Soundproofing vs Sound Absorption

Soundproofing vs Sound Absorption

When noise starts to become a noticeable issue in your surroundings, it is important to find an appropriate solution. On one hand, you have soundproofing and on the other, you have sound absorption. Really, the solution depends on whether you're preventing noise from entering your home or escaping.  We'll explain more about soundproofing and sound absorption in this short post. 

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Sound moves and can be manipulated in many ways, just take a look at the image below. Sound can be reflected, transmitted, absorbed, and blocked. Generally, in the window business, our soundproofing solutions involve sound blocking rather than absorption techniques.

What is Soundproofing?

In layman terms, soundproofing aims to reduce or remove any unwanted noise from entering your private space, which can be your house, office, library and so on. Quantitatively, “soundproof” windows/doors are those noise reduction entities that block out up to 90% to 95%↗ of outdoor noise.

Depending on the amount, type, and even frequencies of sound you wish to eliminate, soundproofing solutions vary differently. The acoustics industry measures the soundproofing quality on a sound transmission class (STC) scale. Soundproof windows show STC ratings of at least 45, with some touching mid-50s.

What’s the difference between soundproofing, sound reduction, and sound blocking?

By definition, Soundproofing↗ is the prevention of the passage of sound. While soundproofing materials and products are typically found inside walls, soundproofing can also be effectively implemented through laminated glass or multiple glazing window systems.

On the other hand, Sound blocking↗ materials work to reduce the level of sound by blocking the frequency waves before they reach your ears. Materials that are specifically crafted to block sound are heavy and sturdy. Fiberglass, for instance, provides a substantial sound barrier and blocks a considerable amount of noise from entering or leaving the room.

All these solutions aim to actuate sound reduction in the bigger picture, which basically means creating a barrier to hinder or block the transmission of sound, thereby decreasing its intensity.

What is Sound Absorption?

Sound Absorption is the phenomenon that involves the application of materials to walls or ceilings that absorb the sound from within the room. Normally, solutions like the use of acoustic panels, tiles, clouds, and ceiling baffles are all effective sound absorption choices. They are designed and fabricated to dampen reverberation and reduce reflected sound in a properly treated space.  

Sound absorption products are given a NRC (Noise Reduction Coefficient)↗ rating, in order to measure their effectiveness on a relative scale.

What’s the solution for preventing outside noise from coming in through my windows?

In order to block outside noises from entering your home, there can be a variety of solutions. Noise reduction is directly proportional to the thickness of the glass. Also, adding spaces between the panes of glass↗, and inserting heavy and inert gases like Argon in these spaces help reduce noise even further.

Moreover, Acoustic double glazed units or a laminated outer pane of 6.4mm glass↗ into a triple glazed unit are also preferred choices.

Solving an acoustical issue isn’t a one size fits all solution. Installing different window systems or DIY solutions depends on the surroundings, costs, ease of installation, effectiveness, and many other factors.

While some use cases will make do with sound absorption materials, other circumstances might necessarily ask for soundproofing solutions to be implemented.

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