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Noise as Potential Housing Hazard - Essay Example

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Part one of the Housing Act 2004 introduces a new way of assessing the fitness of a property for human habitation. One of the stated intents of the Act is to improve the standards of properties. The bulk of the focus of the old system as per the Housing Act 1985 was looking at features of the property like lack of ventilation, damp etc whereas the new system has greater emphasis on the effects of things on the health and safety of the occupier…
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Noise as Potential Housing Hazard
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Noise as Potential Housing Hazard

Download file to see previous pages... According to the Guidance Notes for Landlords (2005) as such there is nothing structurally wrong with a property if it happens to be noisy and under the old scheme there was no provision to assess this hazard. But under the new scheme since excessive noise could be detrimental to the health of an occupier the impact will be suitably assessed and rated for finding out the fitness of the house for occupation. Thus it can be seen that noise is considered as a potential housing hazard. With this background this paper attempts to bring out a report which identifies the main sources and causes of environmental noise as a potential housing hazard and it also analyses various legal and administrative options available to reduce or minimize the impact the noise will have on the health of the occupier.
An expert on noise, K.D. Kryter (1996) in his text Handbook of Hearing and the Effects of Noise, (New York Academic Press) defined noise as "acoustic signals which can negatively affect the physiological or psychological well-being of an individual."
Basically, noise is unwanted sound. It is a pollutant and a hazard to human health and hearing. According to the American Speech-Language -Hearing Association article Noise and Hearing Loss 'Noise' in our environment affects physical heath; Noise also has psychological and social implications and affects our well being and quality of life; the most notable physical effect of noise exposure is loss of hearing. Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL) affects children, adolescents, young adults, and older adults.
Noise not only affects hearing. It affects other parts of the body and body systems. It is now known that noise:
Increases blood pressure
Has negative cardiovascular effects such as changing the way the heart beats
Increases breathing rate
Disturbs digestion
Can cause an upset stomach or ulcer
Can negatively impact a developing fetus, perhaps contributing to premature birth
Makes it difficult to sleep, even after the noise stops
Intensifies the effects of factors like drugs, alcohol, aging and carbon monoxide
(Article Noise and Hearing Loss)

3.0 Sources and Causes of Environmental Noise as a Housing Hazard:
The different sources that can create noise and thereby cause a health hazard are enumerated by the UK fact sheet created by Economic and Social Research Council. These sources are: Road Traffic, Aircraft, Neighbours, Trains, Building Construction or Road Works, Sports Events, Entertainment or Leisure, Farming or Agriculture, Factories or Works, Commercial Premises, Community buildings, Sea, River or Canal Traffic and any other noise which is of an unpleasant and unbearable nature. Of all these Road traffic was the most commonly identified noise category. These sources may be termed as 'Ambient Sources' which occur outside the dwelling place.
There is the other kind of source which is known as Neighbour Noise and Neighbour noise includes amplified music, TV, dogs, voices, banging doors, children, intruder alarms, fireworks and laminates.
According to the Economic and Social Research Council UK fact sheet some of the reasons for continued high ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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