Reducing road noise that reaches back side of house

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AerialWombat
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Reducing road noise that reaches back side of house

Post by AerialWombat »

My current abode is a little slice of paradise, in most ways. However...

Rural area, but I’m located right on the main road that serves the entire area. Very busy road, 24/7. Two front bedrooms are empty, doors kept closed. I sleep in the one bedroom that’s on the back of the house. But I like to sleep cold, and keep windows open year round in bedroom. I also keep a fan running for white noise.

Yes, I could just close the window. This is a minor annoyance, at worst.

Might there be either an engineering solution or a botanical solution for reducing the road noise that reaches the back of the house?
vu8
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Re: Reducing road noise that reaches back side of house

Post by vu8 »

1 large sound absorption pads on walls, carpet rooms instead of hardwood floors
2 build a sound deterring wall along side the road
3 wear noise cancelling headphones at sleep the entire time
4 wear construction ear plugs at sleep
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celia
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Re: Reducing road noise that reaches back side of house

Post by celia »

Plant some trees (junipers or cedars?) between the house and the road and also near the road-side bedrooms, but it will take several years to notice any improvement in road noise. The latter might also help with shade. But for safety, don't overdue it such that passers-by can't see the house from the road.
Mr. Rumples
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Re: Reducing road noise that reaches back side of house

Post by Mr. Rumples »

Road noise is going to penetrate almost no matter what. Walls, shrubs help but its always there. I live about 1/2 mile from an interstate as the crow flies; I can hear the interstate right now and there are houses, trees, ravines and such between my home and it.
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Re: Reducing road noise that reaches back side of house

Post by jebmke »

Mr. Rumples wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 5:44 am Road noise is going to penetrate almost no matter what. Walls, shrubs help but its always there. I live about 1/2 mile from an interstate as the crow flies; I can hear the interstate right now and there are houses, trees, ravines and such between my home and it.
A lot of road noise is low frequency sound which seems to carry a long distance. I sometimes hear highway noise from over a mile away. On a clear day with dense air, I can hear the blasting at Aberdeen which has to be at least 75 miles away.
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Re: Reducing road noise that reaches back side of house

Post by stoptothink »

jebmke wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 6:06 am
Mr. Rumples wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 5:44 am Road noise is going to penetrate almost no matter what. Walls, shrubs help but its always there. I live about 1/2 mile from an interstate as the crow flies; I can hear the interstate right now and there are houses, trees, ravines and such between my home and it.
A lot of road noise is low frequency sound which seems to carry a long distance. I sometimes hear highway noise from over a mile away. On a clear day with dense air, I can hear the blasting at Aberdeen which has to be at least 75 miles away.
I'm 1.5 miles from the busiest highway in the state (I-15) and I can't say I've ever heard any noise from it. My best friend is quite a bit closer, ~.5m and I've never heard it when at his home. I did grow up with my back window literally against a fence separating us from 1-10, and yes we could hear that.
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Re: Reducing road noise that reaches back side of house

Post by jebmke »

stoptothink wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 6:32 am I'm 1.5 miles from the busiest highway in the state (I-15) and I can't say I've ever heard any noise from it. My best friend is quite a bit closer, ~.5m and I've never heard it when at his home. I did grow up with my back window literally against a fence separating us from 1-10, and yes we could hear that.
May depend on how much background noise there is. I don’t know. I live in a rural area so very little other noise except in goose and duck hunting season when it sounds like a war zone.
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Re: Reducing road noise that reaches back side of house

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

Vegetation helps, but won't eliminate low frequency noise. My house is situated with a hill between me and Rt 90, less than half a mile away. I don't hear anything inside, but absolutely hear the Jake brakes of trucks slowing to get onto Rt 495, which crosses and is maybe a mile the other direction and I hear nothing.

Closing the window sure sounds like the most effective solution.

Walls help, but need to be close to the road to reflect the noise back to the road. I do see timber walls built in the last decade on 90 where houses are much closer to the highway approaching Boston. Less when there's woods as far as you can see from the highway.
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Re: Reducing road noise that reaches back side of house

Post by Call_Me_Op »

I don't see any easy solutions. You don't want to build a big wall. It would take a lot of vegetation to make a significant difference. Noise cancelling headphones will help or earplugs, but I can't sleep with either.

What is behind you? The noise must be (at least partially) reflecting off of whatever is behind you. That may be an avenue to explore.
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Re: Reducing road noise that reaches back side of house

Post by OnTrack2020 »

We have road noise (and traffic that can be seen); there's really nothing that can be done to reduce it outside and I've come to love it. I will tell you though that we don't have traffic 24/7, as it really slows down in the late evening. To me, it's become part and parcel of everyday life. It's an alarm clock in that when I hear more traffic moving in the morning, I know that people are traveling to their places of business, school, etc. for the day. It's the weatherman in that I can see how fast or slow it's moving (especially during winter months). I do like the ear plugs/noise cancelling headphones idea--much more inexpensive.
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Re: Reducing road noise that reaches back side of house

Post by BogleTaxPro »

Get a white noise machine that has a variety of sounds to choose from. Your fan is a good start, but the frequency is constant so you still hear background variances. White noise machines have choices like "train" and "ocean waves" that vary so that other background noises will be perceived as just part of the normal sound. Takes some getting used to until your brain is trained. We take ours on trips and it even helps in hotels with people moving around and closing doors.
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Re: Reducing road noise that reaches back side of house

Post by clip651 »

Sleep in one of the other bedrooms on the other side of the house if the noise is better there. Nothing is going to cut road noise much with a window open that faces the noise.
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Re: Reducing road noise that reaches back side of house

Post by Sandtrap »

Have you considered moving?

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Re: Reducing road noise that reaches back side of house

Post by suemarkp »

Wait for it to snow. Great sound absorber.
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Re: Reducing road noise that reaches back side of house

Post by Mr. Rumples »

jebmke wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 6:06 am
Mr. Rumples wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 5:44 am Road noise is going to penetrate almost no matter what. Walls, shrubs help but its always there. I live about 1/2 mile from an interstate as the crow flies; I can hear the interstate right now and there are houses, trees, ravines and such between my home and it.
A lot of road noise is low frequency sound which seems to carry a long distance. I sometimes hear highway noise from over a mile away. On a clear day with dense air, I can hear the blasting at Aberdeen which has to be at least 75 miles away.
Yes, now that you say that, it is a low sound, almost like a rumble.
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Re: Reducing road noise that reaches back side of house

Post by AerialWombat »

Sandtrap wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 9:14 am Have you considered moving?

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I've moved at least once every year since 2015 (how I acquire rental properties). I moved here in March, staying at least two years, if not three. Only reason I'd be willing to spend a few dollars on this particular problem.
Last edited by AerialWombat on Sat Sep 05, 2020 1:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Reducing road noise that reaches back side of house

Post by AerialWombat »

suemarkp wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 9:29 am Wait for it to snow. Great sound absorber.
It snows maybe twice a year here, and it doesn't stick. Nice part about being one block from the beach. :)
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Re: Reducing road noise that reaches back side of house

Post by AerialWombat »

BogleTaxPro wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 7:09 am Get a white noise machine that has a variety of sounds to choose from. Your fan is a good start, but the frequency is constant so you still hear background variances. White noise machines have choices like "train" and "ocean waves" that vary so that other background noises will be perceived as just part of the normal sound. Takes some getting used to until your brain is trained. We take ours on trips and it even helps in hotels with people moving around and closing doors.
That could work. Any make/model suggestions?
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Re: Reducing road noise that reaches back side of house

Post by Dougiefresh »

More EV's= less noise?
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Re: Reducing road noise that reaches back side of house

Post by delamer »

AerialWombat wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 12:26 pm
BogleTaxPro wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 7:09 am Get a white noise machine that has a variety of sounds to choose from. Your fan is a good start, but the frequency is constant so you still hear background variances. White noise machines have choices like "train" and "ocean waves" that vary so that other background noises will be perceived as just part of the normal sound. Takes some getting used to until your brain is trained. We take ours on trips and it even helps in hotels with people moving around and closing doors.
That could work. Any make/model suggestions?
There’s White Noise app (free) that you could try on your cell or tablet to see if that does the trick.

I use it every night with earbuds.
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Re: Reducing road noise that reaches back side of house

Post by Erwin007 »

I bought my house away from any major roads to avoid just such a problem.
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Re: Reducing road noise that reaches back side of house

Post by LittleMaggieMae »

Maybe the solution is to "get use to it". As in it's just another "house noise" like when the HVAC comes on, or the washer/dryer/dishwasher, or a toilet flush or a shower running.

I live in a densely populated area. The commuter and freight rail line is about a quarter mile from my house. There's a busy street just down the block from me. There's expressways (closest is a mile) and an airport (about 3 miles away) so there's a 40 minutes during the morning and early evening when the planes are either coming in to land or leaving and going by over heard (only noisy when they are low due to clouds or storms) other wise they are a bit like ants following one after the other up high in the sky.

I, too, sleep with the windows open during the summer. The sounds of the freights is kind of "calming" and familiar. The car sounds are familiar too. Train horns, sirens (police/fire) are few and far between.
I never hear my neighbors even through their homes are about 20 feet from mine. (ok, if they have guests and are BBQing I hear/see that...)

I had out of town visitors once (they lived in the middle of nowhere with closest neighbor a mile away) and the kids were all about "look a plane!" when they spotted the planes up high heading for the airport and "ooh train noise!" and "where are all those cars?" If it hadn't been for the kids - I wouldn't have noticed.

What's worse is where a friend lives - in a neighborhood of apartment buildings on a busy street (for police and fire and ambulances on the way to the hospital). The population density is crazy high. My friend gets treated to screaming marital fights, drunken yelling fights, and sometimes back yard parties with live bands and amplifiers that go to 2 or 3 in the morning - along with the sirens going back and forth.

I am perfectly happy with car, train, and plane noise - I've gotten use to and basically ignore.
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Re: Reducing road noise that reaches back side of house

Post by willthrill81 »

At a nearby housing development that's quite close to a busy interstate highway, they built a earthen wall higher than the roadway and planted trees on it to help reduce sound. It's definitely reduced the noise significantly, but that's a potentially pricey solution for a single home.
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Re: Reducing road noise that reaches back side of house

Post by squirm »

You have to have a ton on vegetation for it to do anything. High wall next to the window will help some.
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Re: Reducing road noise that reaches back side of house

Post by Godot »

Sandtrap wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 9:14 am Have you considered moving?

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Re: Reducing road noise that reaches back side of house

Post by ohboy! »

I am on a hill 1/2 mile from the freeway interchange. My place would be a forever home if it wasn’t for the freeway noise (and planes). I too like to sleep with the window open. What I have done is also move to the back of the house, fill the room with stuff, AND put my bed on the interior wall so my head is furthest from the window. It’s actually 90% solved it for me. I’m still bothered by the noise when in the yard, especially when people are over, but they generally think Im nuts. I’ve even measured dbs in and outside my house regularly as well as other places.

One thing Ive wondered is, if I can hear it, how much am I being polluted by it?

One good thing about Covid has been that traffic is still at 60% what it was so the noise is less.

Unfortunately moving isn’t super practical in a HCOL area. For me to move from my $700k house to another $700k house could easily cost $70k or more. Even more challenging than that $700k is a starter home here and the competition is insane with inventory and quality low.
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Re: Reducing road noise that reaches back side of house

Post by crinkles2 »

We've generally found that vegetation screens don't grow fast enough to solve the problem, or are just not good enough even when mature.

Where we've tried it, we ended moving before the screen was mature as it wasn't doing anything. This was not for a road noise issue, but bad neighbors.

We used to live in a rural town on the main road where huge semi's would rattle past 30 feet from our bedroom. We got used to it. One year, they completed the town bypass. We couldn't sleep for weeks!

We currently live on a future main road (new development). This house has double glazed windows as part of the code, being exposed to the road. Of course, they only work when shut.

Not many options out there other than moving away... if leaving windows open will be important. I understand that sucks.

Noise can be a funny thing. visitors may think it's nothing. but when it has a 'tick' to it it drives me nuts. We are replacing a ceiling fan because the motor's whirring drives me insane! When I am sure other people wouldn't be bothered.
Last edited by crinkles2 on Sat Sep 05, 2020 6:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Reducing road noise that reaches back side of house

Post by Duckie »

AerialWombat wrote:Reducing road noise that reaches back side of house
Foam earplugs. They're cheap, easy to use, and you can toss them when they get too grungy. The 7 Best Earplugs for Sleeping.
AerialWombat wrote:
BogleTaxPro wrote:Get a white noise machine that has a variety of sounds to choose from.
That could work. Any make/model suggestions?
Homedics White Noise Sound Machine. It can use an electrical plug or batteries. I have a different brand (no longer made) but I love my "Summer Night" crickets.
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Re: Reducing road noise that reaches back side of house

Post by sixty40 »

I have looked into this extensively for my home. In general you need height, width, and weight. A 8” think concrete block wall, concrete filled, minimum height of 8 ft can help some, but cannot expect miracles.
A less expensive sound blocking material would be mass loaded vinyl which comes in typically 1 and 2 lbs per sf.
It helps but will not eliminate the sound.
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Re: Reducing road noise that reaches back side of house

Post by Toadandfriends »

I've owned this great little sound machine for several years:
Adaptive Sound Technologies LectroFan High Fidelity White Noise Sound Machine with 20 Unique Non-Looping Fan and White Noise Sounds and Sleep Timer

You choose a sound that hides the annoying noises. It is very small which I really appreciate. I bought it after reading a review on Wirecutter, looks like they still like it: https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/revi ... e-machine/
Good luck!
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Re: Reducing road noise that reaches back side of house

Post by Ping Pong »

People usually recommend Michelin tires to deal with road noise.

Edit: never mind, I just realized OP said they didn’t want to spend a lot of money.
Last edited by Ping Pong on Sun Sep 06, 2020 4:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Reducing road noise that reaches back side of house

Post by Lalamimi »

have you talked to neighbors? They "grated" the freeway in a section of Houston to reduce noise. We live a a two lane road on edge of town that gets lots of dump trucks and semis, and dozens of yard guys - most who ignore the 35 MPH. We upgraded to double paned windows and am thinking water feature on the patio, where we love to be. Can't stand on our driveway and have a conversation at most times. Bushes and fans. and ear plugs are your bet.
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Re: Reducing road noise that reaches back side of house

Post by BogleTaxPro »

AerialWombat wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 12:26 pm
BogleTaxPro wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 7:09 am Get a white noise machine that has a variety of sounds to choose from. Your fan is a good start, but the frequency is constant so you still hear background variances. White noise machines have choices like "train" and "ocean waves" that vary so that other background noises will be perceived as just part of the normal sound. Takes some getting used to until your brain is trained. We take ours on trips and it even helps in hotels with people moving around and closing doors.
That could work. Any make/model suggestions?
My DH uses: White Noise Machine Sleep Sound Machine for Baby Kid Adult with 28 Non-Looping Soothing Sounds Night Light USB Rechargeable Timer & Memory Feature because it has a night light feature and is USB rechargeable (although it will run all night on the battery without a problem).
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0811 ... UTF8&psc=1
I use this one: Big Red Rooster White Noise Machine - Sound Machine For Sleeping & Relaxation - 10 Natural and Soothing Sounds - Plug In Or Battery Powered - Portable Sleep Sound Therapy for Home, Office or Travel (note no rechargeable battery on this one)
https://www.amazon.com/Big-Red-Rooster- ... B01H6WXV6Y
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Re: Reducing road noise that reaches back side of house

Post by oxothuk »

Dougiefresh wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 1:30 pm More EV's= less noise?
Less engine noise, but the tire noise will still be there.
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Re: Reducing road noise that reaches back side of house

Post by eddot98 »

Please give up the notion of planting trees to reduce road noise. Mostly their effect is psychological. A 100 foot deep dense stand of trees with underbrush (usually evergreens as deciduous trees offer little reduction in winter) only reduces sound pressure levels by 50% and perceived volume levels by about 19%. And, if there is a break in the woods, say for your driveway, their effectiveness is lessened.
And, also give up on building a noise wall. They are ridiculously expensive, they need to be designed by an engineer, and they will reflect sound across the road to your neighbors, if you could even get a permit for one. Besides, most are pretty ugly and a favorite target for graffiti.
Unfortunately, closing the windows and running an air conditioner is your best bet to sleep cool.
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Re: Reducing road noise that reaches back side of house

Post by AerialWombat »

Thanks for all the replies. This entire wagon train of thought appears to be a fool's errand, in terms of doing anything physical outside.

I will look into the white noise machines -- thanks for the links to specific models.
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Re: Reducing road noise that reaches back side of house

Post by TomatoTomahto »

We have 20 acres of forest between us and a road; even in summer the noise makes it through. That said, it does make a difference, but we would not sleep with windows open (pollen sensitivity). We have very quiet HVAC. We installed triple glazed windows where we could. We used space age noise abatement techniques when we renovated (resilient channel, green glue, soundboard, Roxul, weatherstripping on doors, etc.), but that is all very expensive — it makes a difference, but it is never going to be perfect. If you were in an anechoic chamber, you’d be bothered by the sounds of your heartbeat.

I don’t drink, but if I did, I’d have a nightcap. We have found that a soak in our soaking tub works wonders.
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Re: Reducing road noise that reaches back side of house

Post by 123 »

Perhaps you need to instead consider yourself lucky to have a problem with road noise. Many people have so many other issues and problems of various kinds that they never even notice the road noise. Do you have a pet? Maybe yu need a dog as a distraction.
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Re: Reducing road noise that reaches back side of house

Post by AerialWombat »

123 wrote: Sun Sep 06, 2020 3:42 pm Perhaps you need to instead consider yourself lucky to have a problem with road noise. Many people have so many other issues and problems of various kinds that they never even notice the road noise. Do you have a pet? Maybe yu need a dog as a distraction.
Like I said in OP, it's a minor annoyance, at worst. Clearly a 1% problem.
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Re: Reducing road noise that reaches back side of house

Post by TravelGeek »

I see really no need for a dedicated white noise machine these days when there are dozens of apps for smartphones and tablets. At the very least, I'd use those options to try out whether it helps or not.
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Re: Reducing road noise that reaches back side of house

Post by AerialWombat »

TravelGeek wrote: Sun Sep 06, 2020 6:07 pm I see really no need for a dedicated white noise machine these days when there are dozens of apps for smartphones and tablets. At the very least, I'd use those options to try out whether it helps or not.
I would concur, in general. But I'm one of those weirdos that maintains a "no screens in the bedroom" philosophy, so it's worth the $20 to me for a dedicated gizmo.
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Re: Reducing road noise that reaches back side of house

Post by TravelGeek »

AerialWombat wrote: Sun Sep 06, 2020 6:17 pm
TravelGeek wrote: Sun Sep 06, 2020 6:07 pm I see really no need for a dedicated white noise machine these days when there are dozens of apps for smartphones and tablets. At the very least, I'd use those options to try out whether it helps or not.
I would concur, in general. But I'm one of those weirdos that maintains a "no screens in the bedroom" philosophy, so it's worth the $20 to me for a dedicated gizmo.
No, problem, leave the phone in another room and put a bluetooth speaker in the bedroom :)

If you have an Amex card, you can get a free year of Calm, an app that has tons of "noise" choices including calming music and "sleep stories". There are also entirely free apps.
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Re: Reducing road noise that reaches back side of house

Post by Jim Beaux »

There are several approaches for sound deadening. Here are some to get you started.
https://www.homedepot.com/p/1-2-in-x-4 ... /207168829


https://www.housesumo.com/soundproof-existing-walls/
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Re: Reducing road noise that reaches back side of house

Post by tractorguy »

I've got a background in noise control engineering (both graduate college courses and several years application). You said that you're sleeping at the back of the house. What's outside your window? Is there a wall or other house that is reflecting the noise into your window?

If not, I'm going to guess that what you're hearing is primarily low frequency sounds such as a rumble or thumping sounds. If that's the case, then there is not much you can do besides turning up the white noise generator or wearing ear plugs. Your house is already blocking the high frequency noise, leaving you hearing the low frequencies (bass). Low frequency sound is hard to block. Absorption material in the room or a tree barrier between you and the road won't do much to reduce it. An earth barrier might, but it will need to be high enough that it totally blocks line if sight between you and the road.

If you are getting high frequency noise (such as tire noise) reflected from something outside your window then there is some hope. The best treatment is a heavy barrier (such as an earth berm) between you and the road. If you can't do that, then a tree barrier between you and the road or between you and the reflecting wall will provide some relief. Wall to wall carpeting in your bedroom will also help if the sound is high frequency.
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