Why is soundproofing important and what are the reasons for soundproofing a room or your house?
In a whimsical soundtrack by songwriter Paul Simon dubbed “One Man’s Ceiling is Another Man’s Floor”, he lamented the noisy attitudes of fellow apartment dwellers.
Nearly every one of us living in a residential house can relate to the essence of the song. It is true that the world around is indeed noisy.
My personal experience of noise nuisance in the recent past has been somewhat unpleasant.
Living in a suburb with so many residents, my home had always been filled with buzzing instruments, computers and other modern equipment from outside.
Indeed residents in my neighborhood have also complained of certain low-pitched noise emanating from an unknown source. The disturbance has made it almost impossible to find total peace and quiet in my home.
Soundproofing was the magic word that ended the noise nuisance for me. It is true that most buildings need sound insulation. But just how important is soundproofing for your home?
10 Reasons Why You Should Soundproof Your House
Soundproofing your house can change the quality of life for the better. Reducing sound in your home is the surest way to give you maximum relaxation.
When constructing new buildings, it is significant to invest in the right system of soundproofing.
As mentioned earlier, soundproofing has moved beyond a matter of convenience to one of legality in certain jurisdictions and more importantly it has also become a matter of public health concern.
Therefore, the earlier you plan for soundproofing, the faster it is to achieve a better quality of life.
Below are 10 reasons why you should soundproof your house.
First and foremost, soundproofing your house prevents voice leaks. This makes sure that your neighbors don’t hear your private conversations.
Sometimes, while you are tired and need some rest, the music and loud conversations can be heard from your neighbor’s building and this can be disturbing.
Therefore, if you are someone who wants privacy just like I do, then it is essential for you to think about soundproofing your house.
Soundproofing your building will prevent airborne noise thus enhancing your privacy. So whether the noise is coming from inside or outside the house, it is always comforting to return to a quiet place and relax.
As a homeowner, soundproofing your rooms gives you privacy and allows you to carry out your daily activities without disturbing other family members who may be resting or sleeping. Soundproofing also gives your home extra insulating value.
#2 Health and safety
Just as too much sound is bad for the environment, it is disturbing for the human body too.
The prevalence of cardiovascular diseases, including high blood pressure, stroke and other heart diseases have been clearly connected to prolonged exposure to sound/noise.
The economists will tell you that, the costs associated with prolonged exposure to noise far outweigh the costs of soundproofing your house. Therefore, soundproofing your home is worth every penny.
#3 Avoidance of Hearing problems
Soundproofing your house is an effective way of avoiding hearing loss problems.
Hearing impairment has become an important public health phenomenon, with the World Health Organisation estimating that 1.3 billion people suffer from the condition globally and that nearly 10% of the worldwide population is currently exposed to unwanted sound levels that can cause hearing impairment.
Aside from the issue of hearing loss, there are non-auditory health effects of sound such as sleep disturbance, annoyance, cognitive impairment and heart diseases.
#4 Enhance Quality of Life
There is no doubt that soundproofing your house enhances the quality of life and sleep quality.
Residents who are exposed to sound regularly tend to experience a decline in their ability to read, learn and understand. High noise levels affect human cognitive functions such as the ability to recall, problem-solving capabilities etc.
Research also indicates that children who study in noisy environments often exhibit low cognitive function. Additionally, annoyance is one effect of noise that can affect the quality of life.
Even though trivial, annoyance can lead to stress, anger and sometimes exhaustion. Sleep disturbance has one of the greatest effects on quality of life as it impacts on a person’s alertness and performance at the work place.
#5 Home Comfort
You want to watch your favorite team play or want to watch that blockbuster movie? But the kids are asleep?
Soundproofing is the only means of defining comfortability at home. Soundproofing helps to reduce noise levels to the barest minimum to allow for a sound sleep.
So whiles you enjoy your favorite team play, you can rest assured that the kids are having a sound sleep. Soundproofing your home also prevents your house from all the buzzing sounds from outside.
#6 Regulations and Policy
Many countries have now enacted legislation to deal with the issue of excessive noise/sound pollution.
Even though in some jurisdictions, there is no strict enforcement of the rules and regulations, it is important for residents to adhere to these regulations.
These rules and regulations offer good reasons for residents to soundproof their homes and indeed other noisy public places so as to ensure that one does not fall on the wrong side of the law.
#7 Soundproofing Enhances Effective communication
In residential and public places where noise levels reach about 50-60 decibels, it distracts good communication between two people.
Understanding and interpreting the speech and communication of another person becomes difficult and can sometimes lead to confusion and misunderstanding. Noise interferes with communication not only in industrial settings but also in residential places.
This interference can have adverse social consequences particularly for those with hearing impairment. Excessive sound may also compromise security at home and in the office.
You need to eliminate all causes of misunderstanding associated with excessive sound in the home and office and there is only one perfect way to do this – soundproofing.
#8 Neighbor Comfort
Just as you need to be comfortable at home, your neighbor deserves similar comfort too. Therefore, soundproofing your house will not only offer you home comfort but will ensure that your neighbor is indeed enjoying some comfort and a high quality of life.
Soundproofing your house makes it difficult for sound generated in your home to affect your neighbor. This goes a long way to reduce conflict situations between neighbors.
#9 Avoidance of Flanking Transmission
Sounds emanating from other residential dwellers can be transmitted not only directly via separating walls but also along adjacent elements like internal floors, vents and external walls.
Sound that travel via these media is called the flanking sound. Flanking sound can be avoided by proper soundproofing systems to prevent sound from escaping through other channels.
#10 Ensuring Construction Effectiveness
For newly built houses, every owner must make it a point to use materials that can enhance noise reduction. This should be included in the very first stage of the building plan.
As mentioned earlier, building projects must meet certain regulations. It is, therefore essential to incorporate soundproofing ideas in the building plan to avoid any queries from building inspectors.
Concept of Noise
This article discussed 10 reasons why you should soundproof your house. Even as we delved into the main object of this article, let us apprise ourselves of the concept of noise.
In elementary school, and if indeed you were paying attention to your physics lessons, you may have learned that sound is acoustic energy and just like any other form of energy, it cannot be destroyed but can only be transformed into a different form of energy.
In simple terms, sound is a form of vibrational energy which passes through the air and is also conducted through liquids and solids. Whereas sound is airborne, it is impossible for it to escape directly from an environment that is airtight.
The vibrational energy of the sound would normally cause the walls of its environment to move and they will, in turn, produce new sound waves that can be heard outside.
This explanation gives us a significant clue regarding how to contain sound, thus you need to decrease the amount by which the walls will move. This is the beginning of the soundproofing idea.
In recent times, the use of sound insulation and absorption materials to decrease ambient noise have seen increased use.
In fact, soundproofing buildings has become necessary in the wake of certain legislative requirements in some jurisdictions.
Therefore, soundproofing is not just an issue of convenience but one of legality as well. The subsequent discussions in this article will also reveal that soundproofing your house has health and social benefits too.
Effects of Noise Pollution
The effects of excessive noise on the quality of life are wide-ranging. Indeed it affects our health and behavior.
Unwanted amounts of sound can cause damage to the psychological health of humans. Excessive noise results in high levels of stress, sleep disturbances, hearing loss and can even cause hypertension and other health and behavioral disorders.
Chronic exposure to noise may cause cardiovascular disorders and can also cause a rise in blood pressure.
The effects are not only limited to humans as high noise/sound levels could have a detrimental effect on wild species. Wild species are exposed to the risk of death as sound interferes with their sense of prey detection and avoidance.
Noise also affects communication, reproduction and the navigation processes of most wild species as most of them use sound to communicate and navigate.
Useful Tips for Limiting the Impact of Noise
It is almost impossible to eliminate all forms of noise in the house.
In one way or the other, we still get exposed to certain amounts of sound. And considering all the adverse effects of noise, it is ideal to take some combative measures to reduce noise levels right from its source.
So the key to reducing excessive sound is to, first of all, identify its source. Below are some useful tips for reducing noise and its adverse effects.
Intense exposure to external noise can be disturbing for the home. For instance, people living near airports or transport hubs may find aircraft noise very disturbing.
In order to mitigate the noise level vibrating into your building, you can install a sound barrier secondary glazing system on all your windows.
You may choose to replace your windows with double glazing as well. However, this can be very expensive and so secondary glazing systems are preferred as a more economical alternative.
Secondary glazing involves building a second window inside the existing one. Aluminum frames, acoustic seals or thick laminated glass can be used to build the second window.
The perimeter frame of the second window should be sealed to the existing window such that there are no available spaces for the penetration of sound.
It is advisable to keep at a moderate level the volume of appliances as high volumes can cause disturbances for family members.
One effective measure in limiting the impact of noise is to wear protective gear whiles working in noisy environments.
Machinery and equipment used at home should be maintained regularly to keep them functioning at optimum levels. The absence of routine maintenance will cause the equipment to produce excessive noise and at the same time reduce its efficiency.
The effect of noise on the physiological health and safety of humans cannot be disregarded. Therefore adhering to the aforementioned precautions to limit noise pollution would certainly go a long way to curb this urban menace.
Noise/sound is omnipresent and affects mankind in many aspects of our daily lives. Aspects of life such as communication, safety, health, privacy etc are terribly affected by this new urban menace.
In our residential settings, noise can affect speech communication and limit social participation by elderly people. It affects our cognitive functions and is also known to affect speech intelligibility in children.
Obviously, it is quite rewarding to take the necessary steps to reduce the nuisance caused by excessive sound in our society.
Soundproofing has become a useful technique in the exercise of eliminating or reducing sound in our homes. The benefits of soundproofing your house are enormous.
Aside from the privacy and comfort that soundproofing offers, it enhances our cognitive functioning and productivity by giving us a calm atmosphere to think well and be creative.
The savings that you make in terms of health when you soundproof your house cannot be underestimated either. The article also shed light on some useful tips to reducing noise and its adverse impacts.