Room treatment ideas for annoying external noises

big challenge is dealing with noises that come from outside the room.

Noisy landscapers from your neighbors, a dog barking, and inside from the refrigerator compressor buzzing all the time.

Anyone try to deal with these noises and how best to do it?? Thanks


Better windows, noise blocking doors with air tight seals are a place to start.  Noise blocking  curtains as well. After that you are talking about double layered drywall.

I used to have the same problem. Too much external noise.

1) Look in to noise reduction coefficient materials (such as panels, fabric blinds, ) and how best to apply them on walls or around the areas where the most noise is present. Higher rating = better.

2) Hire a contractor to suggest windows that have the best NRC. Double-glazed windows are probably one of the best options.

3) Change when you listen to/enjoy music on your audio system. I have found that midnight to 3 AM is the best time for me. Depending on the weather (such as snow) there may not be as many noisy folks around. Nowadays, noise is not as much of a concern where I live.

4) The "noise" you talk about is obviously normal, and not a cause for concern since almost every neighborhood has this problem. However, higher levIels of external noise in neighborhoods can increase cirme, since thieves are smart enough to know that noise (especially late at night) can mask the sounds associated with someone trying to break in. There is research on this topic and it happened where I used to live (another nice suburb).

5) Buy a solid-wood door and other damping materials (such as an under-door draft blocker and thermal Insulated door curtain).

As for the fridge, best to call a tech and have that fixed.




Yeah. That is a real problem. Expensive sound proofing and choosing when you listen are probably it… unless moving is a possibility.


I just really lucked out three sides of my listening room are underground. 

Noise is out of control. Beg neighbors to stop hiring lazy landscapers who use leafblowers. 

Support any local attempts to ban leafblowers and enforce noise regulations.

Record dogs and play back barking when neighbors think they are going to have peace and quiet. Use supertweeter arrays to blast dogs with ultrasonics.

Improve the sound of your audio system.

When the audio sound is unnatural, human ears must adjust to that unnatural sound to hear clearly. Dog barking and construction sound are natural sound and they disrupt listener's concentration to unnatural sounds (audio sound) because human ears react to natural sound much easier.

If audio sound is truly natural, human ears don't need to do (adjust) anything for the audio sound. And there will be no listener's fatigue.


What you are looking for is how to soundproof a room, not treat it. There is tons of information on Google and YouTube for you to see what is in your budget.

When the sound of audio is closer to natural sound, other natural sounds will not bother listening as much. Rather the listener might enjoy the audio sound and other natural sounds together like the listener is in a live music cafe. 



That is true, but the SPL would still be higher/sub-optimal. Playing over loud noise just means louder. Not better.


Well the sound-proofing doesn't need to be expensive. Upgrading can happen along the way.



Landscaping noise is a growing problem. They don't use mufflers and they keep doing it until every last leave is gone. It's getting to the point where you stand outside your home and if you're having a conversation with someone you can no longer have it because of all the noise.  This is very very frequent.

The caravans pull up their extended vehicles and create havoc as they rotate through the neighborhood. Even on the other block the noise extends over.

I have told my landscaper to do no blowing in the backyard. I made up to buy him a broom for the front soon.  I'm a put a banner on my front lawn recommending the band of leaf blower's and more use of rakes and brooms.

We are all frogs in water that's getting warmer and warmer-we simply don't notice all the noise at this point, and it will never really be the same as it used to be when people hired a neighbor to mow the lawn or did it themselves.  But now if you don't hire a landscaper people infer you have financial problems.  

But that's outside, and when you're inside Leaf blower's can be heard you just can't get away from them.  I lived in Manhattan for four years and living in a suburb is just as bad. 

@emergingsoul  You got it. They are a nuisance. I rake my large yard and do not give these guys any business. 

At a certain point, it isn’t room treatment, it is soundproofing.

I can measure the ambient noise in my room during the day and it is around 33 db, C weighted, on an uncalibrated SPL meter. (I have several and they are all within the same range). That’s quiet, but not dead quiet.

I can get there by inserting into the windows, sheets of melamine, sandwiched with mass loaded vinyl, which kills sound dead (like the roach killer). The extra few db of quiet might be important on a quiet record.

Measure your ambience noise when the system isn’t playing.

There are ways to quiet the room. But don’t think of it as "interior acoustics"- think of sound as the alien force trying to get into the room and block every point of entry with something that kills it. I’ve done it in several contexts- it is do-able- I have a compressor that powers my tonearm and it is in a silencer box that is lined with the stuff mentioned above. I did a walk in closet in NY with acoustic blankets and mass loaded vinyl against studs on top of dry wall, and plugged the pass through cable channels with Magic Eraser (melamine). I also sealed the door. You will hear any "leak-through."

Sounding proofing is entirely different than acoustic treatments. It’s not tuning, it is blocking and killing sound.

PS: the ’Hood chat board is a constant complaint against leaf blowers. It’s become political. Leaf blower wars.

PSS: the frig is different and has two aspects- the sound of the thing making ice and doing its thing- as they get older, they may get noisier- but it is mechanical, and the electrical jolt when the thing kicks on. Two different things, with two different solutions.

1) This is a structural sound transmission issue (AKA soundproofing, although there really is no such thing, just mitigation) so acoustical blinds, panels, diffusers are all simply wrong. Save those for where they are effective - in room acoustics.

2) Don’t ban leaf blowers, encourage landscapers to go all electric rechargeable. There’s still a whoosh, but no annoying 2-stroke noise.

Structural sound transmission mitigation has three basic rules - air leaks are sound leaks, gaps between vibrating components are a good thing and mass is your friend.

So start with the easy part, plugging any and all air leaks, including flanking noise (over the ceiling through the joist spaces is a good example), next pick your noisiest wall and add a layer (or two) of 5/8" sheetrock on resilient strips leaving a 1/8-1/4" gap all around. Fill the gap with flexible acoustical sealant. Seal all outlets and switches as well. Replace your doors with solid core door and add gaskets and sweeps on the bottom.

Inside, you can also replace an existing simple partition wall between your listening room and the kitchen or a bedroom with a stagger-stud wall (2X4s on a 2X6 plate, with studs on one side offset 8" so there’s no contact between inside and outside) between rooms, and finish with 1/2" sheetrock on one side and 5/8" over OSB sheathing on the other using acoustical adhesive to create a constraining layer, floating the sheetrock on resilient strips and sealing as above. Replace all windows with triple glazing. You could install a third layer of glazing inside the existing windows, but be prepared for fogging and condensation in most climates. As for adding mass, rock cladding, concrete, etc. can help, but are obviously very expensive.

And sometimes, starting over with a dedicated listening space in mind is the only answer.