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Ask Slashdot: Hacking Urban Noise?

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the simply-remove-eardrums dept.

Technology 474

b1tbkt writes "I live at the corner of one of the busiest intersections in my city (pop. 350k). Although I've replaced all windows, insulated, and caulked every square inch of the place, the fire trucks and cars with obnoxious stereos still regularly intrude on my home office. Most of the noise comes in through the windows. I'm considering mounting an oblong parabolic reflector in the ceiling above the windows with a steady feed of white or brownian noise directed into it (e.g., via a small speaker placed within the reflector) to create a 'wall' of sound that would act as a buffer to the outside world. Active noise cancellation would be nice, too, but that's probably more than I want to take on. I don't see any products on the market for this sort of thing. Does anyone have any experiences to share with similar homebrew noise remediation efforts?"

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Move (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41499383)

Quit being a downtown hipster and move to a nice house on a quiet street.

George Bernard Shaw (5, Insightful)

Frankie70 (803801) | about 2 years ago | (#41499407)

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world. The unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.

Re:George Bernard Shaw (5, Funny)

jhoegl (638955) | about 2 years ago | (#41499455)

My adaption to fart mufflers and loud base was a sound detector and a machine gun. If the passing car got too loud, it would track and fire.
I havent built it yet, but one day...
I wouldnt shed a tear for these obnoxious people. They disturb hundreds of people daily, so fuck em.

Re:George Bernard Shaw (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41499509)

A property owner harms the world far more than a worker ever will.

Re:George Bernard Shaw (0)

rickb928 (945187) | about 2 years ago | (#41499673)

Since most property us owned by governments or despots, that sort of makes sense.

And the motorcycles .... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41499677)

My adaption to fart mufflers and loud base was a sound detector and a machine gun. If the passing car got too loud, it would track and fire.

I havent built it yet, but one day...

I wouldnt shed a tear for these obnoxious people. They disturb hundreds of people daily, so fuck em.

And the motorcycles.

It's all about our narcissistic society. "Hey look at me! I'm special!"

Re:And the motorcycles .... (4, Insightful)

realityimpaired (1668397) | about 2 years ago | (#41499767)

Motorcycles aren't about narcissism, they're about freedom. With the exception of Harley Davidson bikes, which are deliberately tuned badly to make noise, most of the good bikes (think Honda orr BMW) are actually pretty quiet, and, especially among older motorcycle drivers, they are far and above the most courteous drivers on the road, which seems kind of counter to the notion that they're narcissistic.

Re:And the motorcycles .... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41499847)

Motorcycles aren't about narcissism, they're about freedom.


So, car drivers aren't free?

I guess the Founding Fathers were all motorcycle riders then.

So, I should give up voting and just get a bike if I want to be free?

And I guess we should send motorcycles to North Korea and free the people there?

Re:And the motorcycles .... (4, Funny)

Bill Dimm (463823) | about 2 years ago | (#41499769)

And the motorcycles.

It's all about our narcissistic society. "Hey look at me! I'm special!"

Yep. South Park did an episode on it [] , and nailed it as usual.

Re:George Bernard Shaw (2)

fredprado (2569351) | about 2 years ago | (#41499607)

Unfortunately, although it is generally good to the World to have many people attempting to accomplish highly unlikely deeds, because some of them may prevail, to most of the people in question it is an ungrateful road to pain with no rewards.

Re:George Bernard Shaw (0)

Penguinisto (415985) | about 2 years ago | (#41499671)

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world. The unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.

Guess I must've adapted myself then. I solved the whole city noise problem by, err, moving out of the city apartment and into a home in a small coastal town. The only noises I hear most days here are those of nature and the sound of the ocean easily carries to the porch (I live 1/4 mile from the beach).

OTOH, for the longest time I found myself unable to sleep due to the lack of noises that I had gotten used to in the city (traffic, the occasional stereo thump, fire engine, conversation and thumps from a now-missing adjacent apartment, etc.)

That's nice (-1, Troll)

rsilvergun (571051) | about 2 years ago | (#41499741)

But maybe subby doesn't have $300k lying around for a nice new house by the coast. Or maybe that's where all his customers are and moving would destroy his business. See, the lucky ones with all the $$$ leave, and leave behind a festering blight of poverty and crime instead of solving the problems.

My favorite part about this phenomenon is the people who leave usually re-incorporate outside the city so they don't have to pay taxes, often relying on government services (education, housing, etc) while they got 'bootstrapped' enough to move to a suburb just outside the reach of the taxes they relied on.

Re:George Bernard Shaw (2)

blue_teeth (83171) | about 2 years ago | (#41499707)

In ancient times, there was a king who wanted a carpet rolled out for him wherever he went.  The cities, the jungles, the villages.  His wiseman advised --- wear velvet slippers.

Fred Rogers (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41499715)

Everyone is entitled to peace and quiet.

-Fred Rogers

It does not have to be far (3, Insightful)

RotateLeftByte (797477) | about 2 years ago | (#41499435)

I used to live right on the A10 highway into London. I move about 400 yds away and the traffic noise was a distant hum. I know that for some /. readers 400yds is beyond the pale when it comes to walking but around here parking spaces were like gold dust so people walk to the top of the street and take the bus, another 200yds there was the train station. 5 mins on the bus took you to a Tube Station.
Many of my neighbours at that time didn't have a car. They didn't need one.

More fool you for choosing to live where you do.

Re:It does not have to be far (2, Insightful)

BenoitRen (998927) | about 2 years ago | (#41499531)

400 yards? More like 365,76 metres.

Re:It does not have to be far (1)

bmo (77928) | about 2 years ago | (#41499571)

>More like 365,76 metres.

More like 18 chains and 18.2 links


ps: 1 chain = 100 links = 4 rods

Re:It does not have to be far (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41499675)

More like 920 of my cock.

Re:It does not have to be far (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | about 2 years ago | (#41499693)

More like 1.818 Furlongs. We're in London, after all.

Re:It does not have to be far (1)

bmo (77928) | about 2 years ago | (#41499757)

Gee, there must be a reason why 18.18 chains is 1.818 furlongs...


Re:It does not have to be far (1)

Roger W Moore (538166) | about 2 years ago | (#41499815)

We're in London, after all.

Yes, capital of a country which, except for miles and pints, went metric around 1970.

Re:Move (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 2 years ago | (#41499533)

Quit being a downtown hipster and move to a nice house on a quiet street.

Expense of moving house trumps expense of decent soundproofing.

(plus soundproofing increases the resale value)

Re:Move (4, Insightful)

Rob the Bold (788862) | about 2 years ago | (#41499699)

(plus soundproofing increases the resale value)

Unfortunately, I've discovered (to my annoyance) that practical home improvements like insulation, thermal windows, high efficiency HVAC and appliances, etc., etc. just don't impress the average buyer nearly as much as painting all the walls beige and replacing the hardware with something in brushed nickel or, my personal bete noire: "oil-rubbed bronze."

Get a Pair of Headphones (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41499385)

I recommend a pair of headphones

Re:Get a Pair of Headphones (3, Informative)

Gozzin (2125020) | about 2 years ago | (#41499667)

Headphones don't block noise and turning them up to block noise will damage your hearing. has ear protectors and they will help.

ANR works (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41499819)

ANR works. Wicked heavy curtains work very well.

Re:Get a Pair of Headphones (2)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about 2 years ago | (#41499869)

Combine them with wax earplugs. I had the same problem there for a couple of years, and it was bliss to be able to just turn off all outside noise. Cheap too! I recommend Quies pure wax.

How about a shrubbery? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41499397)

I think the problem is that you've only focused on the building. It's more effective to stop it before it even gets to the building.

Re:How about a shrubbery? (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 2 years ago | (#41499451)

I think the problem is that you've only focused on the building. It's more effective to stop it before it even gets to the building.

Yes. You're doing it wrong. []

are the windows.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41499405)

double paned?

Re:are the windows.. (0)

Joce640k (829181) | about 2 years ago | (#41499503)

And what exactly did you do to 'insulate' the place?

Another hopelessly incomplete "Ask Slashdot" question, film at 11...

Re:are the windows.. (4, Funny)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about 2 years ago | (#41499651)

Unless you can read, in which case he said that most of the sound is coming through the windows. I'm not really surprised, since the vast majority of problems I have ever dealt with are related to windows.

Re:are the windows.. (5, Informative)

grub (11606) | about 2 years ago | (#41499697)

We put all triple-pane in our house (Winnipeg, Canada) 5 years ago. We noticed the street noise almost disappear. (Not to mention the winter heating bills dropped by ~30%+)
Cost a pretty penny, about $13K for the whole house, but man was it worth it.

Heavy drape (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41499417)

Have curtains made from the kind of heavy drape they use in studios. Check out how people deal with acoustic treatment in home studio builds. For instance the "studio building/acoustics" subforum has many threads to geek out on.

Re:Heavy drape (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 2 years ago | (#41499475)

Acoustic conditioning isn't the same thing as soundproofing.

Re:Heavy drape (1)

crash123 (2523388) | about 2 years ago | (#41499813)

I imagine there would definitely be some crossover though. Also, studios need to be soundproof too.

Whatever you do... (1)

bmo (77928) | about 2 years ago | (#41499425)

Do not line the walls with ordinary egg-crate foam. Whatever you put on the walls should be fire-rated. Yeah, it's more expensive, but you get what you pay for.

Egg crate foam has a tendency to burn like gasoline. []


Earplugs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41499441)

Cheap and works every time. After a few minutes, you'll forget you have them in.

Re:Earplugs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41499833)

I've actually wondered about the effect of wearing them long term. My gut tells me it would be bad.

When I was living at home, I virtually had a server room in my bedroom.. and was getting concerned that I might be damaging my hearing. I actually considered ear plugs.. but then moved out and now keep all my gear in a seperate room.

Move out of the city. n/t (1)

dtmancom (925636) | about 2 years ago | (#41499445)


Move (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41499447)


Re:Move (1)

Nutria (679911) | about 2 years ago | (#41499835)


The suburbs are really nice. Except near railroad tracks. Especially when there's a scheduled 4AM train.

Mass (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41499459)

Although there are dozens of vendors selling what sound like promising solutions, there is only one solution that really works: more mass. Think of it as a physics problem.. sound waves energy transmitted through the air that cause parts of the structure (including the structure above and below) and environment (e.g. the air around you) to vibrate at a particular resonance. The only way to stop the noise is to stop the vibration. A popular option is to use double drywall with something like rockwool insulation between the studs. You can get away with either 2 x 1/2" drywall or 2 x 5/8" drywall with a small furring strip in between without sacrificing too much living space. Look into Green Glue as an additional way to dampen vibrations in that setup. You can also go for a detached wall or "room within a room," but that starts to get expensive to do right.

If you want to look at a "serious" solution ($$$$), you should try to find a sound mitigation contractor in your area. They can survey the room during different times of day and determine what the best solution is for your situation.

Re:Mass (2)

fermion (181285) | about 2 years ago | (#41499611)

And because the issue appears to be the window, perhaps multipane windows will solve the problem. I have seen this work with friends that live near railroad tracks. This along with acoustic insulation should solve the problem. Of course, is the reason there is so much noise is because the window is open, then nothing is going to solve the problem.

Better Physics Solution (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41499629)

What you need are multiple layers of different acoustical impedance; that is, hard and soft materials layered. Whenever there's an impedance mismatch, radiation gets reflected. An optical analog is a dielectric mirror. However, the really low frequencies are always a problem, and that's where more mass will help.

Perfect solution! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41499487)


turn it into music (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41499495)

Wait for rap and hip-hop to fall out of favor (3)

elrous0 (869638) | about 2 years ago | (#41499501)

It's the bass that really pisses me off. It's like legalized assault on my ears.

Re:Wait for rap and hip-hop to fall out of favor (2)

AmazingRuss (555076) | about 2 years ago | (#41499579)

Dubstep is replacing them slowly...wub wub wub!

Re:Wait for rap and hip-hop to fall out of favor (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41499759)

That and the "doodz" who accelerate their bikes like madmen. Fortunately many of them become red smears on the road eventually.

It's not legal (3, Informative)

rsilvergun (571051) | about 2 years ago | (#41499771)

but 30 years of tax cuts and underfunded police departments means the cops have better things to be doing. That's why you don't see these guys in wealthy parts of town.

More details needed (5, Informative)

arth1 (260657) | about 2 years ago | (#41499505)

How and what, exactly, have you insulated, and where is your domicile in relation to the street?

Do you have sound dampening mats on the ceiling? If not, bear in mind that most houses and apartments are above street level, and most of the sound will be reflected off the ceiling. A layer of sound dampening material there should have the largest effect.

If you live low to the ground, sound insulating the walls that can see the street, rather than just outside walls would have a similar effect.

A few strategically placed plants or sound dividers - think cubicle walls but far less intrusive - can also help.

If you must go with a noise generator (which I don't recommend), try pink noise instead of white. The sounds from the street you try to mask out are going to be mostly low frequency, and white noise will mainly add more sound energy in the higher end of the spectrum.

Re:More details needed (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41499875)

Do you have sound dampening mats on the ceiling?

Pet peeve:

* damping - removing energy from a system

* dampening - making wet

tackling the wrong problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41499507)

the problem is where you live. no amount of noise abatement short of 12-24" thick walls with no windows will help.

double pane windows, mass-loaded walls (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41499513) (a retail site despite the .org domain) sells a lot of the stuff for that. Kind of a weird and funky site, fun to browse.

Noise cancellation. (1, Interesting)

GigaBurglar (2465952) | about 2 years ago | (#41499521)

What you need, if you have the technical know-how (if you are up to the challenge - or maybe the tech' already exists), is 1) a microphone that will detect the noise coming in on a particular vector, 2) a uni-directional speaker (parabolic - they are never 100% uni-directional though) 3) software that will receive the sound, process it, and retransmit the 'inverted' sound-wave back at the source - at the same amplitude. you need to also take into account the distance from the microphone, the speed of sound, and the precise nano-second in which to transmit the inverted sound. It's easy in theory but in practice.... This is essentially how noise cancellation technologies work. It's complicated and don't under-estimate the vectors involved - refraction, caused by an improper calculation of 'direction', will cause leakage and may induce sound-waves that are more irritating to handle than 'normal' sound.

Obligatory XKCD (5, Funny)

whennegan (2741885) | about 2 years ago | (#41499523)

True story (1)

rsilvergun (571051) | about 2 years ago | (#41499809)

A guy I knew in college had this problem in his dorm. His roommate was a music major, and he had some PA equipment that he used for shows. Just a half stack probably, it was a dorm after all, but it was more than enough to blast this [] louder than any dorm room stereo could hope to keep up with.

What, specifically, did you do? (4, Informative)

QuietLagoon (813062) | about 2 years ago | (#41499525)

Although I've replaced all windows, insulated, and caulked every square inch of the place,

I've been in houses on a busy streets where the street noise stops at the walls and windows. So, possibly, you did not go far enough. For example, there are windows and there are sound-reducing windows. []

Maybe you need to re-evaluate what you did to keep the noise out before you embark upon a project to reduce or mask the noise inside the room.

You should move (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41499529)

Seriously. The amount of work that you need to do (and the borderline crazy nature of what you're suggesting) makes it sound like its the best option for your long term sanity.

Either that or just invest in a good pair of noise-cancelling headphones already. It would certainly look better than some insane parabollic noise reflector.

Questions/options (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41499541)

  • Have you considered noise canceling headphones? They are far cheaper, and work.
  • How have you established that most of the noise comes in through the windows? Could it be coming indirectly, through other rooms, etc.?
  • What are you hoping that the parabolic reflector on your white noise system will accomplish?
  • Have you looked at the room's general acoustics? Bare walls can echo & make external noises seem much sharper/louder?
  • If the purpose of the white noise is to "drown out" the outside noise, you may want to try using a layered loop of many samples of the same outside noises (in the same way that overlaying many voices can turn "overheard conversation" into crowd sounds).
  • You may want to play with using the window itself as a speaker
  • If you decide to play with active cancellation (and you're sure the window is the primary source) attaching a small mirror to the window and using a laser pickup system, then feeding that back through the window-as-a-speaker may be your best bet.

Good luck,

-- MarkusQ

Here's your answer: (1)

naturaverl (628952) | about 2 years ago | (#41499543)

1) Noise cancelling headphones.

2) If the above doesn't work, then move.

Slayer & A New Stereo (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41499545)

Go buy a decent stereo system and throw on some Slayer- Diabolis In Musica.
Crank that bitch up and you wont hear shit outside.
Just the magical screaming from our good buddy, Tom Araya.
Problem Solved.

Build another wall (4, Informative)

microcars (708223) | about 2 years ago | (#41499559)

inside with a window that is separated from the "real" outside wall by a few inches.
You will be surprised at how effective this is while leaving the original "look and feel" of the room.

move (2, Insightful)

1u3hr (530656) | about 2 years ago | (#41499561)

"I live at the corner of one of the busiest intersections in my city "

Why? If you value peace and quiet and fresh air, move to the countryside and you won't have to insulate yourself from your surroundings. A city of 350,000 can't be that big that you would have a long commute when you needed to get into the city.

Or you could go on the offensive... (0)

macraig (621737) | about 2 years ago | (#41499567)

... and build a microwave cannon to take out the car stereos. They're the problem, not your hearing nor your windows. It's a massive social ethics problem, aided and abetted by every single car manufacturer, who now preinstall sound systems capable of rattling entire neighborhoods. You might wanna avoid zapping the fire trucks. They have a good reason for making lots of noise. Unless your city has the highest per capita arsonists, you can probably survive the fire trucks once the boom box cars are silent.

Need double-wall construction (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41499577)

The best solution I can recommend in your case is to move your office to an internal room which you can sound proof. Reconstructing that room to have double-wall construction is probably going to give you the most bang for your buck when it comes to soundproofing. Unless you construct the room with soundproofing in mind ahead of time it's going to be nearly impossible to have a significant soundproofing affect on it after the fact.

If that's too much hassle, then you're best option is to reconsider the location where you live.

Can't recommend noise canceling headphones (3, Informative)

aaaaaaargh! (1150173) | about 2 years ago | (#41499587)

One of the last things I've ever bought from Sony were their ultra-expensive MDR-NC500D digital noise canceling headphones. I can't speak for other noice canceling headphones, but can definitely not recommend the ones by Sony. Don't get fooled by the advertisements, the actual noise canceling is pretty weak, does not have any effect on car noise, and is only noticable when you listen to music. (You can't use them just for canceling outside noise.) Moreover, they need power all the time in order to work at all. In my opinion, they are definitely not worth the money.

Re:Can't recommend noise canceling headphones (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41499641)

I find that noise canceling headphones with a pair of foam earplugs does the trick for me...for flights and for fully blocking out room noise. The headphones take care of the low frequencies; but while using only headphones, I can still hear voices and an annoying hiss from the limits on high frequency noise canceling. The foam earplugs get rid of most of what the headphones miss and it feels quiet enough to sleep or concentrate.

Double paned windows (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41499595)

b1tbkt writes

"I live at the corner of one of the busiest intersections in my city (pop. 350k). Although I've replaced all windows, insulated, and caulked every square inch of the place, the fire trucks and cars with obnoxious stereos still regularly intrude on my home office. Most of the noise comes in through the windows."

Did you go with double panes?
When I moved into my current domicile, I had a real problem with traffic noise. I replaced the single pane windows with double paned and it made a huge difference.

If the windows really are the entry point, (1)

jenningsthecat (1525947) | about 2 years ago | (#41499597)

then you may want to experiment with constrained layer damping []

You'll need to find some clear viscoelastic adhesive in tape or sheet form - something similar to the stuff used to stick credit cards to the paper info sheets they're affixed to when they're mailed out. Then have a sheet of glass cut to the size of a window pane. Cover the window pane with the viscoelastic layer, (complete coverage with no gaps is required), and then apply the sheet of glass.(Clear sheet plastic may also work, but AFAIK optimum results are obtained when the constraining layers have similar properties). You may want to attach pull-tabs of fibreglas tape at the edges of the glass to make it easier to remove them if necessary.

The experiment shouldn't cost too much to try on one window. It should be immediately obvious whether or not it's worth doing the rest of the windows. After treatment you won't be able to see clearly through the windows, but at least they'll still allow the light in.

so this is "hacking" now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41499599)

Has "hacking" become the new "troll"?

Noise cancelling won't work (3, Insightful)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 2 years ago | (#41499605)

You won't be able to cancel out road noise for an entire room. Noise cancelling basically only works with headphones and in certain controlled industrial environments. For a room with road noise coming from different directions from moving sources with a moving listener it just won't work.

I'm afraid you are basically screwed. The only option is to move.

If some insulation didn't work, you need more (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | about 2 years ago | (#41499621)

Short of moving, the only way you're gonna get the sound level down is more insulation, even though you've already done some. Can't hurt to deaden the surfaces inside to damp the noise that does get in: carpet, soft wall coverings or hangings. Heavy (or heavier) drapes on the windows.

Of course, all of this will change the aesthetics of your place in other ways, too. And not necessarily to your liking.

white noise machine,fans,Optomine 105 ear protecto (1)

Gozzin (2125020) | about 2 years ago | (#41499637)

The above will definitely help...We used to have neighbors who were too rednecky to teach their dogs not to bark, so I ended up with a fan or a white noise machine in every room. One of my house mates had to do the same thing.

Wall of sound won't work (5, Informative)

Chalnoth (1334923) | about 2 years ago | (#41499647)

It will do literally nothing. Sound waves simply add. You can't get rid of sound waves by adding a bunch of random sound waves. The sound waves you don't want will pass right through. Now, if you simply have a white noise generator in your house, so that the ambient volume is higher, that may make it so that your ears have a harder time picking out specific sounds, which will, in turn, make it easier to ignore them.

Barring that, noise cancelling headphones or double-pane windows, as others have mentioned, are going to be your best bets. And double-pane windows are good for heating/cooling anyway.

As an aside, I'm also rather skeptical that noise cancellation for the entire apartment could ever be practical. The problem is the waveform bouncing off the various walls and other features of the apartment is going to be too complex to accurately measure or cancel. And then what about the sounds you do want to hear?

Get used to it or move (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41499649)

If it drives you nuts, it will always drive you nuts. Move out. That's the hardest thing to do, but trust me, putting up with noise will drain you physically, emotionally, and mentally. It's worth your health and sanity to find a quieter place to live if the noise is a big problem.

That said, you may get used to it. I have cop cars zooming by my house every day and it never bothers me. It's different from when I used to live next to a white trash pothead who'd listen to 70's rock at full blast 24 hours a day (no kidding, he never turned it off). Dealing with that shit probably shaved a few years off my life in terms of stress, etc. I should have moved, but was stubborn.

Consult a contractor (1)

lazycam (1007621) | about 2 years ago | (#41499655)

Sounds like you are doing it wrong. Contact a local contractor for an estimate or to simply chat about your options since you are a DIY kinda guy. Just realize the solution will not be cheap (time and/or money wise).

Re:Consult a contractor (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about 2 years ago | (#41499881)

Wax earplugs + headphones, cheap and very effective.

sound insulated windows used near airports (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41499665)

i understand there are sound insulated windows, an example being an airport (can't remember which) which upgraded to allow larger planes, and in exchange had to install sound insulating windows for all the nearby homes

Make your own noise (2)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about 2 years ago | (#41499681)

When I was young I used to drive a car that made an annoying sound. I would simply crank up the radio, and the problem went away!

Use your stero (3, Funny)

RNLockwood (224353) | about 2 years ago | (#41499685)

Crank up the sound level on your stereo to really high levels and use it constantly to mask street noises. Magically, after a while, you won't need it any more.

Look into Pro Audio (1)

aitikin (909209) | about 2 years ago | (#41499711)

It won't be cheap, but you can do better. Double paned glass helps. Did you insulate the floor? Did you double wall insulate the rooms? There's about a million things that can be done, but it has to be done right or you won't get anywhere. Look into a book called Home Recording Studio: Build it Like The Pros [] . It's a little over the top, and not quite 100% applicable to this purpose, but if you follow that, and you still have issues, than you have to move, but I highly doubt that you'll still have issues if you do it right . (An example of "right" in this context is ensuring that you do NOT fasten everything to the studs, because in doing so you are transferring the sound through the studs and basically bypassing any insulation you've created, but this is a very complex setup to achieve, so do your homework well.)

I live at the corner of one of the busiest ... (1)

Tim Ward (514198) | about 2 years ago | (#41499713)

Er ... why, if the noise bothers you??

When I choose somewhere to live, right at the top of my list is that it must be somewhere where nobody will have any reason to drive past unless they live in the same street.

Its not your window (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41499731)

I've dealt with the problem of obnoxious car stereos for years in my home and believe it or not the low frequency stuff is not coming through your windows, it's your roof. I have double pane windows and they are suprisingly effective at blocking noise in higher frequencies like lawn mowers etc. Their downside is they normally have a narrow gap of frequency they let through, kind of like a bandpass filter. I caulked some drywall over my living room windows to remove that last bit so I couldn't hear my neighbors arguing.

the bass is the hardest to get rid of. The only effective way is to create some dead air around your office room. This would mean installing some metal runners on your drywall and ceiling that have rubber stoppers on them, attaching new drywall to these runners, and making sure they don't touch the floor or ceiling directly. It's not terribly expensive, a few hundred dollars, but takes a lot of time and work, results in a slightly smaller room, and concessions must be made for your door, electrical outlets, etc. It may be easier to find the source of the loud music and use the police or courts to silence it. You can use the money from suing them to finance your room. If you're in the city that's not going to work though, it's the city, it's loud.

Townhouse next to a busy highway (1)

OffTheWallSoccer (1699154) | about 2 years ago | (#41499749)

I used to live in a townhouse about 50ft from a 6-lane highway, with no protective soundwall. The noise from the highway was a constant buzz coming into the house, with occasional spikes (big rig trucks and straight-pipe Harleys).

Installing dual-pane windows solved the general problem of the constant higher noise level. Only the truck/Harley noise came through. Note that after a rain, car tires make more noise, and THAT still came through the windows a bit.

In your case, you need more help. Maximize your dead air space. Dual-pane windows will have have a smaller air gap than your walls, so start with the windows. If you need further noise abatement, hit the exterior walls, next.

For windows, something like this: []

For walls: []

I later bought a 60-year-old house (which already had dual-pane windows), and during a subsequent remodel we replaced all the half-inch drywall with 5/8th-inch, and added better insulation in the walls.It did a great job of reducing the "garage noise" (power tools, racing engines, etc.) from my neighbor's house.

We did the same for the interior walls, and replaced all the hollow-core interior doors with solid-core doors. Now any teen-chatter or stereo noise from the kids' rooms is effectively muffled into oblivion.

double glazing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41499755)

you need more caulk (1)

larry bagina (561269) | about 2 years ago | (#41499787)

Put that caulk in all the holes. And you can never have enough caulk. Some people prefer black caulk but that's up to you. Just make sure you get as much caulk as you can. Two caulks, three caulks at a time, the more the merrier. Invite your friends, the pizza boy, the pool cleaner, the plumber etc to join in with your caulk party.

Brownian Noise (1)

Zagnar (722415) | about 2 years ago | (#41499791)

I've had similar trouble. Dreadful downstairs neighbours who thought it was entirely appropriate to play loud music at all hours of the night, I could quite often hear the lyrics through the floor and windows. Brownian noise worked tremendously well but you have to remember that you're only covering the noise up, you have to be okay with noise somewhere between an industrial fan and a jet engine. (If you pretend really hard, it sounds like the ocean,) I used a modest stereo. Perhaps, if you have one laying around that can produce enough sound in the desired frequency, you can give it a test. If you require some source for background noise, I used [] Brownian noise with oscillation.

You need (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41499793)

You need the Niggah Trackah Kit. This consists of a sound tracking device, and your choice of the following:
1 pair silenced Uzi submachine guns
1 M60 30 caliber machine gun.
2 Laws anti-tank rockets with Launcher
1 Vulcan cannon with 10,000 rounds ammo

Additional ammo available.

The Niggah Trackah can be used to track down any Niggah or Whiggah playing overly loud music, and any vehical with an overly loud exaust. Once the Niggah Trackah locks on, it automatically tracks the offending sound anywhere within 10000 yards. The Niggah Trackah can be mounted in a vehical, and configured to fire weapons automatically when there is a clear shot at the target.

Order your Niggah Trackah to start eliminating the source(s) of those annoying sounds today!

Tremblers have been made Real (1)

X!0mbarg (470366) | about 2 years ago | (#41499795)

Have you considered using a Trembler? Any of the "Stick it on a flat surface and turn it into a speaker" stuff out there could work well, and may also keep eavesdropping to a minimum (if privacy might be an issue).
Over at, they have this little portable option: []

Try your Google-Fu, and see what else you get.

Good Luck!

I vote for a 2nd False wall (1)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about 2 years ago | (#41499803)

The 2nd 'false' wall is the best idea I've read here. Over-insulate it, before sheetrocking staple a layer of thick plastic. Put 2 layers of sheetrock for extra soundproofing. The window is a weak point, it needs to be triple layer glass. And, if you build the stud wall a few inches away from the wall, this would allow for extra insulating material. And since it will be sealed between walls, you could use that egg carton foam or any sound deadening material, such as thick house siding foam boards. They come in 2' X 8' or 4' X 8' sheets.

Sound will still come through from the floor/ceiling if not insulated.

Re:I vote for a 2nd False wall (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41499855)

The layer of thick plastic is a horrid idea. It will act as a moisture barrier and the moisture barrier should always go on the warm side of a wall. Sandwiching it somewhere in the middle is asking for mildew and mold.

Felt your pain (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41499811)

I spent 2 weeks in Beunos Aires, Argentina near the corner of Libertad and Av Sante Fe in a high end apartment. Never got a good night of sleep except the one night I traveled to Iguazu Falls.

I tried earplugs and listening to white noise with Shure in-ear headphones. Then moved from the beautiful bedroom near the front of the building to the maids room way at the center/back. It helped a little, but the trucks and buses were like little earthquakes.

This was a high-end apartment on the 3rd floor. Besides the noise, it was nicer than my home (McMansion) back in the Atlanta suburbs.

My business partner was sharing the 5 bdrm apartment and didn't have any issue at all sleeping. He's from NYC. To him, all the horns, trucks, garbage trucks, buses and assorted other noises were like the chirps of crickets.

When I got home, that first night of sleep was fantastic. The cricket chirps were welcome. I've learned to ask about noise suppression before traveling to big cities again. A also ask about smells when going to places near water.

BTW, I've lived in 11 different metro areas and 9 different states. I've traveled to 22 countries and many large cities around the world. This was the first place that prevented a good sleep at night.

Add weight (2)

hackertourist (2202674) | about 2 years ago | (#41499827)

Basically, all soundproofing is about weight. More weight=less noise gets through. To reduce the noise coming in through the windows you need to increase the thickness of the panes or their number. Double or triple glazing, or even two double-glazed panes in series with an air gap of ~15 cm in between. You'll also need to look at the window frames. Old steel or aluminium frames are excellent sound conductors.

You can go pretty far with this; my father did some consulting on a housing project near an air force base. They managed to get sufficient soundproofing that living next to F-16s taking off wasn't aggravating any more, but they spent as much on the soundproofing as the houses had cost to build.

If Windows are still the problem add Storm windows (2)

sys_mast (452486) | about 2 years ago | (#41499831)

A friend lived near the airport. His house was upgraded from double pane with storms to some better double/triple pane without storms. The new windows where supposed to be better at blocking the sound of the planes.

Summary of the story, the new "better" windows didn't work as good as the old windows with storm windows at blocking noise.

So if' you've already upgraded the windows, add storms to the outside. It's an easy thing to install, and they typically are under $100 a window. Install can be as easy as hold it up, and put a few screws in.

Added bonus, it can help reduce heating/cooling costs. (not enough savings to pay for them, but it won't hurt!)

If windows aren't the problem add more/better insulation, there aren't any limits if you don't need to see through it.

Try plexiglass? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41499843)

I lived on a loud corner in SF a few years back. The walls were fine, but most noise was coming past the windows (which weren't cheap). I sourced 1/4 acrylic sheets, had them cut to my specs at the distributor (TAP Plastic in SF) and affixed them to the window frames with double-sided sticky foam tape. (Also put a rip cord if I needed to remove them fast).

It worked great. Cost somewhere above $50 per window. But I did have to sacrifice fresh air :(

Remove the windows (1)

davidorourke (1777780) | about 2 years ago | (#41499845)

My remedy may not be what you want but all the noises from outside reverberate in the remove the windows. Paint a window in a few places and make it look like you have windows so you have that windowed feel without feeling shut off completely. That's a remedy you may want to think about. David O'Rourke

Disclose, Disclose, Disclose (2)

LifesABeach (234436) | about 2 years ago | (#41499867)

Did you buy the place?
Did you know it was noisy?
Are we a little sensitive?
Is this your homework assignment?
Why do you find yourself living at that place?
Have you considered other places?
With a population of 350K,(try 5M people for noise), what city is it?

Do you know of the personal impact of living in an area under constant noise generation?

Active noise cancellation appartment size! (1)

dieu1979 (993752) | about 2 years ago | (#41499883)

Maybe a good project to start , you will get no luck for low frequency but for the rest i think it's something possible
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