In this guide, I will be showing you how to incorporate a noise cancelling system for home.
In simple terms, a noise-cancelling system is defined as an active noise control system capable of listening to the surrounding ambient noise and, in turn, plays the opposite sound that helps synchronize with the problem noise.
This helps in cancelling out noise.
Such systems are found in a car.
A perfect example is the active noise system found in Nissan Bluebird.
This system debuted in 1992 but became popular in recent days. It’s also used in premium headphones.
Silentium is a famous company that offers an active noise cancellation system for homes. (Source)
Alternatively, if you find products offered by brands such as Silentium too expensive for you, then below is a guide on how to build a noise-cancelling system for home.
How to Build a Noise Cancelling System for Home
It’s important to mention that cancelling unwanted sounds takes lots of time and work- especially depending on the magnitude of the problem.
Below are some steps on how to build an active noise cancelling system for your home.
Most doors in the market come with poor sound insulation, which means that they allow a lot of noise inside your space.
Soundproofing the door is one way to cancel noise from outside.
Some of the ways to soundproof your doors include:
- Use weather stripping
Weatherstripping is mostly used to prevent moisture and air from getting through doors and windows. It is also perfect for soundproofing.
Weatherstripping is easy to install. All you need is to expose the sticky tape and fit throughout the door or window to ensure no space is left.
Covering all the spaces below and above the door makes it hard for external noise to penetrate the house.
- Use a Door Sweep
Just like weather stripping, installing a door sweep helps seal any gaps at the bottom of the door. Door Sweeps look like brushes, and they are designed to fit the door.
The door sweep fills any gap below the door that may allow unwanted noise in.
- Get an acoustic threshold
Acoustic thresholds are perfect for sealing gaps between the floor and your door. The threshold comes with a raised lip that rests against the door.
The only problem with an acoustic threshold is that it may be a trip hazard. It is not advisable to fix it in a home with elderly or blind people.
- Change your door
A thicker door may be all you need to enjoy some quiet. If your exterior door is flimsy, no amount of sealing will help.
Get a solid door made of dense wood or any other solid material. Where possible, ask for a door fitted with noise-cancelling Technology.
Just like the doors, windows can allow a lot of sound inside the noise. Soundproof them, and you will notice a significant reduction in outside noise.
Here is how to soundproof the windows
- Thoroughly seal the existing window frame
- Use insulation tape or acoustic sealant to cover all gaps on the window
- Use weather tripping
- Add acrylic panels—these work to trap air and reduce sound vibrations going through the windows.
- Use sound deadening blinds and curtains.
Soundproofing curtains come in different shapes and sizes, so you have more than enough options.
These curtains are also perfect for thermal insulation, meaning you can kill two birds with one stone.
To get the best out of soundproofing curtains, get them in the right size.
Also, consider accessories such as eyelets and ensure that they are rust-resistant, especially if exposed to the elements.
3. Soundproof the Walls
Walls that allow sound through will make your life at home a living hell.
Most brick walls don’t allow much sound in, but many homes have poorly insulated internal stud walls. Soundproofing stud walls is a lot of work, and you may need to hire a professional.
Steps involved include:
- Remove the plasterboard
- Seal all openings on the wall using an acoustic sealant
- Use Rockwool insulation on your walls
- Place resilient channels on the studs
- Screw drywall on resilient channels. Drywall helps reduce noise vibrations.
If in need of extra sound resistance, add soundproofing boards after installing the plasterboard.
The boards are also suitable for brick walls with low sound resistance.
The most common soundproofing boards are made of mass loaded vinyl.
This material is flexible, and the panels can be hanged on walls with relative ease.
Mass loaded vinyl is also used on ceiling and floors.
If you can’t your hands on mass loaded vinyl material, then consider these top 7 MLV alternatives.
Acoustic panels with noisy areas such as music rooms are also readily available.
The panels can sometimes be unsightly, so you have to be careful and go with the option that complements your décor.
4. Soundproofing Ceiling and Floor
This step is particularly essential if you live in an apartment.
If you can hear your upstairs neighbor move or go about their usual activities, you may need to consider soundproofing the ceiling.
There are two ways around this problem.
You can ask your upstairs neighbor to use heavy rugs in all the problem areas.
This will only work if you have a rational neighbor.
You can also install a false ceiling using resilient channels. These channels dissipate sound before it gets to your space.
In shared homes with floorboards and plasterboard ceilings, dampening outdoor noise can be quite an issue.
Filling the ceiling cavity using Rockwool may help reduce sound vibrations, but the process is quite tedious.
You may need to get a professional to help with the job.
5. Creating Noise Barriers
Noise barriers are used to prevent noise from a particular source from reaching you.
For example, you may erect a fence to deflect traffic noise, preventing it from reaching your home.
A hedge or a strategically located shed may also help with a similar problem.
Other barriers can be used inside your house.
Put a wide bookcase against a poorly insulated wall, and this will dampen the noise getting through the walls. You can use a sofa for the same purpose.
Use furniture and other décor items to deflect noise from windows, doors, and poorly insulated walls.
While this may not reduce the noise, it is an excellent method to combine with others to complete a noise-cancelling system.
Combine both outdoor and indoor barrier to convert your home into a quiet haven.
6. Get a White Noise Machine
Building an active noise cancellation system doesn’t come cheap.
In most instances, you have to combine two or more methods to get the results you want.
If you are looking for a cheaper alternative to all these, a White Noise Machine is ideal.
A White Noise Machine is nothing like the pricier Active Noise Cancellation system.
Instead of generating an opposing noise, the White Noise Machine delivers a generic sound, say that of running water or TV static.
With the White Noise Machine, you have countless options when it comes to the sound generation.
You can choose whichever sound you find calming.
Choose a sound that will tune out all the irritating background noise in your home.
Advantages of using a White Noise Machine
Feel like you cannot live another day with the annoying music from the neighbors?
This machine will instantaneously solve your problem, and the good thing is all you need is to purchase your unit.
A White Noise Machine produces calming noise that will soothe you to sleep and improve your sleep quality.
If you cannot sleep in a quiet room, consider getting one of these machines instead of leaving your TV on the whole night.
Some babies also sleep better with some soothing noise in the background.
If the baby found the sounds inside your womb soothing, he/she may find it hard to sleep in a quiet nursery.
A white Noise Machine can enhance your focus, depending on the type of sound you choose.
Imagine how focused you will be if you can quiet the world around you.
These machines are portable, and you can even carry one to your office if your noisy colleagues prevent you from reaching your targets.
While they are not 100% effective, they help alleviate the noise.
Final thoughts on Noise Cancelling System for Home
Above are some of the methods on how you can build a noise cancelling system for home.
If you undertake all the steps highlighted above, you will be able to reduce outside noise in your home to manageable levels.
It’s important to note that the methods highlighted above won’t fully soundproof your home, unlike true soundproofing.
However, you will note significant results.
Meet Mike O’Connor, (a DIY enthusiast), living in Cincinnati, a city ranked as the noisiest in the USA.
As a work from home dad, I have a first hand experience of how noise can truly affect your well being.
Soundproofing isn’t something that should be taken as a hobby, it should be a skill that every homeowner should be equipped with.
Most of the work documented on this blog comes from purely first hand experience, and the products recommended work as indicated.