Traffic noise is a nuisance for many people who live near busy streets and highways, as the sounds of cars and trucks rumbling by can interfere with sleep and relaxation. According to a study conducted by environmental psychologist Gary Evans of Cornell University, chronic exposure to traffic noise can raise stress, blood pressure and heart rate levels in children. Short of moving either your home or the highway, there are a few things you can do to reduce traffic noise.
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Things you need
- Dual pane or speciality noise-reduction windows
- Insulated drapes
- Water feature
- White noise machine
Upgrade your windows. Sound Transmission Class (STC) refers to a sound reduction rating system. Single pane windows fall within an STC range of 22 to 25. Dual panes generally have ratings of 27 to 32. Look for windows with STC ratings of 33 or higher.
Install insulated drapes or acoustical curtains on windows. Insulated drapes are primarily designed to retain heat and block light but have sound-absorbing properties as well.
Purchase a "white noise" machine. White noise machines produce a low and steady sound that can mask unpleasant sounds. Some examples of white noise are the sound of steady rain or the low hum of road noise when travelling inside a car.
Install one or more water features in your yard. While some homeowners feel that this adds to sound pollution, others find that water features mask traffic noise.
Contact local officials about installing a sound barrier. Ask about any planned improvements to the roadway. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, an efficient sound barrier must be taller than line of sight and long enough to absorb or reflect sound away from the home.
Tips and warnings
- Unless the vegetation is very dense, landscaping is not an efficient sound barrier.
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