One of the most common noise issues is the transference of unwanted sound from one space to another.
Some common examples are:
- Home theaters leaking sound to other parts of the house.
- Tenant noise between apartments and condos.
- Unwanted sound leaking between classrooms.
- Factory noise leaking into office spaces.
- High levels of sound from Bars & Restaurants disrupting adjoining apartment spaces.
So how does sound get around?
Well to understand how to block unwanted noise, you first have to understand how it gets around. Sound is nothing more than the disturbance of air molecules. For example, when you clap your hands, you create a chain reaction of one air molecule bumping into the next until the wave gradually dissipates. These sound waves travel 360 degrees in concentric circles, so essentially sound is everywhere. When it reaches your ear, tiny hairs in the ear canal vibrate sending the signal to the ear drum. Sound energy can also move similarly through solid material in the form of vibration.
What's the solution?
Stopping unwanted sound is simply a matter of interrupting or covering its path by applying the ABC's of Acoustics, Absorb, Block, Cover.
You can ABSORB sound waves with the use of acoustic absorbers such as fabric wrapped acoustic panels or high quality foam acoustic panels and blankets. This will eliminate sound from bouncing off of any hard surfaces such as drywall or concrete, which makes the space reverberant and raises overall sound levels. You can also absorb structural transference of sound by using products that dampen and isolate the noise source from the structure, disrupting the sound path.
You can BLOCK sound waves by first eliminating any penetrations that air can pass through such as HVAC vents, electrical outlets, and doors & windows. Adding sufficient mass, (heavy stuff), to existing walls and ceilings will prevent sound from passing through them. The heavier material, the more sound it will block.
You can COVER certain levels of unwanted sound such as speech by using sound masking, sometimes referred to as "white noise".