Traffic noise is one of the most disturbing and annoying intrusions inside the comfort of a bedroom.
If you live in a crowded area or near or on a busy street in a city, traffic noise is probably the biggest hindrance to your peace.
The traffic noise problem can be persistent if there are a lot of cracks or gaps, because noise can travel through them easily.
Moreover, noise can also trespass walls and barriers in the absence of additional protection.
Soundproofing a room can be tricky, especially if you want to do it on your own with minimum effort.
If you’re reading this, then the chances are that you’ve had enough, and now you want solutions.
Well, you’ve found yourself in the right place. In this article, we’ll share some of the most effective tips to eliminate traffic noise from your bedroom, so you can get the beauty sleep that you deserve.
Keep reading below for top noise-blocking tips!
Understanding Traffic Noise and Its Effects
The Basics of Traffic Noise Pollution
Traffic noise is a type of noise pollution caused by vehicles on the road. It can have various sources, such as:
- Exhaust systems
- Tires on the pavement
Noise pollution can disrupt your daily life, especially if you live near busy streets or highways.
Health Impacts of Noise on Sleep
Loud traffic noise not only makes it difficult to fall asleep, but it can also affect your health. Some potential health impacts of noise on sleep include:
- High blood pressure: Studies show a link between noise pollution and an increased risk of developing high blood pressure.
- Anxiety and stress: Continuous exposure to traffic noise may increase anxiety levels, leading to increased stress hormones in the body.
- Weight gain: Disrupted sleep can affect hormone levels and increase the likelihood of weight gain.
- Heart disease: Long-term exposure to noise pollution may increase the risk of heart disease.
- Memory and creativity: Poor sleep quality can impair memory and hinder creativity.
Measuring Noise: Understanding Decibels and NRR
To better understand traffic noise and its intensity, it’s essential to know about decibels (dB) and the Noise Reduction Rating (NRR):
- Decibels: A logarithmic unit of measure used to express the intensity of sound. For example, normal conversation is around 60 dB, while heavy traffic can be around 85 dB.
- Noise Reduction Rating (NRR): A unit of measurement that indicates the effectiveness of a noise reduction device, such as earplugs or headphones, in decibels. The higher the NRR, the more effective the device is at reducing noise.
By taking steps to block out traffic noise in your bedroom, you can improve your sleep quality and mitigate the potential negative effects on your health.
Change or Soundproof Your Windows for Noise Reduction
If you live in a room with windows that open towards a busy street, then the best course of action would be to soundproof them.
If they are old windows, then we recommend replacing them entirely with thicker and more soundproof ones.
So, the first step should be to examine the windows in your bedroom and see how resistant they are to the noise.
This is important because windows are the most significant entry point for traffic noise. Check for any cracks or gaps in your windows.
See if your windows close properly; sometimes they are not air-tight, and that causes the noise to pass through.
If you notice any such issues in the windows, then you need to seriously consider replacing them or making them soundproof.
Soundproof windows block out most of the noise and allow you to live peacefully. These windows are usually double-paned and do not allow sound waves to penetrate through them.
Inspect Walls and Install Soundproofing
Inspect your walls and see if they are thick enough. A wall with a 2×6 or 2×4 exterior is not enough to block any kind of sound noise.
If you have a budget, then it may be time to take on a comprehensive soundproofing project.
The idea is to have walls that are double-glazed. Make sure you get all your walls glazed so the noise can’t penetrate from any direction.
Double glazing doesn’t only block noise, but it also keeps your home warm and reduces your electricity bills if you live in a cold climate.
Install Thick and Solid Doors
As is obvious, windows and doors are the easiest way that noise enters your room.
If you want to cancel out the traffic noise that penetrates through them, you need to ensure that your doors are good enough to block any noise and loud sounds.
This becomes especially important if you live close to a bust street or park where there is always noise.
Consider installing a composite door as your main entryway.
Also, have a look at the gap between the door and the floor. If there is enough space, it acts as a way for noise to enter uninterrupted.
You can install door traps (or just try and cover it with a cloth or place a mat there)
Seal all the Cracks & Gaps
Cracks and gaps are major contributors to allowing traffic noise inside your bedroom.
Sound travels through air, so any crack and gap that air can travel through, sound can too.
That is why it is essential to block and seal all these gaps to reduce the noise inside your room.
You can do this by sealing the cracks and gaps found on walls with acoustic sealants.
Not only will this prevent noise from coming in, but this also helps in insulation and will keep your energy bills low.
Seal Gaps Around Doors
Noise also travels through the gaps under the door moldings. You can apply sealants under the moldings to create a barrier between the traffic noise and your room.
Another effective technique is to close the gaps with an adhering rubber weatherstripping attached at the bottom of the door.
If you’re looking for a quick and temporary fix, then you can use any thick cloth to cover the gap.
Take a towel, roll it up, and fix it at the bottom of your room’s door.
Get Nature on Your Side
For simple fixes, getting nature on your side can really benefit you.
There are many natural things that block or absorb noise and keep it from entering your room.
One way to do this is by planting trees or shrubs just outside your room’s boundary wall. This will help reduce the noise that penetrates through.
Opt for plants that have big fleshy leaves (such as money plants). These leaves are soft and can be great at absorbing noise.
The best place to place these plants is in the corners of the room.
Moreover, if you live in a big house with a bedroom on the ground floor, installing a waterbody just outside could help cancel out the traffic noise.
For example, the sound from a water fountain is much more pleasant than that of car horns.
Install Soundproof Curtains
Another good solution is soundproof curtains.
Yes! You heard us right; even curtains can be soundproof. Curtains that insulate sounds are readily available in the market.
Hanging these curtains on the windows of your bedroom can significantly aid your noise-canceling measure for your room.
Add Accostic Panels to the Walls
Another great measure for reducing traffic noise is to panel your walls with acoustic foam that absorbs sounds and prevents them from traveling.
You can choose any color or texture for panels covering your walls to add a bit of creativity to your room.
If you don’t want to panel all the walls in the bedroom, try and identify where the noise is coming from and use these acoustic foams right in front of the noise source.
The idea is to have the sound waves fall on acoustic foam panels and get absorbed or weakened.
Rearrange the Furniture inside your Bedroom
Another quick fix may be to rearrange the furniture in your room.
For example, you can move your heavy bookshelf or the dresser to the corner or wall that allows the most sound to travel in.
This technique is useful and requires no budget, so if you’re running low on funds, this can provide the necessary relief.
So, move your cupboards and wardrobes around to add a layer of blockage between the traffic noise and your room.
I was facing the same issue with my bedroom and I moved into one of my bookshelves. It has really made a huge impact. Books are perfect for absorbing sound waves and work really well in dampening the noise.
Pro tip: If possible, place them in the corners (or close to the corners). Corners are the culprit when it comes to reflecting sound waves and having furniture in the corners will ensure that the sound waves are either absorbed or their intensity is reduces
Time to Bring Wallpapers Back
Wallpapers are now also available with soundproof material.
If you’re looking to eliminate traffic noise from your room, then pasting soundproof wallpapers can help tremendously while adding your favorite design to the room.
Wallpapers absorb some of the noise and at the same time also reduce the intensity of the sound waves reflecting from the wall.
Add a Rug / Carpet in the Bedroom
I was surprised how much of a difference having a carpet can have on noise reduction for the room.
Floors are made of hard material and are wonderful at reflecting sound waves. By adding a carpet (or a rug), you make sure these noise waves are absorbed and not reflected as easily.
This helps tremendously in reducing the noise levels.
If you want the maximum benefit from having a carpet for noise reduction, choose one that is soft and fluffy and has lots of fibers. It would further help absorb and dissipate the noise levels.
Technological Aids for White Noise and Sound Masking
White Noise Machines and Sound Apps
White noise machines are specialized devices that produce consistent and soothing sounds, designed to help you sleep better by masking traffic noise and other disturbing sounds.
If you prefer using your smartphone, there are several white noise apps available that can help you block out traffic noise.
These apps offer a wide range of soothing sounds and even allow you to customize your ideal sound mix.
To make the most of white noise machines and apps, consider placing the devices near ear level or near the window to block out external sounds more effectively.
You can also experiment with different volumes and sound combinations to find what works best for you.
Noise-Canceling Headphones for Personal Use
Noise-canceling headphones are another fantastic tool for blocking out unwanted noise in the bedroom.
They work by producing sound waves that cancel out incoming noise, allowing you to enjoy your favorite soothing sounds or even just enjoy blissful silence.
These headphones come in various styles, such as over-ear, on-ear, and in-ear, so you can choose one that suits your comfort and preferences.
Remember to use noise-canceling headphones responsibly, as they can also block essential sounds, such as alarms or people calling for your attention. It is crucial to prioritize safety when using these devices.
In summary, by using white noise machines, sound apps, and noise-canceling headphones you can effectively combat traffic noise in your bedroom.
By experimenting with these different options, you will find the best solution to help you achieve a peaceful, restful night’s sleep.
Personal Solutions for Immediate Noise Relief
Earplugs and Temporary Noise Blockers
One effective way to immediately block out traffic noise is using earplugs. These small devices can be easily inserted into your ears, providing a barrier against unwanted sounds. There are various types of earplugs available that cater to different needs:
- Foam earplugs: These are soft and disposable, perfect for occasional use.
- Silicone earplugs: These are more durable, reusable, and can be molded to fit your ears comfortably.
- Wax earplugs: Wax earplugs offer efficient noise blocking properties while being moldable and comfortable.
Additionally, you might consider using a white noise machine or a fan to create a soothing background noise that can help mask disruptive sounds from traffic.
Behavioral Strategies: Sleep Hygiene and Relaxation Techniques
Maintaining good sleep hygiene is crucial for ensuring quality sleep, especially when dealing with traffic noise. Here are some tips to improve your sleep environment and habits:
- Stick to a regular sleep schedule: Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day can help regulate your internal clock.
- Create a relaxing bedtime routine: Engage in calming activities like taking a warm bath, reading, or practicing deep breathing exercises before bedtime.
- Limit screen time before bed: Exposure to blue light emitted from devices can affect your sleep. Turn off screens at least an hour before sleep.
For relaxation and stress reduction, consider practicing meditation or listening to calming music. Meditation has been proven to help induce sleep and reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. Calming music can create a peaceful atmosphere, making it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep despite external noises.
By combining earplugs or temporary noise blockers with behavioral strategies such as sleep hygiene and relaxation techniques, you can effectively reduce the impact of traffic noise on your sleep and improve your overall sleep quality.
Long-Term Considerations and Neighborhood Involvement
Community Efforts and Noise Regulations
In urban areas, street noise is a common issue for people living in residential buildings. Sometimes, the most effective ways to manage and reduce noise pollution require the involvement and cooperation of neighbors and local authorities.
Here are a few ways communities can work together to achieve this:
- Establishing noise regulations: Work with your local government to create and enforce noise regulations in your neighborhood, such as restricting construction hours and implementing quiet zones in residential areas.
- Noise barriers: Request the installation of noise barriers, like high walls or thick trees, between the road and residential areas to help block traffic noise.
- Road surface improvements: Encourage local authorities to invest in road surface solutions that reduce traffic noise, such as smoother pavement materials or sound-absorbing asphalt.
The Future of Urban Soundscaping
As our cities continue to grow, it’s crucial to consider the impact of sound in urban planning and design. Here are some innovative ideas for future urban soundscapes:
- Green Rooftops: Incorporate green roofs in building designs, which can absorb noise and provide additional benefits, such as cleaner air and energy savings.
- Traffic-calming measures: Implement measures that encourage slower vehicle speeds, like speed bumps and narrower streets. Slower-moving cars typically produce less noise.
- Urban acoustic design: Embrace acoustic design principles in urban planning, prioritizing public spaces with minimized noise pollution and maximized pleasant sounds, like the sound of water fountains or rustling leaves.
By considering both community efforts and the future of urban soundscaping, you and your neighbors can work together to create a more peaceful environment in your area and enjoy quieter bedrooms for a better night’s sleep.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are effective soundproofing methods for exterior walls against road noise?
There are several methods to soundproof exterior walls against road noise. Some of these methods include:
- Adding insulation material like mineral wool or acoustic foam
- Installing mass loaded vinyl or soundproof sheetrock on the walls
- Applying acoustic caulking around windows and doors
These techniques can help reduce the traffic noise entering your bedroom.
Can sound-reducing curtains significantly diminish traffic noise in a bedroom?
Yes, sound-reducing curtains can help diminish traffic noise in a bedroom. These curtains are made with dense materials that can absorb and block sound.
While they may not completely eliminate the noise, they can noticeably decrease its intensity, making your bedroom quieter.
What strategies can be employed to drown out traffic noise while sleeping?
To drown out traffic noise while sleeping, you can try:
- Using a white noise machine or a fan to create a soothing, consistent background noise that can mask the traffic sounds
- Wearing earplugs or noise-cancelling headphones
- Placing tall plants or bookshelves near windows to act as a natural sound barrier
These strategies can help provide a more peaceful sleep environment.
How can one adapt to persistent traffic noise for better sleep quality?
Adapting to persistent traffic noise for better sleep quality may include:
- Establishing a regular sleep schedule to help your body adjust to the noise
- Creating a relaxing bedtime routine to reduce stress and take your mind off the noise
- Practicing relaxation techniques, like deep breathing or meditation, to calm your mind before sleeping
By incorporating these habits, you can improve your sleep quality despite the traffic noise.
In what ways can the noise levels be minimized inside a house situated near a busy road?
To minimize noise levels inside a house situated near a busy road, consider:
- Installing double-glazed or soundproof windows
- Sealing any gaps or cracks in your walls, doors, or windows
- Planting noise-blocking shrubs or erecting outdoor noise barriers along your property
These methods can help reduce the impact of traffic noise on your home environment.
Are there specific materials or fixtures recommended for reducing motorway noise in residential areas?
Certain materials and fixtures can help reduce motorway noise in residential areas, such as:
- Acoustic fencing: A fence designed to deflect, absorb, or block sound waves from entering your property
- Plants and trees: Greenery can act as a natural sound barrier and absorb some noise
- Acoustic window film: A film applied to windows to decrease sound transmission
By incorporating these materials and fixtures, you can minimize the intrusion of motorway noise in your living space.
Traffic noise can ruin the sanctity of your bedroom and affect your rest and leisure time unnecessarily. That is why it is essential to take measures to eliminate or reduce it.
Keep in mind that there is only so much you can do to prevent noise from coming into your bedroom.
Unless you go super professional and completely soundproof your bedroom, the noise will find a way to get into the house.
But with these simple tricks that we have covered in this article, you can easily dampen the noise and make your bedroom a lot quieter and comfortable.
By taking the measures that we mentioned above, you can make your bedroom more peaceful.
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