Sound Blocking vs. Sound Absorption Basics

Wall Panels

Many people are searching the internet for soundproofing ideas for their home or office. However, the terms “sound blocking” and “sound absorption” often get mixed up. When trying to find a solution to meet your needs, it is important to know the difference between the two. Below we will provide basic definitions and solutions to each.

Basics of Sound Absorption vs Sound Blocking

Sound Absorption

When referring to sound absorption, you should look for products that absorb echo in a room – such as a foam or fiberglass material.

Sound absorption is the process of converting sound energy into heat. It requires a soft, porous material. Sound absorbing materials are usually light and fluffy such as egg crate foam. If you want to block sound, this is not the material you need. If you simply want to reduce the echo in a space, try something like Acoustic Wall Panels or build your own using this tutorial from AcousticsFREQ.

Sound Absorption is best used in large areas with reflective surfaces, such as restaurants, lobbies, and conference rooms.

Sound Blocking

If you want a product that will stop or block a sound, you’ll need a heavier, denser material. For example, adding extra layers sheetrock to your walls to make them thicker. However, many people do not think about the sound coming in through their windows and doors. Adding an extra layer to your windows and doors is not only less of a hassle, but it is cheaper and less damaging to the original structure of the house. The AcousticCurtainTM and AcoustiDoorTM are easy to install and come with Velcro to seal them to the wall resulting in less sound coming through.

Sound Blocking Metaphor

Imagine you decide to build a pool in your backyard. You will need a material that will keep all of the water in. If you build the pool with sponges, they will absorb some of the water but will let most of it leak through. However, if you build the pool with a waterproof material and seal the edges, the water will be blocked and will stay inside of the pool. This is what we have created with the AcousticCurtainTM and AcoustiDoorTM soundproof door cover. These soundproof curtains are made with patented sound blocking materials that actually reduce noise through a window or door by 90%.

The AcoustiTrac soundproofing curtain is ideal for blocking sound on larger windows, since it glides easily on a track system, suspended above the window itself.

Ultimately, when deciding between sound absorption or sound blocking, consider if the noise issue is within the space (echo) or if it’s noise transfer from another space (outside traffic noise). By addressing the right problem, the results will be far better!