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While soundproof curtains are used on an array of various applications – such as industrial soundproofing of loud machines, as well as blocking outside noise in residential homes and apartments – the effectiveness of the soundproof curtains is highly dependent on the level of outside noise.
Per ANSI/ASA S2.71, a small vibration in a room, as low as 1dB above ambient, is noticeable. Meanwhile, a 3dB increase may be required to notice the sound if the noise is airborne. Once a level of 5 dB above background is reach, the noise becomes distracting. And finally, above 10dB increase, the sound is actually alarming, even more so if it is randomized!
When Soundproof Curtains are the Right Solution
To determine if a soundproof curtain will help your situation, consider where your noise is coming from and how loud it is. While the soundproofing curtain core has a 20dB STC, that does not necessarily mean it will IMPROVE the STC of your window by that amount. Unfortunately, the STC of the window and soundproof curtain are not simply added. However, through field and laboratory testing, we have found that Residential Acoustics’ Soundproof Curtains can improve the sound-blocking of your window-curtain system by 30-75%. This also depends on whether your window is glazed, double-paned, and effectively sealed. The less sound your current window blocks, the more the soundproof curtain will improve it.
Finally, consider if the sound is coming up through the floor or walls. If so, you may have a vibration issue. When that occurs, soundproof curtains often will not help alleviate the problem. Instead, you should consider using a sound masking device. This is also helpful for extremely loud airborne sounds that, while muffled by the soundproofing curtains, may still be audible internally.
Once you’ve decided where the sound is coming from (ground or window), and how distracting it is (annoying or alarming), you can determine if a soundproof curtain alone is the correct treatment, or if other options such as sound masking machines may be most helpful.