Hands up everyone who needs total silence to write, or concentrate on work of any kind?
I don't, always. Mostly it depends on my mood, and how well (or otherwise!) the writing is going. If I'm really focussed on a story, really in the groove, then I'm lost in that other world and an entire herd of elephants could blunder through my study and I probably wouldn't notice. If I'm having difficulty concentrating, a mouse tripping over a pebble will interrupt my thought-processes and I'll probably never get them back.
Yesterday, though, I discovered that there is a noise level beyond which I just can't work, and it involves two sets of neighbours having two different lots of work done at once. Workmen on one side were cutting stone. Workmen two doors down on the other side were lopping trees, with two chainsaws and a shredder going full-tilt. The result? Sheer bloody cacophony from 9 am till 5 pm and a Fiona who was tearing out her hair and climbing up the walls.
Needless to say, I did not get much work done...