Soundproofing is a method for the reduction of sound pressure in relation to a particular sound source and receptor. It may also be referred to as decibel reduction, sound insulation, or acoustic insulation. The installation of soundproofing should result in the reduction of decibels (dB) or absorption of sound. There is a variety of soundproofing materials, each suitable for distinct applications. The use of soundproofing products is recommended whenever you want to minimise the level of sound that is being generated in a different space, room, or enclosure from your own.
Soundproofing can be an effective means of suppressing unwanted indirect sound waves including the reflection of echoes, resonances, and reverberations. It can also be used to reduce the transmission of undesirable indirect sound waves that would otherwise be highly noticeable to an involuntary listener.
Soundproofing may be applied to either residential or commercial properties. In the first instance, the aim will be to reduce or completely eliminate the input of sounds from outside sources. Residential soundproofing is commonly focussed on existing structures, such as windows and doors. As a result, standard soundproofing options include the fitting of curtains and double-paned windows. Exterior windows may also be fitted for improved soundproofing in some instances.
Similarly, soundproofing can be applied to commercial buildings such as restaurants, schools and office buildings for the reduced disturbance of staff and customers. It is quite common for soundproofing technologies to be included in the design of open-plan offices to minimise noise and help with worker productivity. Such technologies might also be included in areas where confidential discussions are regularly held.
Soundproofing materials enable the minimisation of sound in the following ways:
- Blocking airborne noise through the addition of mass to a structure and resulting in the reflection or conversion of sound energy into heat
- Separating or dampening the impact noise between structures and minimising the circulation of sound vibration/energy
- Absorbing sound that would otherwise reverberate and echo within a contained space