Understand what Differentiates Soundproofing and Sound Treatment

When an individual encounters sound or noise issues, the first solution they typically search for is how to “soundproof” their space. This would be the ideal situation in theory; a space that does not allow the entry or exit of sound. In execution, this simply isn’t a reasonable expectation, short of investing tens of thousands of dollars in substantial construction. Despite what companies may want you to think and what the appearance of professional recording studios may imply, fiberglass and acoustical insulation foam are NOT able to soundproof a room. However, these can be used to improve the sound and clarity in a room.

Acoustical foam and similar sound products offer sound treatment, a wholly different function than sound proofing. These acoustical materials can offer some sound insulating treatment when applied as barriers in a space’s construction, but when added to a finished area, they clarify and deaden echoes and noise. Part of what contributes to the perception of unwanted sound or noise are the intervals in time at which sound waves reach our ears. When a sound is produced from a speaker, it travels in all directions. These waves bounce and reflect off surfaces in a room and reach our ears at different points in time, being interpreted as reverberation and distortion. Acoustic foam and similar treatment absorb some of these bouncing waves while deflecting and diffusing others, helping to ensure that only the original sound is reaching you. To that length, this can possibly make a space seem quieter by virtue of less interference in your interpretation of sound.

There are many ways to treat sound, from rearranging furniture to adding carpeting or decoupling speakers from the floor with a foam block. It is also important to recognize not all foam types are to be used acoustically, due to a lack of fire-resistant properties in some varieties.