suggests that noise in the workplace may affect your physiological well-being. For the research, 231 federal office employees were recruited and each study participant wore various devices that analyzed how noises within an indoor setting impacted individual well-being. The study showed that physiological well-being is achieved when workplace sound levels are about 50 dB(A).

Noise Pollution and Scallops

Elsewhere in this issue we have an article describing the potential impact of offshore wind turbines on coastal communities. It notes that developments may also have a significant effect on marine life. A recent study published in the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America supports this assertion. The study, from researchers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (USA), quantified auditory thresholds (in particle acceleration levels) and bandwidth of the giant scallop. It notes that behavioral responses were obtained for low frequencies below 500 Hz, with best sensitivity at 100 Hz. The study concludes that results demonstrate clear sound sensitivity and underscore that the potential impacts of anthropogenic sound in valuable ecological resources, such as scallops, may be dependent on sound characteristics.