Tips For Reducing Traffic Noise Pollution Around Your Home
© Ashton Pal, Flickr CC
Unless you live in a sleepy rural community, you know the noise of highways and city streets well. Some can get used to the noise of sirens and trucks blaring by at 2AM, but for many, inadequate sleep remains an issue. While electric cars are becoming more popular and are considerably silent in comparison to their gas engine counterparts, traffic noise levels are still increasing all the time. While we haven’t discovered a solution to make all vehicles quieter yet, there are other ways to decrease traffic noise from invading your home.
Build A Sound Barrier
In many cities, you will find a concrete wall along the highway blocking the view of the homes on the other side. These are highway sound barrier walls. Extremely tall constructions, they are designed to break up sound waves and lessen the noise impact on the neighborhood on the other side. Getting the wall for the neighborhood is the biggest challenge. You will need to get your city or town to approve for the building of it for your area, and of course, they are pricey. If you get your neighborhood association, your neighbors, and businesses in the area to put pressure on your City Council, you could possibly win your case. If you decide this is what is best for your area, you should make the effort and be prepared for the long haul! Can you build your own wall? Yes and no. You will need permission and permits to make this kind of addition to your property. This means you could be denied.
Create Peaceful Noise In Your Yard
If you have an interstate or major highway close to your backyard, you can still try to create a peaceful sanctuary. Trees and bushes can aid in blocking out some noise. Remember to plan for the changes in foliage for your trees and bushes each season, how drastically the look can change. Opting for a lush bush and tree throughout all seasons will be your best bet. Since noise can still come through foliage, try to decorate your yard with sounds to offset what you hear. Water fountains add a calming effect and can deflect the sounds of the highway, while wind chimes might be a sound you find more joyful or soothing.
You can always take measures to soundproof your home. While it’s not necessary to pad every inch of your home with pillows, there are options that can add to the sound insulation, blocking out some noise. Sealing the cracks and holes between the interior and exterior of your home is the first step. Look at your windows and update them if necessary to improve sound quality. There are windows made to absorb noise, although replacing them could come at a high cost. Another option is to add storm windows if you don’t already have them, to your current windows for an extra layer of protection. Adding extra insulation throughout the entire house can also add extra sound protection and is as close to a padded home as you will get.
Taking small steps and doing what you can to decrease the impact of traffic noise pollution can make a difference and help you to sleep better and enjoy your backyard again.
Ashley Andrews is a San Diego-based freelance writer who blogs on a wide range of green living, business, health and technology topics.