When you live with noisy neighbors or someone who loves the bass, it’s going to be difficult for you. Bass is not like other noise because bass doesn’t depend only upon the volume of the sound, as it has a vibrational element to it. This means that the bass noise can travel through shared walls.
Bass is a major cause of noise pollution. Its effects can be amplified multiple times if you happen to be in an urban area, and who knows, you are already suffering from the adverse effects. This is a severe health hazard for our ears in the long term and our mental health.
It isn’t always necessary to quarrel with your neighbors to reduce the bass. You can always handle things from your side to an extent to prevent bass noise from reaching your home. In this article, we’ll be discussing some of the best DIY methods to reduce bass noise from neighbors. The list is specially curated for maximum cost-effectiveness and minimum capital investment.
9 Ways to Reduce Bass Noise from Neighbors
Before we dive deep into how to minimize bass noise from external sources or prevent it from ever reaching you inside your home, we have to understand why bass causes problems for others as it does. Simply put, the bass has a physical component to the sound. The vibrational part of the sound is often an integral part of the hearing process. Even deaf people can feel bass, and being more than mere sound, usual soundproofing techniques won’t suffice to keep them out of your room.
If you are soundproofing your home to stop high-frequency bass noise, your best bet is to add more mass to the walls. Adding more mass with high-density materials like MLVs, fiberglass, etc., increases the absorption and attenuation rate of the sound passing through the walls. Adding more mass can even get rid of bass, so our optimum soundproofing methods can include mass-intensive solutions.
Lower frequency bass noises are tricky. They can travel through walls, and brick and concrete, without much attenuation and can cause structural noise that can feel like tremors through your walls, ceiling, floors, etc. You must have felt the tremors in your room when a heavy truck passed through the neighborhood.
When we plan to soundproof our homes to block out bass noise, it is essential to know what type of noise is reaching your home and plan accordingly. So, here are some of the best ways to remove bass noise from external sources.
Tell Your Neighbors
The obvious answer is; however, the level of soundproofing required changes according to the level of noise produced. Effective soundproofing options are expensive and take time and effort to master. You could always call up your neighbors and ask them to turn the volume down.
The key is never to provoke them or sound harsh. Talk politely and be respectful of others as it will be reciprocated.
It is better if you both agree and agree on how to deal with the issue. If both parties opt for soundproofing their rooms, it can go a long way in reducing the noise. Alternatively, both parties can come up with a schedule outlining the times they can play their bass-heavy music (most probably when you are not at home).
Try Building Rooms Inside Rooms
We have already established the vibrational component of bass noise and the problems caused by it. If the wall under scrutiny is a shared wall with your neighbor, the most logical and practical solution is to add another wall on your side of the room. Make sure that both walls are not in contact with each other.
The goal here is to separate both walls so that vibrations don’t pass through both of them. The vibration, in such cases, tends to dissipate within the space between the walls and dampen bass coming through a wall. However, building a small room inside a room is a big and capital-intensive program. If, at any point, you feel overwhelmed, it is better to seek guidance from professionals.
The window is one of the most weakened areas in terms of the level of soundproofing it provides. This can be solved by adding soundproofing curtains for your windows. Soundproofing curtains are special curtains that stop bass noise from entering your home. Most soundproofing curtains have an STC of above 26 and are considered ideal for small levels of soundproofing.
Soundproofing curtains are much bulkier and denser than regular curtains. They tend to cling to the walls due to their special making and extend beyond the walls’ borders to block incoming sound waves from the edges of the window. Soundproofing curtains are available in different designs and can be chosen according to the required aesthetic appeal.
Remove All Cracks and Gaps
Often overlooked, maybe the reason for the neighbor’s sound coming into your home might be cracks and gaps in the windows and doors of your home through which sound can easily pass through. It is very important that before you implement any expensive soundproofing solution at your home, make sure to close all such gaps with seals or weatherstrips.
Weatherstrips are very good at sealing such gaps and can be used without much professional expertise. You can also add thick and heavy blankets onto the walls or doors to absorb a large amount of sound coming through them.
You can also make use of door sweeps and makeshift fiberglass window concealers. Door sweeps can be mounted on the doors easily, and it seals the gap between the floor and the door of a room. Door sweeps also have soundproofing abilities and prevent insects from entering the room.
Unwanted bass noise coming through the walls can be effectively reduced or stopped completely using bass traps. Bass traps are often used in professional studios to prevent reverberation and help to dampen the sound inside the room. These can be of different shapes and sizes and can be mounted on the wall using adhesive or nails.
The low-frequency noises often have their point of maximum/minimum pressure in the corner of the room. Therefore, mounting bass traps in the corner of the room is very efficient.
Soundproofing the Walls
If you have enough budget and time to spend, you can always soundproof your walls to eliminate the bass noise. For a better experience, it is recommended to soundproof the entire room and add sound-dampening features.
One can pursue multiple methods to soundproof the walls, including Mass Loaded Vinyls, fiberglass, soundproofing paint, drywalls, acoustic panels, etc. The installation costs of each material can vary, and the level of soundproofing offered by each material also differs from one another.
It is important to properly consider the level of soundproofing you want to achieve in your room and then plan accordingly. Sound Transmission Class (STC) is a rating used to represent the soundproofing of a room with numbers. Make sure to check the STC rating of each material and solution and then proceed with the installation.
Soundproofing the Floor
Soundproofing the floor of a room is just as important as soundproofing the walls, as bass noise tends to travel through floors all the same. But, it is easier said than done. We have far fewer options to stop bass from traveling through the floor when compared to soundproofing the walls.
One thing you can do is to install thick rugs on the floor of your room. These can add to the aesthetics of the home and provide sound-absorbing qualities. You can also opt for a soundproof floor underlayment to have a higher efficiency level in preventing both high and low frequency bass noise.
Green Glue Compound can be applied on existing floors and is a great add-on to the existing soundproofing solution. It can compound the level of soundproofing and can be directly added to the floors.
If you don’t have enough resources to soundproof the entire room, you can play white noise and drown out the existing bass noise. White noise can drown out even low-frequency bass noise. This is because the white noise contains sound from all frequencies detectable by humans and thus can cancel out with others in the range.
The only drawback of the white noise machine is that it doesn’t do anything about the vibrational aspect of the bass noise. Several white noise machines are available at a low price and can play ambient sounds. This can also be an alternative and a lifestyle choice for many as it can easily drown out noisy neighbors.
Noise Cancelling Headphones
This is a very cost-effective alternative to the other construction projects suggested above. Noise-canceling headphones are amazing devices that can block out enough noise when you want it and can help you focus on the task at hand. You can use them for sleeping without having to worry about the noisy neighbors on the other side of the wall.
Noise-canceling headphones can eliminate background noises and can boost your productivity due to the lack of distractions. An alternative to noise-canceling headphones is earmuffs. These products can ensure that you won’t be disturbed by the bass-heavy music played at the neighbor’s party.
Bass noise can get very tricky to deal with, and conventional soundproofing techniques are not guaranteed to solve 100% of the problem. It can cause potential health risks and deterioration of one’s mental health. It is imperative to take action against such noises if you are affected by them in any way.
This article has discussed some of the best ways to stop bass noise from external sources. Keep in mind that the solutions mentioned above are not standalone and don’t guarantee soundproofing properties all by themselves. You may have to mix it up and choose one or more solutions so that one complements the other.