Noise of kitchen appliances and installations

Noise of kitchen appliances and installations

Recommendation 138
Noise producing installations and appliances in the kitchen such as a ventilator motor should be placed outside the kitchen, ducts should be isolated. When purchasing kitchen systems and machines find out which brands offer silent ones. Have these tested by the resident beforehand.

Chapter (theme)
Installations and appliances (kitchens)

Because of
sensory oversensitivity to sound

In order to
address oversensitivity to sounds.

As explained in the theme ‘kitchens’, this space poses exceptionally high demands on many senses and also on bodily and cognitive functioning. People with autism who respond well to these challenges are richly rewarded, those who don’t will experience considerable disadvantages in daily life because of it. For these reasons it is crucial that optimal conditions are created through building, interior design and the choice and installation of machinery and appliances, which is at issue here.

Ventilation, heating (air-conditioning / HVACs)
The sound of downdrafts and other ventilation and/or heating systems (or HVAC’s which combine these and AC-systems) can be experienced as extremely disturbing.
The motors of downdrafts, ventilators and heat sources can best be placed out of earshot, for instance in a (soundproof) hall closet. The ducts need to be soundproof as well. Most – if not all – of these are available in ‘silent’ versions. (Ahrentzen & Steele mention a number which are on the U.S. market, some of which are also for sale in Europe.)

Small kitchen appliances
With all ‘small’ kitchen machines such as mixers, coffee grinders and blenders, there are more and less noisy versions on the market. Therefore, it is strongly advised the resident has the last word when buying and actually test them beforehand; especially if others (co-)decide on the purchase.
High pitch may be a particular problem as this frequency can be within the hearing range of people on the spectrum but above the threshold of others.

In case the above offers insufficient solutions and such appliances cause more harm than ease and comfort; they can be done without.

Larger kitchen appliances
Many consider machines such as dishwashers, refrigerators and freezers indispensable. (See for those also Ahrentzen & Steele.)


*Ahrentzen & Steele

On page 46 of Ahrentzen, S. & Steele, K. (2010). Advancing Full Spectrum Housing: Designing for Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Tempe, AZ: Arizona Board of Regents (download here) a number of brands are mentioned which market ‘silent versions’ of their products.