How to Block Out Low Frequency Noise

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Nowadays millions of us live in big cities and love it. However, no matter how amazing it is, or how many possibilities it offers for work, fun, making connections, etc, it also comes often at a high price.

One of the things we get when living surrounded by many people is the noise.

Many people are used to it and don’t pay any attention to it, while they go about their daily activities, however, the rest who aren’t “immune” to it may struggle quite a bit.

How to Block Out Low Frequency Noise

What Is Low-Frequency Noise?

Low-frequency noise refers to the noise of about 100 -150 Hz and is often very hard to measure and assess.

This is a type of noise that many people are disturbed by and it is often described as “low rumble” or “pressure sensations”.

This is because some people have a low-frequency threshold which is more sensitive than the average threshold.

Most of the people don't even hear, but the rest who do need to take special measures to block it.

How disturbing it might be shows the fact that this noise can cause various reactions, such as high blood pressure, stress, unease, trouble with sleeping, and even anxiety and depression.

Low Frequency Noise

Low-Frequency Noise Sources

Low-frequency noise sound waves are long and may transmit on very long distances, making the source of it hard to find.

Often the source can be found and controlled in case it is in your home, however, when it is unknown certain measures need to be taken, as it enters your home through the windows, roof, doors, walls, etc, by traveling through the air.

Low-frequency noise can have numerous sources, however, they are mostly linked to the industry and some of them are pumps, boilers, electrical installations, amplified music, construction sites, and other types of environmental noise pollution in urban areas.

How to Block Out Low Frequency Noise

What You'll Be Needing:

PRODUCT
DESCRIPTION
Isolation Box
To block out gadget noise
Soundproof Curtains
To block noise in room
Soundproof Blankets
To block noise in room
Fiberglass Insulation
To absorb noise

1. Use an Isolation Box  

As I already said, it is possible to find the source of the low-frequency noise, and that is exactly what I managed to do.

A few years ago my family bought a PC mostly for playing games and it was often turned on, even during the night.

For several months after the purchase, I wasn't able to sleep well. That lasted until I finally realized that the low-frequency noise was being emitted from the computer base, that was in the adjacent room and that it was the source of the problem.

Well, after I realized what was causing my distress, I was able to do something about it.

I bought an isolation box which reduces the noise by 30dB and it blocked the noise very well! This box is made of high-density noise-absorbing acoustic foam and it does wonder!

If you like the idea of an isolation box or would like to make one yourself, please make sure that it has openings, because without them your computer will heat up abnormally.

Another way of blocking low-frequency noise is to move the PC to the adjacent room and drill holes through the wall, so you can then extend the keyboard, monitor, and mouse to the first one, while the noise is blocked by the wall.

Tip: An isolation box can be your "best friend" not only for a computer base but also for other gadgets, such as microphones and amplifiers, so that they can be as loud as you wish them to be, without creating huge ambient noise.

They are a very good choice because they are:

  • Perfect Sound Blockage – This box (cabinet) surrounds the item that creates the noise and stops any sound leakage, allowing you to sleep beside it (if it’s the computer), turn it all the way up (if you use an amp often), etc
  • Accessible – Isolation boxes are found in many stores and on many websites, they come in various sized, designs and are made for all kinds of purposes (Computer base, amp, microphone, etc)
  • Easily custom made – There are dozens of DIY videos with steps and advices
  • Affordable – They go from $30, but it all depends on the brand and can go up to several thousands of dollars
  • It stops the problems that the low-frequency noise might cause

2. Install a Drywall

While I was having trouble with computer-based noise my neighbors were experiencing another problem. Their son was in a band and not only that they practiced every day, but they practiced in their house.

Since the boys were playing on 4 instruments and used an amplifier in their garage they knew that something had to be done.

They ended up remodeling the walls and the ceiling by installing gypsum boards on them and they also used an isolation box for the amplifier.

Related: How to Reduce Bass Noise from Neighbors

When you are facing huge noise and vibrations, for example from a loud amplifier, it is important to know that heavier and denser materials are needed to block the noise.

how-to-install-plasterboard

Drywall (also known as plasterboard, gypsum board, gypsum panel) is one of the most popular and cost-effective ways to soundproof the walls and the ceiling. It is mostly used for interiors of buildings.

Drywall is mostly made of gypsum plaster that creates the core and paper liner that covers the core. More material can be added to the mixture to make it thicker and as we said, the thicker the insulation is, the better it will serve the purpose.

Gypsum is the perfect solution for several reasons, such as:

  • Flexibility: It only takes a day or two to install these boards compared to other wall panel options
  • Fire Resistance: Gypsum is one of the top 5 fire-resistant materials - it can burn, however, very slowly and it doesn't spread the fire.
  • Sound Dampening: Gypsum boards dampen the outside sound very effective and are used in many industries
  • Convenience: Many gypsum boards come in standard sizes and are very easily and quickly attached with minimal crew requirements.
  • Cost: Gypsum is a very common occurring mineral which makes it quite affordable and a very good option for almost any wall application.

3. Use Soundproof Curtains

When our kids were small we lived in a very urban neighborhood where many people often had social gatherings, parties and were just pretty loud.

Because of that, our kids couldn't sleep well, even though we had drywall insulation.

That is when we decided to soundproof our windows as well with the soundproof curtains and we were very pleased with this choice!

Best Soundproof Room Divider Curtains

Soundproof curtains are great for several reasons:

  • The Material – They are made of a thick and heavy material with thousands of pores that absorb the sound and echo and block the noise that way. Not only that these curtains absorb the sound, but they also serve as a thermal insulation and bring you shade by blocking the light. This is a triple bonus, unless you wish to keep as much light as possible in the room.
  • Affordable – Their price is usually between $15 and $50
  • Easy and fast installation – It doesn’t take more than 15 -30 minutes to hang them and enjoy the silence
  • They stop your unease, anxiety or any other symptom that the low-frequency noises causes

Tip: How effective your curtains are going to be will depend primarily on the size and thickness of the material. They should be as thick as possible and have a bigger surface than your window, so they cover it completely, as well as the area around it, because the bigger coverage will make them more efficient.

Also, you should hang them as close to the ceiling as possible to block even more sound.

4. Use Soundproof Blankets

In addition to the soundproof curtains, you could also use soundproof blankets. They are mostly used in noisy workshops, music studios, home studios or just for blocking the traffic and other environmental noise. 

These blankets can be either quilted or non-quilted. In order to block the low-frequency noise, they must be quilted and very thick. On the other hand, the cheaper, non-quilted version will help you with blocking higher decibel sounds.

audimute-sound-absorption-sheet

Soundproof blankets are usually made of fiberglass or polyester material, which works as a sound absorbent.

They are a good option for the following reasons:

  • Soundproofing and Thermal Insulation- Not only that they will help you enjoy much needed silence, but will also make the room a bit warmer
  • Affordable – Their price is usually between $15 and $50
  • Fast Setup – Most of them have grommets that are used for hanging included,  and this makes their setup even easier
  • Various designs give them an even bigger plus

5. Consider Fiberglass Insulation

If you are about to build your home or reconstruct it for any reason, well, now is the time to think about good sound insulation!

I strongly recommend that you use fiberglass insulation.

Fiberglass is made of thousands of small glass particles and is loosely packed.

Not only does it stop the transfer of sound, but it does the same for heat and cold because it holds the temperatures and sound waves and prevents them from passing through.

It is used to insulate walls, ceilings, your attic and it is mostly used for the exterior walls.

However, many professionals suggest that you put it inside the interior walls as well, for example in your bedroom, bathroom, living room, etc, since you will get better insulation. 

Soundproofing Alternatives

Besides using these common above-mentioned ways for soundproofing, there are also other soundproofing options and gadgets.

  • Damping Compound (viscoelastic adhesive): This is one of the most economical and best ways to block low-frequency noise from music, movie theaters, construction machinery, etc.
  • Acoustic Sealant: This soundproofing material is a much better choice than an ordinary caulk, since it remains flexible forever, while the caulk gets very hard and can crack over time, reducing the sound barrier. The sealant should be liberally applied wherever there is a joint between two soundproofing materials.
  • Acoustic Panels: They became very popular a few years ago and can be seen in numerous restaurants, offices, music studios, etc as they are perfect for noise reductions and absorption of noise pollution. Not only that they reduce sound levels, but they can also serve as a beautiful decoration. See here for the best acoustic panels.
  • Headphones: This is a gadget that anyone suffering from low-frequency noise should possess because they cancel the noise by generating the "opposite" sounds which mean that they neutralize each other. They work the best with low-frequency sounds, while they aren't of much help for the higher frequencies.

Final Word: On Blocking Out Low Frequency Noise

As hard as it may be to cope with low-frequency noise sensitivity, it is important to know that many methods can be used to block it or at least reduce effectively.

It is easier to first start with more simple ways, such as using soundproofing blankets, curtains ad headphones, and then if they don't bring much comfort, more serious steps should be made.

I hope that the above-mentioned experiences, the solutions, and alternatives will help you with your battle with this problem.

How to Block Out Low Frequency Noise

How to Block Out Low Frequency Noise

Here we talk about how to block out low frequency noise like your PC humming, road vehicles, aircraft, industrial machinery and other urban noises.

Active Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Instructions

  1. Use an Isolation Box  
  2. Install a Drywall
  3. Use Soundproof Curtains
  4. Use Soundproof Blankets
  5. Consider Fiberglass Insulation
I want to block out low frequency noise