Sound barriers are a method of noise reduction that provides a high
density layer used to separate or prevent noise from entering a certain
area or leaving a contained area. Often used in outdoor noise pollution
control, sound barrier materials, such as flexible loaded vinyl, combine
mass, flexibility and limpness to form a barrier between the noise
source and the controlled area.
Sound barriers can be used inside buildings; however other common uses for barriers are bulkheads, firewall treatments, cab floors and pipe wraps in large buildings or manufacturing facilities. Sound barriers are also very effective for reducing roadway noise or various industrial noise sources and have many uses in recreational facilities, factories, and many industrial settings. As with other noise reduction solutions, sound barriers can be customized in terms of layout and aesthetics with cutouts, color options, double-sided paneling etc. all being available to the customer if desired. Most manufacturers will construct barriers to be at least as high as the line of sight between the source of the excessive noise and the receiver. Those barriers constructed as thin walls cannot be built too high due to structural stability and strength.
In one of their most common applications, sound barriers are designed as a set of tall wooden, plastic, or concrete barriers placed along a road or highway to muffle the sound of traffic. Depending on the material used to construct the barriers, they will absorb, reflect or transmit the sound waves coming to them, thus reducing the noise to the residential or commercial areas behind the barriers and improving sound quality. Materials sound barriers are commonly constructed of include: earth, wood, metal, concrete and other similarly durable and dense materials. They do not completely block out or absorb sound, but they do greatly reduce the noise levels which is important especially when highways and busy routes pass through residential areas. They can be formed from earth mounds, or from high constructed walls, or from a combination of both. Traffic noise abatement is not necessarily required by law, and yet, it improves the acoustical properties of an area and is worthwhile to install sound barriers when feasible. For system specifics, it is best for sounds engineers to determine the most ideal barrier solution and set-up. Sound barriers are often combined with sound proofing materials to create highly effective noise control composites and will offer the quality of essentially trapping the noise in absorbent material.