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What is Soundproofing and how does it work? | [Explained]


According to an article published in the USA today, America natural bastion for peace and, quiet is completely ruined by the sound pollution. The human-caused noise has significantly polluted almost 63 percent of the American continental protected area. Even the parks and, the natural forests are found to be polluted by the sound.
[Related]: Recommended Soundproofing Products | Best Quiet Propane Generators

Where the Americans will go for respite from the everyday hustle?

what is soundproofing and how does it work

Reuters also published an article saying that two third of the USA protected area are polluted by the sound.

Colorado State University and the U.S National Park Service confirmed that about 63 percent of the total American protected areas are exposed to man-made noises from cars and activities like mining.

So, soundproofing is the necessity of today. We have to soundproof our apartments to protect us, and our family from sound pollution.

What is soundproofing and how does it work?

Sound needs a medium to travel. So, we have a source of the sound and a receptor. The source is responsible for generating sound waves, and the receptor work is to receive the waves. For example, a horn is a source of the sound, and we humans are the receptors of the signals.

In the layman language, soundproofing is the process of reducing sound pressure with respect to the source and the receptor. 

To accomplish it, you can follow one of the many processes available in the market. For example, increasing the distance between the source and the receptor, using a noise barrier, sound baffles or anti-noise sound generators.

Whenever you are planning to soundproof a room, it's important to consider two points.

  • Improving the sound of the room
  • Reducing the sound leakage from the adjacent rooms as well as outdoors.

Benefits of soundproofing:

  • Suppress unwanted indirect sound waves such as reflection
  • Reduce the transmission of unwanted direct sound waves

Important terms related to Soundproofing:

Distance: The intensity of the noise pollution decreases as we increase the distance between the source and the receptor.

Damping: In the layman language, it means to reduce the resonance in the room by using the concept of absorption or redirection. The benefit of damping is that it can reduce the mechanical resonance in the structure of the room.

Absorption: It is a process of absorbing the sound. In this process, a significant portion of the sound wave is absorbed by the material, converting sound waves into heat energy. The choice of the absorbing material is very important when it comes to soundproofing a room.

Porous Absorbers: The porous absorbers are open cell rubber foams which absorbs the sound waves due to fiction within the structure. The porous absorber works effectively for high-medium frequencies. For lower frequencies, it's not very effective. The quality of the absorber depends upon a number of the factors- cell size, porosity, material thickness, material density, porosity etc.

Resonant Absorbers: In case you are looking for an absorber for low-medium frequencies then you can try resonant absorbers. They are very effective for narrow frequencies. They reduce the sound pollution by dumping the sound wave using reflection techniques.

Reflection: The dissimilarity of a surface plays a crucial role when it comes to the reflection of a sound wave from a medium. The reflection of the sound waves when it hits a concrete surface is very different from hitting a fiberglass or rubber.

Diffusion: It plays a very significant role when it comes to soundproofing a room. It helps in eliminating pockets of noise in a room. Mostly, it is used when the reflection from a hard surface such as concrete walls of the room is causing problematic echoes. It reduces the echo by scattering the sound in all the direction.

Noise Cancellation: It's an active noise control method that uses the concept of destructive interference. The process is very simple yet innovative, sound waves which are creating the problem are picked up by the microphone and analyzed by the computer, then sound waves with an opposite polarity (180 phase difference at all the frequencies) are released through the speaker to minimize the effect.

Types of Soundproofing:

  • Residential Soundproofing
  • Commercial Soundproofing
  • Automotive Soundproofing
Let's discuss all the three types one by one. It's very important to understand the differences between the three before you plan to soundproof your room or office.

When I planned to do soundproofing, there wasn't much knowledge available on the internet. So, I learned it hard way. After many unsuccessful attempts to get a perfect soundproof home office, I finally achieved it. 

Because of the above-mentioned reason I am putting all the details in this post that I think is very important and can't be neglected at all.

I always believe in the fact that it's always better to learn from other's experience rather than burning your own hand and then learning.

Life is too short to regret. Isn't it?

Residential Soundproofing: 

As the name suggests, residential soundproofing is mostly done to protect the room from the external noises. When I went for soundproofing in my home office, I mostly concentrated on doors and windows. I hope the same will work for you too. If you are successful in soundproofing your doors and windows in a correct way, most of your work is done.

                 1. How to soundproof a room cheaply?
                        2. How much does it cost to soundproof a room?
residential soundproofing

For example, solid wood doors work better as compared to hollow doors. Another important thing is the selection of the soundproof curtains. The first time I failed was because of not selecting the curtains correctly. Initially, I tried quite a few cheap curtains but none of them were up to the mark. Finally, for me, this soundproof curtain really worked. 

The curtain consists of air chambers called honeycombs. 

When you are planning to buy a soundproof curtain, then look for the curtain which has a seal at the edge of the corners. I will recommend you to use curtains with a triple-honeycomb design.

Once you have selected the curtains, the next thing that you need to do is to select the pane windows. Here, I will recommend you to select double-pane windows. Remember, the thickness of the glass really matters a lot.

Sometimes, the sound reduction is not as much as we want even though we have used the best quality soundproof materials. In that case, you need to install a second interior window. You don't need to disturb the exterior window, simply install a sliding interior window for the best outcome.

Commercial Soundproofing

In this category, mostly schools, colleges, businesses, and health centers are included. You will not believe but research suggests that soundproofing your office can help you increase the productivity of your workers. At times, employees get distracted due to co-workers phone calls, co-workers conversation etc. To reduce the distraction due to unwanted noise, soundproofing at the office is much recommended. Most importantly, if your office is in the crowded place, then soundproofing of the office should be the top priority.

[Related]: White Noise Machine for Office

commercial soundproofing

I have seen a lot of startups and SME's going for soundproofing at least their conference room in their office. At the professional level, it's very important that meeting and conference shouldn't get distracted because of outside sounds of cars and other vehicles.

Small offices generally have a problem in finding the place to install soundproofing acoustic panels. The successful installation of acoustic panels depends upon three strategies- cover and masking of sound, absorb sound and block sound transmission.

Generally, the preferred location for the installation is open work areas, traffic corridors, and circulation pathways.

Automotive Soundproofing

The unique thing about Automotive soundproofing is that it works effectively against a wide range of frequencies. Mostly used for reducing or completely eliminating the noise caused due to exhaust, engines and so on. When I installed the soundproofing device in my car, I achieved a significant noise reduction of 8 dB. I hope you will be aware of the fact that there are lots and lots of complex unnecessary noise created in the vehicle which is dependent mostly on the environment of driving and the vehicle speed.
automotive soundproofing

One of the limitations of the automotive environment is the thickness of the materials that can be used for soundproofing. Generally, a combination of dampers, absorbers, and barriers are used for this purpose. At times, waterproofing is also recommended depending upon the materials used in the soundproofing. Some of the common materials used are foam, polyester, polypropylene blend materials.

Vehicle soundproofing can not only reduce tire, wind, engine and road noises but also the inside noise up to 20 dB.

According to me, soundproofing can be defined as an environment which doesn't allow sound wave to either come inside or go outside.

How much does it cost to soundproof a room?

In fact, the answer is it depends. But I will try to help you with a certain range as per my experience in this domain. I will divide the entire cost into three parts- tools cost, labor cost, and material cost. The tool cost will be in the range of $20 to $36. The labor cost is pretty high because there is a need for professional labors. The labor costs range from $200 to $300 dollars. The material costs between $180 to $280. This is an estimate for a normal room. The bigger rooms and the complex projects will have a much higher price.

[Related]: Soundproofing Budget

What materials are used for soundproofing?

Acoustical panels – Low Cost.
Acoustic sound panels.
Noise and sound isolation foams.
MLV ( Mass Loaded Vinyl)
Soundproofing foam.
Clear Plastic Curtains in Sheet.
Sound barrier materials.
Noise absorbers.

What are the best materials for absorbing sound?

Acoustic Fiberglass.
Acoustic Foam.
Hanging Baffles.
Water Resistants Panels.

Wrapping Up: What is soundproofing? 

To conclude, soundproofing can be defined as the process of eliminating the sound wave movement from or to the environment.

Kindly let us about the methods that you use for soundproofing.


  1. Am looking to soundproof my room in a residential area in India.. just to keep vehicular noise n dogs barking etc noise out.. thanks for the information. I have some basic idea now.. I have a few questions..wondering if I could ask them?


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