Noise Reduction Strategies For City Living: From A Building Specialist

Mar 23, 2023 | News

Living near the hustle and bustle of the city can be a rich experience. There are endless opportunities for entertainment and dining. But when it comes to getting some peace, you might feel that the city never sleeps!

Why you need to reduce noise

Aside from all the obvious reasons you’ll want to reduce noise when living on a busy street, there’s a mind-altering reason you need it…


reduce noise in the city

A lack of sleep can drive us crazy.


No matter how much you think you’ll ‘get used to it’, noise will still impact your sleep quality

As you adjust to the noise of the city, your brain no longer wakes you up from sleep when you hear sounds. But, research has shown it is still having an impact on your subconscious mind. 

See, we all have four stages of sleep: light stages (1 and 2), the slow wave–deep stage, and the REM stage. We need at least two hours of REM sleep each night. If you’re dealing with traffic and other city noises, your brain will move you quickly from each sleep stage. As a result, you’ll get less of the most important stage of the sleep cycle, REM, and spend more time in the lighter stages of the sleep cycle.

So, no matter how long you slumber, the lower quality sleep that results from sleeping with background noise will leave you tired the next day and prone to developing mental health problems. And these are just the short-term effects!

Avoid going bonkers, here’s how to get reduce noise if you’re living in the CBD:

How to Get Noise-Free Living in the City

6 peace-creating tips from a building specialist

You may be surprised to know that good insulation doesn’t necessarily equal good soundproofing. It has much to do with the wall system, including ways to absorb the sound between materials and avoid sound flanking. 

“Good Insulation doesn’t necessarily equal good soundproofing.”

Here are ways that you can reduce noise levels in your city home:

1. Install a Sound Barrier

Sound barriers can reduce the level of noise that enters your home. They act like a thick layer between your home and the environment. If you have lightweight framing, sound barriers and insulation are a must. 

  • Sound barriers include insulation materials installed on your floor, ceilings, and walls.
  • A fence or wall made of materials like concrete or brick.
  • Renovating the house to build thick walls or a double-stud wall.

Sound barriers are a great way to reduce noise levels when living on a busy street.

2. Use sound-absorbing Materials

Many homeowners and apartment dwellers use acoustic carpets, thick regular carpets, and soundproof insulation to limit the noise level that enters the home. These materials absorb sound waves and prevent them from bouncing around the room.

  • Tip: The thicker the carpet, the better the sound absorption
  • Sound-dampening pads in the house can also thicken the barrier layer between you and the noisy exteriors.
  • Wall hangings specialised for soundproofing are also a great pick for quieting down things in your house.

A supplier we like to work with is Knauf Insulation – they have sound-absorbing acoustic insulation that is a great option for homeowners to help reduce noise.

3. Install Soundproof Windows

Our next tip is soundproof windows. These are designed to reduce noise levels by blocking sound waves. Soundproof windows have special glass and insulation that can reduce the amount of noise that enters the home up to 95%. That means if you suffer from loud sounds like wailing sirens at night, it will block them, but you’ll still be able to hear some lower-frequency sounds. 

Glass types for soundproofing windows include:

  •  Double glazed glass
  • Triple glazed glass
  • Laminated glass

You can choose the glass type based on the level of noise you want to control. 

4.  Seal Gaps and Cracks

Any gaps or cracks in doors and windows can let noise in. Sealing these gaps with weatherstripping, caulking, or foam can help prevent sound from entering. You can also invest in window inserts to seal the gaps in window panes. 

As a bonus, these window solutions are also: 

  • Energy-efficient (they’ll help lower those energy bills)
  • Stylish – you can choose sliding windows, casement, and double hung.
  • Eliminate the need for storm windows for noise reduction and energy efficiency.

Sealing creates a barrier for noise reduction.

5.  Resilient channels

Ever heard of resilient channels? Resilient channels are basically long steel ‘bars’ with a couple of legs that can be attached to studs before the plasterboard is installed. They help to isolate the plasterboard from the studs, creating an extra distance between the wall and the insulation to prevent sound vibrations from travelling through the wall.

  • You can maximise resilient channels by adding sound-dampening pads to them
  • Insulation material can absorb sound between the channel and plasterboard.

It’s another tool to reduce street noise in your home.

6.  Acoustic Sealant

Acoustic sealant can be applied around the edges of the drywall to reduce sound transmission. It’s similar to a window insert and combined with other soundproofing solutions, it can help give you a peaceful night’s sleep in the middle of the city.

To sum up, if you need to reduce noise for your city-based home, you need:

  • Sound barriers
  • Sound-absorbing materials
  • Soundproof windows
  • Resilient channels
  • Gap and crack sealants
  • Acoustic sealants

If you’d like noise-reduction advice specific to your home and living situation, you may like to book a consultation with our home renovation experts.

– Simon Clark, GM

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