Noise reduction strives to diminish the amount of noise pollution in a given area by breaking, blocking, absorbing, or isolating unwanted infiltrating sound waves. Weakening sound wave energy levels and suppressing echoes, reverberations, resonances, and reflections are effective manners of lessening noise pollution.
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Applications of Noise Reduction
Noise pollution is becoming an increasingly serious issue in much of the modern and industrialized world as increased mechanization often leads to excessive noise produced by motors and manufacturing centers. Hearing problems, circulatory issues, difficulty sleeping, and irritability are just a few symptoms of overexposure to noise. Noise reduction materials are used in many applications to avoid these harmful effects. These materials can be as simple as thick walls and acoustic curtains or as complex as anechoic chambers. Federal regulations limit acceptable noise levels in work environments, schools, offices, airports, and other public buildings.
Other applications include automotive industries, construction sites, homes, and even personal headsets. Active and passive noise control products are widely available. Active products are those that use electro-acoustical sound field modification or cancellation to detect and eliminate unwanted sounds. Passive products are involved more heavily in design and construction elements of a space, such as acoustic ceilings, flooring, and panels. Advances in computer modeling, architectural design, acoustic, and material sciences allow for specified and exceptionally efficient noise reduction in any number of applications.
Materials Used in Noise Reduction
Soundboards, acoustic curtains, sound barriers, acoustic baffles, and other items are easily installed and can be very cost efficient. No matter the device used, materials play an integral role in noise reduction. Sound reduction indexes can help to determine the level of sound insulation provided by a given structure, while noise reduction coefficients show the sound absorption levels of an acoustic material. Coefficients are measured at set frequencies, allowing materials to be fitted to the specific noise conditions of a space.
These materials are commonly used in noise reduction:
- Rock Wool
- Foam Wedges
- High Mass Vinyl
- Aluminum Composite
- Mineral Wool
- Special Glass
- Heavy Caulking
- Urethane Open-Cell Foam
- Soundboards Made of Compressed Wood and Paper
Points to Consider When Purchasing Noise Reduction Materials
When reducing noise in an area, several aspects of that area must be considered. Room dimensions, shape, proximity to sound wave origination, and placement of doors and windows should all be considered when soundproofing a space. Likewise, it is important to determine how in-depth an application will be, as some involve replacing ceiling, wall, and floor panels. Planning is important, as strategically placed soundproofing materials and apparatuses, even in a post-construction context, will significantly reduce noise pollution.