Quiet Mark is the international approval award programme associated with the UK Noise Abatement Society charitable foundation. It encourages companies worldwide to prioritise noise reduction within the design of everyday machines and appliances, and find solutions to noise problems.
Through scientific testing and assessment, we can identify the quietest products in a given category, making purchase decisions quicker and easier. The more successful the scheme becomes, the more designers and manufacturers will be driven to reduce sound levels in their next generation of product.
"I couldn't hear my baby crying over the noise of the hairdryer"
Quiet Mark sprang from the 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 and appliances which invade the fabric of everyday life.
Quiet Mark was established to provide a credible, independent scheme that would help consumers easily identify quieter products for the home and industry.
The remit of this national charitable foundation is to abate excessive and unnecessary noise to protect the public and improve the environment. Working with Government and Industry over the last fifty years the Noise Abatement Society has achieved a reputation for collaborative partnerships to find practical solutions to noise problems, underscored by programmes to raise awareness and educate about measured, considered and responsible use of sound.
Does it really matter if our appliances are quieter? The World Health Organisation research on Noise Effects and Morbidity believes it is crucial. It says; ‘Environmental noise acts as a stress, at night by disturbing sleep, and via annoyance during the day… With chronically strong annoyance, a causal chain may exist between the three steps: health-annoyance-disease’. So it is extremely important to carefully consider the collection of machines we surround ourselves with. A desirable appliance must not only look good, but needs to be efficient and have a pleasant sound quality. An appliance instantly becomes unwelcome if its starts to dominate.
With the trend for open plan living and quest for light and space, replacing curtains and carpets with hard floor surfaces and shutters has brought a whole set of new challenges and created a more complex and noisier domestic soundscape.
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.
Working with Anderson Acoustics, and in partnership with Good Housekeeping Institute, we test sound levels from a range of products from across the market at our own labs. Where possible, these tests will mimic real life conditions. Alternatively, we can review and validate sound test reports provided by manufacturers, or where applicable refer to regulated Energy Label schemes where sound levels are declared. We also take in to consideration the core performance of the product, and look to work with products across a range of price points to cater for most budgets.
Every category is different. We do not publish decibel levels for our awarded products, partly because the decibel system is complex and poorly understood by the public, but mostly because we have already done the complex assessment ourselves, and the presence of the mark on a product gives the consumer confidence that it has been independently and expertly assessed. We select products from a range of brands, to give the consume choice, that are at the quiet end of the spectrum for that product type.
Not necessarily. It can be very easy to make a product quiet, if you are prepared to compromise performance. But who wants a quiet hair dryer that takes an hour to dry your hair, or a quiet dishwasher that leaves your plates dirty? You will only find the Quiet Mark on high performing products, that have been acoustically engineered to be quieter than similar performing products.