According to recent research, our waking hours are bombarded with everything from constant mobile phone update ‘pings’ and barking dogs to neighbours’ leaf-blowers and offspring listening to heavy metal.
And the home is no refuge – in fact it’s the source of most of the top 50 noise disturbances.
Irritating rackets include kids’ computer games, the TV droning away in another room and the washing machine constantly churning away.
Six in 10 people reckon the only time they enjoy complete silence is when they’re in bed – but for an unfortunate 14 per cent a partner’s snoring ruins any hope of calm.
Sarah White from British Gypsum, manufacturers of Sound Solutions products, which conducted the survey of 2,000 adults, said: “Having just five and a half hours of complete peace and quiet a week is not enough for any individual to truly relax and unwind.
“Today’s busy lifestyles mean people very rarely get time to themselves, and even when they do – they still have to endure noise from neighbours, demanding children and home appliances.”
Neighbours are a big cause for concern, as their inability to do their gardening or DIY quietly and their need to talk loudly or argue ruins the peace for many.
Over a quarter of those polled have been forced to move house because of noisy neighbours.
The living room emerged as the hub of all activity in the house, with 43 per cent of people saying it is noisiest, followed by the kitchen for 37 per cent.
In a bid to get some peace and quiet, 46 per cent of adults are most likely to nip off to their own bedroom to avoid the children, partner and pets.
A third of people will run a bath to get away from unwanted noise, while four in 10 will bury their head in a good book to block everything out.
Going to bed is the only way to get ‘me time’ for 30 per cent of those polled, while 25 per cent make their way into the garden for a little ‘potter’ if they want to escape.
Other ways people strive for peace and quiet are going for a run, meditating or doing a bit of baking.
A fifth will disappear to the toilet as it is the only place they are likely to be undisturbed.
Perhaps surprisingly, it is the husband or wife who gets the most blame for ruining the peace at home (29 per cent), followed by the children (24 per cent), the neighbours (19 per cent) and the dog (12 per cent).
Sarah White from British Gypsum continues: “Noise in the home can be the cause of many arguments, but at least it can be resolved by using various sound proofing products. By modifying your home people can live happier, quieter lives, without noise being an issue.”
TOP 50 DAILY DISTURBANCES
1. Local dogs barking
2. Cars zooming past too quickly
3. Cars revving in the drive
4. Partner snoring
5. Car alarms
6. Doors slamming
7. Washing machine running
8. Car horns
9. The television blaring
10. Next door doing DIY
11. Building work close by
12. The neighbour’s lawnmower
13. Telephones ringing
14. The alarm clock going off
15. House alarms
17. Babies crying
18. Smart phones beeping with Facebook updates or text messages
20. Banging gates
21. Cats meowing
22. People making phone calls
23. Planes flying overhead
24. The children nagging you for something
25. Construction noises
26. Creaky floorboards
27. Someone vacuuming
28. The children shouting at each other
29. Children’s television
30. Running around upstairs
31. Radio blaring
32. The kettle boiling
33. Clocks ticking
34. Coughing in the background
35. Squeaky door hinges
36. The dishwasher churning
37. Repetitive beeping or noises from children’s toys
38. People chewing
39. Cutlery on a plate
40. Children’s computer
41. The neighbour’s leaf blowers
42. Teenagers listening to heavy metal
43. Blender whirring
44. Dog drinking water
45. Typing loudly
46. Squealing brakes on a bicycle
47. Pens tapping
48. Birds outside
49. The neighbours arguing or shouting
50. People talking in the street