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Air Filtration Systems are the Next Battleground in the War Against Noise

In the age of COVID-19 and increased awareness of airborne illnesses – not to mention ever-rising air pollution levels – air quality is a foremost concern for many regulatory bodies. Air purifiers and filtration systems, both commercial and industrial, have seen massively increased demand over the past two years and have proven to be a useful tool in combating COVID-19 in enclosed areas like schools and shopping malls. But many purification systems also contribute to another insidious form of pollution: noise. Every air filtration system has to pull air through it in order to function, and that can’t be done without making noise — no matter what the marketing says. At home, this noise can impact sleep quality and our ability to concentrate; in public, it can add an additional layer of noise below the already dense audioscape. So what are air filtration brands doing to address noise in their products? And what can consumers do to ensure they’re putting their money towards the highest quality brands? Let’s take a look.

The Problem

While clean air is of utmost importance for a healthy life, getting there needs to be done thoughtfully. Though there has been a lot of news and research around air quality and pollution, the World Health Organisation has also ranked noise as the second most deadly form of pollution affecting the world today. Excess unwanted noise increases our stress levels and can lead to physical and mental health problems like hypertension, insomnia, and anxiety. If we’re regularly exposed to this nuisance noise, it can drastically impact our quality of life.

If a consumer purchases an air filter under the assumption it’ll make their household (or a commercial site manager purchases one for their building) a cleaner place only to find it to be disruptively loud, they are just trading one health problem for another.

Measuring noise is also context-dependent. Noise can be much easier to mentally block out during the day — but at night, when there’s nothing to cover it up, it can disrupt your wellbeing and cause real damage. Distance, intervening structures, the source’s frequency, our own misophonia, and more fa