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There are a few primary ways to soundproof your bedroom from sound that transmits into your room and house. It can either transmit through materials between the sound source and yourself (experiencing a transmission loss as it does), or it can come in around them through gaps in your roof, walls, windows, and doors.
Soundproofing your living space can be a difficult task. The first step is to understand how sound gets there, and what options you have to minimize it.
A Brief History: How Sound Travels
As sound propagates from the emission source, it reduces in proportion to the square of the distance it travels. That is why it is critical to put the maximum distance between yourself and the sound source. By plugging one hole in your bedroom, but leaving others (for instance in your bathroom window) open, you are increasing the distance the sound must travel through openings to reach your ears. Although the thought of a hole in your house may seem extreme, sound only needs the slightest openings to slip through and give you uncomfortable nights! Check cracks in your window pane or doors that appear slightly ajar. If light can penetrate the opening, then sound can seep in as well.
How to Soundproof Your Room
By increasing the amount of material in between the sound source and yourself, you increase the transmission loss through the medium. This loss is heavily dependent on the atomic structure of the medium. Dense materials, with little space between atoms, block more sound, but if they are too stiff they will also allow the sound to pass be converted from the air and resonate through them. The best material is flexible, but dense enough to reflect the sound back toward its source. If this is the case, the transmission loss is proportional to the density and thickness of the material. However, since the decibel scale is logarithmic, you will actually see a 10dB transmission loss when you double the thickness of the material.
Once sound enters your house, it will reflect around into it is absorbed into the environment and dissipated by heat. We’ve all been in loud gyms where the sound bounces around for several seconds, and the ear detects this reverberation as an echo. If you add sound absorbers into the room, this will trap the sound between the light, porous fibers and quickly lessen the sound reflection. It is important to remember that the physics between acoustic absorption and reflection is very different, and you must attack each of the issues separately.
One product on the market that is beneficial with both issues is Residential Acoustics’ AcousticCurtainTM and Acousti-DoorTM. They combine a sound-blocking internal barrier with sound-absorbing fabrics to minimize the sound transmitted into your living space, and reducing reverberation once it is there. These soundproof curtain and door panels are unique to the market, combining technology from the acoustical engineering field with the aesthetics of interior design.
By using common-sense approaches to soundproof your bedroom, you can reduce the outside noise and finally get peace and quiet.