Top 6 Great Tips on How to Reduce Traffic Noise in Apartment

Noise - you can’t get away from it in modern cities these days. Explore the tips on how to reduce traffic noise in apartment.

How to reduce traffic noise in an appartment

we are all aware of the kind of noise that is surrounding us in the neighborhood. Be it squealing garbage trucks, children screaming, blaring horns of cars or the neighbor getting a bit frisky on the other side of the wall, we don’t accept it all. We are not used to such kind of unwanted noise. But the truth is that for many apartment dwellers and residents of the cities, this unwanted and disturbing noise became part of their life.

Now the question arises, how to reduce traffic noise in an appartment?

Well, there are various noise dampening strategies that can almost mute these urban interferences and it is very easier to implement than we can think of. These soundproofing techniques are not so expensive.

For many apartment dwellers, neighbors are the major ear bugs and there are few brainstormed ideas on the internet for soundproofing of the apartment. It is more than just laying a rug on the floor or placing a bookshelf against the wall. There is more to it than what some people think. Soundproofing is a more complex process and it is a completely professional thing. There is a lot of difference in soundproofing and sound absorption. It is soundproofing which eliminates all the gaps from where the noise is transferring.

Hence, soundproofing is the way to prevent the noise from traveling from the streets to the apartment through windows or between the two apartments.

Is Noise Pollution the Next Big Thing?

Whenever the unpleasant sounds accumulate around us, it makes it noise pollution. This can be unwanted noise from the heavy traffic on the road or neighbor next door. While it is of not much concern to us, but yet it can threaten our health and disrupt the quality of life.

There are various impacts of the traffic noise on our health.

Physiological Effects

A most common physiological attribute associated with unwanted noise is an annoyance. For some, even the mouth sound from the other people can be disturbing sound. Traffic noise is much louder than the mouth sound. Imagine you are preparing for your exams and you hear a lot of traffic noise, will you be able to concentrate? Noises can often disturb your mind. It leads to annoyance, distraction, depression, and agitation.

The mental state of mind is seriously affected when you are continuously exposed to excessive noise.

Hearing Impairment


how to reduce traffic noise in apartment

When there is exposure to loud sounds or sounds which are above 85 decibels, this can lead to partial or complete loss of hearing capability. We are not able to judge the decibel level, but we can judge the loud sound for sure. Example, people addicted to loud metal sound can dysfunction their hearing capability. But the truth is people are not used to loud sound, but they are getting deaf.

Disruption in Sleeping Patterns

Construction sound down the street or the squeaky sound of land mowers can interrupt your sleep. These regular noises of the traffic or neighborhood can disrupt the sleep and keep us awake for most of the time.

It affects the blood pressure and heart rate, which is the obvious reason for not getting proper sleep which eventually leads to stressful lives.

Myths Associated with Soundproofing 

   Echoing apartment needs soundproofing 

It is not necessary that an empty and echoing apartment needs soundproofing. Soundproofing has nothing to do with the bouncing back of the sound. Instead, sound absorption is the fix for it. You can have a lot of soft furnishings which create an acoustically comfortable apartment. It is important to keep one thing in mind that sound absorption does not reduce the traffic noise in apartment.

How to reduce traffic noise in apartment

Acoustic panels are not the only solution

Simply placing acoustic panels on the wall will provide very little soundproofing solution. Though the panels would develop a very quiet internal environment in the apartment, it won’t stop the outside noise from entering.

  1. Placing a lot of soft furnishings in the room  ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

There are few articles claiming that placing a lot of pillows above the bed leads to lesser outside noise. It is a myth as soft furnishings are responsible for sound absorption and no soundproofing. No matter, how much sound absorption mechanism you place in the room, outside noise cannot be stopped without rectifying structural defaults.

 Bookshelves do the trick

Bookshelves look good and that is what they are meant to. Soundproofing has no relation with the bookshelves.

how to reduce traffic noise in apartment

Tips on How to Reduce Traffic Noise in Apartment.

Cover the Walls:

Though it is stylish to add wood and glass surfaces to the interior, these materials have an unnatural ability to amplify the noise. Using soft surfaces like cotton or foam is a much better solution as sound absorbers. We know that they don’t add value to the décor. Alternatively, decorative fabrics, art pieces or greenery on the scanty surfaces is more stylish options. It could include the art paintings, wall tiles or adding a living wall. The sound absorbing capability of the material varies as they can absorb low pitch or high pitch sounds. 

Well-chosen Drapes and Rugs

Adding rugs or curtains is not the just matter of décor of your apartment. But the fabric helps in absorbing the sound from the hallway or the neighbors upstairs. It also prevents the bouncing back of sound in your apartment. If you are the one who is not so comfortable with the rugs, then, you can go for suspended baffles which is a great way for soundproofing. Since rugs and curtains help in reducing the noise and absorbing the echo, the thicker the fabric much better is the result.

Seal your Doors and Windows

One of the major sources of noise entering the apartment is through windows and doors. There are gaps around the edges which allow the noise to resonate and it also enters through the surface of the core. Apartment doors are usually hollow allowing the noise to pass through it. You should replace the hollow one with a solid door. If not, then the best solution is to get the acoustic solution done.

How to reduce traffic noise in apartment

 It is a process of filling the gaps near the edges of the doors. Gaps under the doors are also the leading way for the noise to leak. You can use the door guard for this. Anywhere where light can leak is the way for the noise to enter.

Insulate the Walls

If you are planning renovation in the near future, then you can get insulation packed between the walls, which can limit the traffic noise to a great extent. Some of the old constructions do have thick walls, which prevent the transfer of noise. 

Adding Window Inserts

If you don’t want thick curtains on the window and want a clear view from the apartment, then try using inserts. These are clear panes of glass or acrylic which are placed over the existing window and sealed on the edges. It can reduce traffic noise in apartment.

Soundproofing Windows

Acoustic curtains are the solution to soundproof the apartment and prevent the unwanted noise to hamper your beauty sleep. It is placed flat against the wall or the window to block the outside noise and actually bounce it back.

Process of Sound Proofing

For proper soundproofing, there are three principles to be followed:

  • Mass

  • Absorption

  • Decoupling

By adding mass to the walls, using absorptive materials between the walls and isolating the wall itself from the structure, can lead to better soundproofing of the apartment.

Here we would not go into the details of soundproofing as it is a complex and expensive work.

There are some quick and temporary fixes for the noise. Probably the cheapest way is using the earbuds. Complete silence is not possible with them, but still, they work quite efficiently. Another way is to talk with your neighbours if they are keeping you up late in the night.

Technology has advanced and there are white noise machines which transmit broadband noise signals in the background which drown out all other noises from outside. It is quite efficient for night sleep. These machines mask the effect of non-disruptive noises and divert your mind.


Complete soundproofing of the apartment is a massive work. It requires time and money. If you are a renter, then quick fixes are the best way to reduce traffic noise in the apartment. If you have a scope, then easy and do-it-yourself fixes can work for you. If not, then don’t forget the principles of soundproofing – density and decoupling.

Leave a Comment