Quiet Mark Intro Video
Quiet Mark Intro Video
Our research reveals that almost half of Britons (49%) consider sound an important factor when buying homeappliances or kitchen table top electricals. This increases to 62% of those with an open plan kitchen, lounge ordining room. During the night, off peak energy prices are reduced, but everyday appliances like your washingmachine can be noisy - disturbing you, your sleeping family and possibly your neighbours.
Quiet Mark is the international certification programme associated with the UK Noise Abatement Society charitable foundation (est.1959). Through scientific testing and assessment Quiet Mark identifies the quietest appliances and technology products in multiple product categories providing an expert guide before purchase to help choose the quietest high performance noise reduction solutions to improve the soundscape of your home for health and wellbeing.
We are now spending more time living and working at home where the search for quieter technology is becoming a priority. Excess noise can increase stress levels, reduce productivity disturb sleep, impede health recovery and impair human relations. By choosing quieter technology and effective acoustic solutions a serene backdrop can be created to rebalance well-being at home, work and in every living space.
Quiet Mark started in response to public complaints received by the Noise Abatement Society’s 24/7 national noise help-line concerning the volume of excessive noise made by household tools, technologies and appliances which are intrusive. Quiet Mark established a credible, independent certification guide helping consumers easily identify quieter products for the home and industry.
In our stressful lives we are surrounded by a cacophony of sound and often feel unable to control this pollution. The louder the noise around us, the more energy we waste to overcome it. There can be huge differences in sound levels between machines that perform the same function to the same quality. The Quiet Mark allows consumers to make informed choices, based on independent, expert assessment of sound levels across the category.
Quiet Mark leads its definitive acoustic measurement system engaging with specialist acoustic teams conducting assessments of declared technical test data, and acoustic measurement of products in the purpose-built QuietMark test laboratory and specialist acoustic lab partners for specific product categories. Acoustic product data is compared like for like in each category triangulating the core performance data of the product with its acoustic performance. From a comprehensive data set of a selection of current comparable market samples for each category, between 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.
Sound does not exist until sound waves physically hit the delicate bone structure within the ear. The subsequent vibrations send signals to the brain where they are interpreted into the different characteristics of sound that we understand. Sound waves affect humans emotionally, as well as physically, and exactly the same sound may affect us in very different ways depending on where and when that sound is heard. And it’s not just about loudness, it’s also about the quality of the sound, the tonalities, high sharpness, roughness and irregular fluctuations during operation that has a profound effect on our physical and emotional responses.
Noise is unwanted sound. The damaging effect of excessive noise on health, productivity and social cohesion is seriously underestimated. World Health Organisation research shows that environmental noise pollution affects mental and physical health and is now second only to air pollution as the world’s largest killer pollutant. In ourfast-paced lives, vibrancy is exciting and necessary. But this heightened state can only be valued if there is also the opportunity to choose the alternatives of calm, quiet and the chance to switch off. Quiet Mark helps consumers refine their aural environment as Soundscape becomes the new design priority to support a vital health balance. If a sound is perceived as too loud or has an irritating quality or is unable to be stopped, there will be both a physiological and psychological reactions which could be extremely detrimental to health and wellbeing. Noise annoyance has been linked to depression and anxiety Hypertension, increased secretion of stress hormones, thickening of the blood and cardiovascular disease are resultant conditions experienced from a distressed reaction to excessive and unwanted noise.
Currently sound is commonly measured in the linear logarithmic decibel system. Measurements are taken from the products sound source to determine the sound pressure level, the difference in pressure between a soundwave and the ambient air pressure. This system is complex because every three decibel increase equates to a doubling of sound intensity or acoustic power therefore the level of declared decibels is often not easily interpreted as to how loud something will be actually be experienced. Also, sound is context driven and the same sound may be perceived differently in different places, at different times, and often dependent on an individual's emotional response to that particular sound. Beyond this the tone and frequencies of sound add another layer of analytical complexity in the evaluation process.
The Quiet Mark acoustic testing laboratory has been purpose built with hard floors, walls and surfaces to reflect a realistic domestic home, office or washroom environment with tiled surfaces and open plan living space to make sure we test repeatably in the toughest acoustic setting. Small Domestic Appliances (SDAs) and home/office technologies including kettles, food preparation, floor-care, personal grooming and office equipment are tested with a sound meter at the source of the sound out-put, but without influence from external environmental noise with typical background sound levels falling well below 25dB(A). Another factor that is considered during the Quiet Mark acoustic assessment is the listener experience of that appliance. Most sound isn’t monotone—it typically comprises many frequencies at varying levels. A product may have a low-noise output, but may also have an annoying element to that sound quality which may mar the consumer experience. This is also taken into consideration in the assessment process.
Quiet Mark’s expert acoustic analysis team independently reviews declared acoustic test and core performance data based on BS EN or ISO standards comparing products in category and sub-category like for like with other products currently on the market, including dishwashers, laundry, refrigeration, extractor hood and home technology. Between 10% and 20% of the quietest products in each category are eligible for Quiet Mark certification. Each product category is re-evaluated annually to reflect new models coming on to the market to provide the public with latest qualifying models. Quiet Mark has built unique market-wide datasets over many years to monitor progress in acoustic engineering
Typically air control products often have a low decibel range, however the quality of the sound emitted and the length of time the product is being used in close proximity to the user in sleeping, working, and living environments, means the frequency analysis of these types of products need closer inspection to analyse their sound output through various performance modes. Quiet Mark take the loudest readings of an air control product to determine its eligibility for Quiet Mark certification whilst again core performance is compared like for like as in all other standard assessment procedure. Air control categories include air purifiers, dehumidifiers, humidifiers, cooling and heating fans, extractor fans, air conditioning units and domestic ventilation systems.