Blocking Noise in the Home
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Blocking Noise in the Home
I have a room that I'd like to soundproof so outside noises
won't wake my 7 week old baby. Specifically, I have a door
leading to a hallway of 2 other doors...when my neighbors
slam their doors, the sound travels through our door and
creates a loud thud. In addition, the floorboard above the
baby's room makes creaking sounds and we can hear footsteps
upstairs, which also startles the baby. I'm thinking the
insulation isn't quite there and the floorboard needs some
nailing down upstairs? I'd like to soundproof the door and
the ceiling of the baby's room if at all possible, but am
not sure how to go about doing so (i.e. the best and most
economical solution). My husband and I don't have a lot of
handyman skills either...should I start by consulting a
contractor or specialist? Are there quick and easy fixes
that I can purchase from hardware stores and do it myself
instead? We have permission to make changes to the door,
ceiling, and the flooring upstairs.
Any advice, recommendation, or referral is much appreciated.
I know it might not seem this way right now, but I think
the best thing for your baby (and you!) in the long run
might be to not soundproof so s/he learns to sleep through
the noise. A kid who can sleep anywhere is a great asset --
think of the times you'll be in hotels, have friends over,
etc. and not want to be tip-toeing around. Just something
to think about.
Mom of 2 Good Sleepers
This isn't quite what you asked for, but I wonder if you've considered
it? We live
very close to the houses next to us, and have had issues like barking dogs, loud
music, parties and so forth. So I understand where you're coming from.
My son and my husband are sound sleepers, but I am not. Noise bothers me a
whole lot. And the thing that has helped me more than anything has been, not
soundproofing, but white noise. I actually just use an air filter
(hey, two benefits
for the price of one!), and keep it on all night. It blocks out
and I fall asleep and stay asleep much better.
Anyway, something you might consider.
Don't do it!!
Your baby will adapt to sleeping through sounds. If you soundproof the room
s/he won't develop the ability (that we all need) of being able to sleep through
some level of disruption. Some humans sleep less deeply than others, but
designing a disruption-free environment will make it harder, not
easier, for your
child in the future.
Babies are adaptable
Maybe you shouldn't worry about it...kids are tremendous
sleepers (my kids can sleep through pretty much any alarm
clock...not particularly useful when directed at them).
I've never inoculated my children with sound machines or
music and they do fine.
Instead of soundproofing, you might want to go with adding
white noise to the baby's room. There are gadgets you can
get that do exactly that.
White noise rocks!
Your baby will stop startling when he/she gets old enough.
For now if you swaddle your baby these noises won't wake
her/him up. I encourage you to not train your baby to sleep
only in silence because it will make traveling and visiting
friends much harder because your child really won't be able
to sleep unless it's silent. Letting your baby figure out
that external noise is normal while sleeping will help
him/her to sleep better as they get older especially when
the environment changes and there are other ambient noises.
--glad my kid can sleep with some noise
When our daughter was an infant, I nursed her to sleep she slept in our bedroom
which was a little room next to the kitchen. We lived on Hearst street
which is a
rather noisy street. And although we put on some classical or gentle music on
the stereo, we were not especially quiet often talking and rattling pots in the
kitchen as we cooked or washed up etc. The result of this is that our daughter
got used to sleeping in a noisy environment. The same was true for her brother,
six years later when he came along. Now, with a child of her own, her child (my
granddaughter) also sleeps very well in a little room off the kitchen, a noisy
environment. Think of it this way: when you were pregnant you were not in a
totally quiet environment whenever your baby was asleep. So, why worry about
soundproofing her environment now. At seven weeks babies may occasionally be
wakeful for various reasons. They may be teething or having some
disturbance. Learning to sleep through an amount of noise, will be
helpful to her
in her life since most of the places she'll be sleeping in will not be
I have an old craftsman with original thin pane windows from early 1900's. I
have been woken for years between 4am and 5am to the sound of Bart and
freeway traffic, and so want to replace the windows as cost-effectively as
possible to shut out the noise. Would love to hear from others who have done
this successfully. thanks.
I live in El Cerrito about 2 blocks from BART and 4 blocks from the
had my old aluminum windows replaced about 6 years ago with double-paned
Milgard windows. They look SO much better, and the outside noise is reduced,
especially during the winter when the windows are closed. During the summer,
when I tend to keep some windows open, it' s just about as loud as before.
learned to sleep through the traffic sounds, but some nights I just wish
old peace and quiet! (I was thinking about moving at one point, and almost
every open house I went to in Berkeley/Albany/Kensington/El Cerrito, I could
hear the traffic--I almost think it's inescapable!)
I learned some more about this issue recently with a client
in Lafayette, close to the Hwy 24 Freeway. We considered
buying triple-glazed windows, but the research showed that
dual-pane windows would be fine so long as the installation
was really tight and the rest of the wall was
This means that your Craftsman House will be difficult to
retrofit cost-effectively, because it is more than just the
On the house in Lafayette, we also added sound channel to
the walls, which makes them thicker, requiring deeper window
jambs and other compensations.
I would suggest you change to well-installed dual-pane
windows first and see how much that helps. Then if more is
needed take the next step incrementally. - Or - do a major
renovation, getting it right all at once.
I'm renting a new office which has a door w/ inset glass
about 2/3 length. Any experience out there in sound-
proofing. We can hear muffles and would prefer to lessen
the sound. We will put some kind of cloth, etc to cover,
I'm a Marriage Family Therapist and had some issues with
noise when I first moved into my space. You can install a
rubber strip at the base of the door-you can buy this at
Home Depot. Most doors have up to an inch of clearance from
the floor so noise can creep in that way. You can also buy
a white-noise machine to either put in the room with you or
just outside the door. The property manager in my building
actually installed soundproof drywall on the other side of
one of my walls to help stop the sounds I heard from the
office behind me-but that's a pretty expensive project.
Hope this helps-
Hi, my husband has been playing Rock Band in our garage at night
after our child is asleep - it's a great way to blow off steam
for him. Alas, the sound is apparently not staying confined to
the garage, because one of our neighbors (we're not sure which
one) banged on the side of the building one weekend night and
yelled ''IT'S AFTER 10!''
The garage is not insulated or soundproofed. We'd love to be able
to fix it up properly, but as it is for most people these days,
money is an issue. Does anyone know any cheap (and preferably
easy) way to muffle the sound? Thank you!
One word: headphones.
This is not directly related to the soundproofing question, but one
piece of advice I will
give you is to turn down the bass on whatever sound system you are
frequency sound carries extremely well -- and from my point of view
there is almost
nothing in the world more annoying than listening to the ''thump thump
thump'' of a
disembodied bass line, especially if I'm trying to sleep.
My friend is obsessed with RB and also had noise complaints from
his downstairs neighbor. He got an idea of how to muffle the
tapping from youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n4-jH916Rb8
or go to youtube and in the search box enter ''rock band drum mod
He also uses headphones so the music isn't audible to others.
friend of rocker
I don't know, but I urge you to make sure it's safe and legal. It was
soundproofing that caused that horrible fire in the nightclub in Rhode
Island in 2003
that killed 100 people.
You can find used free carpet and pad on Craigslist and that
would offer decent sound insulation.
How about using egg cartons. Over the years I have had many
requests from customers. I understand that it works quiet
effectivly. Some egg cartons and sheetrock can go a long way.
Easiest solution? Headphones. Get 'em wireless if that makes it
more palatable to the guitarist in question.
eggshell foam - the kind you use to top mattresses. Get them free on
craigslist or freecycle and line your walls to absorb the sound. Ugly,
I was wondering if anyone had an experience with Soundproof
Windows company (http://www.soundproofwindows.com). We are thinking
of getting a soundproof window installed in my son's bedroom. I did
some research and found this company. I would like to know if these
windows really work. Thanks.
Of course, the phrase ''Soundproof'' is a misnomer. ''Sound
reduction'' is more accurate.
From looking at soundproofwindows.com, it appears that they
install laminated glass over-windows. Laminated windows are the
type that you have in cars - a sandwich of glass-plastic-glass.
These work fairly well in reducing noise. It looks like these
window-panes are non-openable, although the website doesn't
really say much about this. (This might be architecturally
objectionable, or violate egress building codes - I've not idea)
Their claims are not well presented, but judging from their
website SPL claims, it looks like their windows typically reduce
noise by 12 to 20 db. This is significant, but not fantastic.
If your existing windows are single pane, loose-fitting sashes,
you can probably get nearly this amount of noise reduction by
replacing them with standard double-paned systems which are well
caulked. In any case, replacing window units is seldom cheap!
In short, I have a few yellow flags about this, but can't say
much more without seeing (and hearing) the effects.
We're looking for a contractor who does small soundproofing
jobs. We want to soundproof the wall that separates our sons'
bedrooms, the wall shared by a bedroom and a bathroom, and
possibly our master bedroom that shares a wall with a closet. Ideally, we want to inject
soundproofing material into the
space between the walls from the attic above rather than tear
open a wall. Want to use a material that is not likely to
become moldy/mildewy since one son is very allergic to molds.
Any leads to contractors would be appreciated.
To be blunt, you really can't soundproof those walls without a
huge expense and major remodeling. To blow in soundproofing from
the attic or basement, holes would have to be made in the
structural members, thus compromising the stability of your
house. Even if you did this, the studs in the walls would still
be touching the sheetrock on both sides of the wall, and the
sound would go through that. To properly soundproof, the
sheetrock would have to be removed and some kind of sound barrier
Contacting a contractor that installs insulation may help your
search--as what would likely be installed would be some sort of
''blown-in'' insulation. Keep in mind that total ''sound-proofing''
may not be possible, but filling the walls with insulation would
go a long way to reducing sound transmission between rooms.
Living in SF, we had quite a bit of ''urban'' noise - i.e., street
noise. We used a white noise machine (ocean waves specifically)
with our baby. He's now almost 1 year old, and we no longer live
in such an urban setting. My husband thinks we have to stop the
white noise machine, so he's not addicted. Our pediatrician at
his 9 mos. visit seemed to think using a white noise machine
indefinitely was not a problem. Thoughts?
Stop when your child says he wants it off. I found it very funny that your husband says
he's afraid he'll become addicted to it. What does that mean? I've never heard of a
''white noise junkie.'' My son has had the same music & moving light for six years - he
loves it and now so does his two year old brother. They both go to sleep quickly, sleep
well and stay that way all night. I think this is in part to the safety, similarity &
that they feel in the comfort of their own room with sounds & sights they are used to.
What could be wrong with that???
-Let's see what other BPN-ers think...
I can't see how using a white noise machine can be ''addicting''.
Many adults use one, and I think it definitely can help with a
more restful sleep. I've used one with my 2yo daughter since
she was born; we take it with us when we travel and it helps her
settle down to naps and bedtime in strange places with strange
noises. But she doesn't need it to get to sleep - it's just
part of her familiar routine like a bath and a story. The only
negative aspect I could imagine is that it does mask the normal
household evening noises to some extent, so it a baby
wouldn't ''get used'' to the noises so that they can sleep through
them. But I'm not so sure of this - I think some light sleepers
will wake up to noise regardless of how conditioned they are,
and some babies will just sleep through anything.
Fan of white noise
Our daughter also listened to ocean waves all night long and
during naps. It was a cue for her to know it was time for
sleeping. It was great at blocking out household noises and
was comforting to her. My husband and I often joked that she
would be dependent on the waves forever and what would her
college roommate think? Well, right around her third birthday
she told me out of the blue ''I don't want my waves anymore.''
And that was that. I don't know what triggered her choice. It
was shortly after she had moved into a big girl bed, so maybe
it was related.
I personally feel that it is to your child's great advantage
that he learn to sleep with noise (real noise - not white
noise). We live in such an incredibly noisy environment
generally that learning to sleep with noise makes for an easier
Don't stop! Why rock the boat if it helps your child sleep
better? We have one in each of our children's rooms. We even
have a spare one that we take w/ us when we travel.
White Noise Fan
My husband uses white noise. His theory is that he got used to it
when he was born premature and spent a few months among machines.
He grew up in the country and still used white noise through
childhood (can you imagine choosing the sound of a fan over the
sound of crickets or rain?) As his wife I've gotten used to it
and I only turn it off when there is rain to hear.
On the rare occasion when we are away from home without white
noise, He doesn't seem to have trouble sleeping - he says that's
only been true recently since he turned 30.
I wouldn't worry about it one way or another but if you really
want to wean then just turn the volume down very gradually.
My family and I just bought and moved into what I was certain was
our dream house. However, I am beginning to regret making the
The house is on a busy street. Not MLK or Ashby busy, but still,
a well-used thoroughfare. To compound matters, the house is on a
corner (although there is not a stop sign at this corner,
I guess we didn't really notice (or did not want to notice) when
we did the inspection, but this house does not block out street
noise well at all. All vehicles that drive by can be heard loud
and clear - sounds are barely muffled. I can also hear people's
conversations as they walk by our house. The living room, dining
room, and kitchen are the worst, but street noise even carries to
Also, the living room has almost floor-to-ceiling bay windows,
which I loved when we first saw the house. However, I'm now
uncomfortable being in the living room because I know anyone
driving (or especially, walking - the windows are close to the
sidewalk) by can look in.
I want to fix these issues, but I have no idea how or where to
begin. Two of the bedrooms have double-paned windows, but they
don't seem to make much of a difference, noise-wise, so I'm
worried that if we double-pane all the windows, we'll just be out
of a lot of cash and still unhappy. I've heard of these things
called ''soundproof windows'', which are supposedly special windows
that are fitted over your original windows, but I don't know
anyone who has actually used these; they would be an expensive
experiment. I've thought about hiring an acoustical engineer, but
I don't know of anyone who's ever used their services, and
therefore don't have any referrals.
I'm also at a loss as to what to do regarding increasing privacy.
I don't want to have drapes drawn all day long - I love natural
light. Ironically, big windows was one of the reasons why we
bought this place.
I'm just feeling so badly about all this. I'm already regretting
purchasing this house, and we just moved in! I feel depressed,
and foolish for falling for the staged fantasy of this house,
rather than thinking about what really living here day-to-day
would be like.
Any advice, especially from people in similar situations, would
be much appreciated. Thank you
The first thing I would say is that you will probably become less sensitive to the
noise over time. I have lived on busy streets and corners and what seemed like an
incessant din at first faded from my consciousness as I became acclimated to it.
The other simple thing I would try is gauzy drapes. These provide some privacy but
still let the light in, and will probably look really nice in your lovely bay
windows. At night you can pull heavier drapes over those if you like--helps with
heat loss as well as noise.
Hi Buyer's Remorse:
I wonder if you bought our former house; I can feel your anxiousness. We (naively)
bought our first house on a busy corner in a great neighborhood in North Berkeley,
were it not for being on a busy corner. We were thrilled to be walking distance
to BART, a community garden, a wonderful public school (Jefferson), and some small
shops, not to mention a bus line on the street. I can still remember the sound of
the bus going up and down the
street. After living there a few months, I realized how
sensitive I am to noise, compared to my husband, whose hearing is actually very
poor, so the noise didn't bother him at all. I hated my realtor for not alerting
me to the disadvantages of living on a ''noisy'' and ''busy'' street, esp. with
I did all that I could do to reduce the noise. I changed two bedroom windows to
double paned windows, and added laminated glass on the master bedroom. It helped
dull the noise but the noise was still there. We replaced all the drapes with
miniblinds, so we could have light and privacy. I had the city plant a street
tree, where possible, as a screen. My children were young then and I was very
watchful not to let them walk out.
I could not enjoy myself in the yard as the noise was relentless. Once inside
the house, the children masked much of the noise, but I could never sleep late.
The one thing I did not do, was to put in a forest of tall shrubs with a front
gate of some sort. I would suggest you hire a landscaper for this. Add a water
fountain to the outside/inside of the house. Add some pleasant smelling lavender
oils to the inside (aromotherapy).
Buy some nice wind chimes. Fortunately, when my husband got a new job, shortly
after we remodelled the kitchen with custom kitchen cabinets, we looked and looked
and finally relocated. I have never, ever regretted the move. We barely lasted
two years at that house. While I miss Berkeley, I now live on a quiet street where
I hear birds rather than cars whizzing by. I visit Berkeley often but do not miss
the Berkeley traffic and politics.
Would suggest that you do all you can to bufffer the noise and
if you still hate it, move. Life is too short to spend it in a
noisy house that depresses you.
Use carpet, rugs, drapes or curtains to absorb sound bouncing from hard interior
surfaces. Shades that rise from the bottom of the window UP, not from the top
down, don't need to completely cover the window. The mottled, blurry glass that
is used for bathroom windows? Could you install that on some of the windows? Use
white paper or sheer fabric shades, which allow light through, and at night draw
more opaque curtains in addition to the sheer shades. Another option is a
Japanese- type paper screen to place in front of the largest or most
exposed-feeling windows. For the largest window, or the window facing the
noisiest direction, maybe try the soundproofing windows. For some physical
distance or screening, grow shrubs or vines that block a direct view into your
house. A trellis outside or even trellised houseplant inside might help you feel
more screened from passersby. I think also better insulating your house (more
expensive but helps with heating bills too) is supposed to help. Would a white
noise machine or interior fountain/bubbler help block the noise too?
I used to live on a freeway-type street in SF, and eventually I just got used to
the rattles and noises and retreating conversations.
don't be afraid of your home
We added a second story, which gets a lot more BART noise than downstairs, and
there's a very noticable difference with our double-paned windows open and closed.
So I think going with double-paned may really help your situation. Regarding
privacy, have you thought about the up-down/down-up honeycomb blinds? You can
lower them from the top, so the top half of your windows are exposed and the
bottom half are covered.
They're great for street-level or slightly higher windows because you can block
people's line of sight and create privacy, while still being able to see trees and
sky at the top. We used Budget Blinds to install blinds throughout our house and
love them love the view
We also moved into a house with wonderfully large windows in a neighborhood that
is unbearably noisy. Because I felt so exposed due to the large windows, I bought
horizontally pleated, double cellular shades with the top-down feature. I got Bali
brand. They are fairly expensive but you can find them on the internet about half
price of what you can buy them for at a store. I'm able to lower the shades from
the top, allowing lots of sunshine into the house while still keeping the lower
half of the windows covered. I have privacy, we can see the trees and get plenty
of sunshine plus I've found that the double cells are also good noise insulators
.. especially when they are fully closed. And they keep the house warmer in the
We replaced all the windows in our "dream house" with noise- reducing, double pane
vinyl windows and they have had a significant effect on lessening the noise. Of
course, they work best in the winter when all the windows are closed. In
addition, we insulated the attic with blown in insulation, which also reduces
And to offer you a ray of hope, after two and a half years in this house, I'm
finding that my sensitivity to the noises is lessening. I'm the one that
responded to the request for info about anti-barking devices. Not only does the
next-door dog bark but also there are young adult males across the street who have
huge boom boxes that fill the trunks of their cars. Our windows rattle when they
drive by with stereos blasting. And everyone in the neighborhood has an alarm on
their car and they go off at all hours of the day and night. Its miserable. I used
to wonder how other folks in the neighborhood could stand all the constant noise.
Everyone but us has lived here at least 25 years and the noises just don't bother
them. But just recently I've noticed that, while I still hear all the noises,
they don't cause me to self-destruct like they used to. Its like my nervous
system has grown callouses or something and I can tolerate the auditory assault
better. So, if you can stand it long enough, you may find the noises affect you
less and over time, maybe they won't bother you at all. The human body can adapt
to all sorts of horrors. Belinda
Your post really resonated with me, bcs we live in a similar
house-- on a busy street with big windows facing the street. We have been living
here a couple years now though, and one thing I can tell you is that it simply
doesn't bother me as much as it used to. When we first moved in, I was obsessed
with the issues of noise and privacy, was sure we had bought the wrong house, etc.
Now I think SOME of my reaction was just getting used to a new house,
neighborhood, life, etc., and all the little things loomed very large. However,
that said, I am indeed a very private person and what has helped me is getting
translucent film to put on some of the windows which lets in light, but makes it
impossible to see in. Other windows i do still want to see out of so we are
planning to eventually construct a higher fence between our yard and the street
(having people walk by and look into our house drives me crazy
also-- although other people seem not to mind at all. I think it's a very
individual thing). Previous owners did replace the downstairs kitchen windows with
double-paned glass which does seem to reduce noise quite a bit in our house; maybe
it depends on type. Upstairs in my son's bedroom (facing street) however, there
are original windows and when I lie next to him at night as he falls asleep, I can
also hear conversations on the street. I looked into replacing them but to get a
similar custom-made wooden window was going to be in the thousands of dollars, so
for now we are just living with it. I am thinking that wooden blinds or shutters
would help alot, but so far have not gotten them. Based on my experience, I would
suggest not to rush into a very expensive or irrevocable solution, as you may find
after a bit of time passes, it feels differently to you. Or another solution
noisy street homeowner
I would get new windows - all double-pane with extra thick glass. This will help
some! We live on a corner too, near a school, and often have a lot of kids playing
outside. This has helped a lot to reduce street noise and I no longer hear
conversations out on the sidewalk. They work best to reduce ''steady noises''
like traffic but it is not a cure-all for ''one-off noises'' like dog barking or
Still, that's your first step! New windows in our house (about
18) cost us around $12k. Good luck!
Go for the windows!
For privacy but still letting in some light/view, you can get shades that can go
up and down from the bottom or the top. So you can cover the bottom half of your
bay window if you want, but still let in light in the top half. And you have the
option of covering the entire window. Check out Smith and Noble, which does
custom shades & curtains via the internet:
We live close to the freeway and the minute you step out of our house you hear
freeway noise. All of our windows are double paned, and it does cut out the noise.
But who knows, maybe there's different sound dynamics with our situation versus
being close to the street anon
Wow. I feel like you are telling my story. We bought a house on a very busy
street last year. Once we got moved in we realized how noisy, and dangerous it
was living on our street. We also have large 6X6 windows throughout the house and
the street traffic can see everything we do.
What I did to make the situation liveable was I purchased bamboo shades. (there
are also roman style shades and blinds that do the same thing) You still get light
and can see the views but it makes you less visable to the street. I still don't
change in my bedroom I go to the bathroom for that but I feel like it has
definitley made the situation a lot more bareable and I don't feel like I am
missing out on my view.
As for the noise we purchased a honeywell HEPA air purifier that makes a nice
white noise and that has enabled my family to sleep better. It totally drowns out
the traffic and bus noise fron the street.
Most of all you just need to give it time. It is all new now but you will get
more used to it in the future. I hardly think about it now.
Wish you the best!
Grizzly Peak Blues
I just uploaded a response to your post about decreasing noise levels in your new
home but just thought of something else that might help you. I was an RN for 15
Be sure you are taking adequate amounts of calcium. Calcium will help your nervous
system be less sensitive. If you are not able to reduce the noise levels, with
adequate calcium, the noise may not bother you as much. Calcium has such an effect
that it even raises people's pain threshold. And after all, that's what you're
dealing with; the pain from all the noise is more than you can tolerate. So up
your calcium intake or start taking calcium suppliments if you don't already.
And not all calciums are the same. Take one that offers several sources of calcium
(calcium citrate, calcium malate, calcium
carbonate) plus trace minerals. (I take Nature's Life ''Cal-Mag- Zinc Complex with
trace minerals'') Belinda
I sympathize with your privacy and noise issues. Many of us enjoy living in this
area but are not in love with the housing density! I don't have any suggestions
about noise, but have some ideas about privacy. For the windows, consider sheer
cafe curtains or bottom-up pleated blinds. This allows light to come in from the
top but blocks the street view. You might also consider very sheer fabric panels
(ones that are flat, not
gathered) or rice paper attached directly to the window.
Sometimes you have to test a few fabrics before you get the right balance between
too opaque to see through but sheer enough to provide daylight. I live next to a
large condominium and our bedroom windows look directly into their parking area -
not a pretty or private view. We have sheer fabric panels under the venetian
blinds and they let in plenty of sunlight without giving a view to the neighbors.
Venetian blinds can often be used alone in a more public room - tilted the right
direction they allow light in from the top while blocking the street view. There
are also opaque window films that can be installed - one brand is Gila window
Outside the house you may want to try some privacy landscaping if you have the
space to plant. You don't need to plant a fifteen foot wall of evergreens in
front of your windows. A few well-placed large shrubs or small trees with a
light, open branch structure can do wonders for your feeling of privacy.
Lots of things will grow tall in a year or two in the Bay area. If you're not
already a gardener I'd recommend the Sunset Garden guide for information about
good screening plants, and you can always talk to someone at your local nursery.
You might also want to walk around your neighborhood and look at other houses that
are situated in a non-private way and see if you see any other good ideas.
Hope you find some solutions that work for you - it's hard to feel like you can't
relax in your own home Also crave privacy
We have a simlmiar situation but perhaps not as busy a street.
For us new windows did make a huge difference. Also consider trees/shrubs etc --
evergreens are good as you don't have the bare branches in winter. Trees also seem
to absorb some sound.
Consider an indoor fountain of some sort - may help create a white noise
environment. for drapes we just got these from smith and noble that you can see
out (to see view) but people don't really see in.
also consider posting on home/garden forum to get other info and ideas.
And, dare I say it, consider moving. I mean, we learned so much from this house --
and while we still have sound issues, its very managable. yes, I know it will
cost a bundle but will you ever be able to get the new house to be where you want
it -- and what will that cost? And, one more downer - on our not so busy street in
five years the traffic has increased signficantly -- various reasons I guess but
keep that in mind as well Good luck
I can empathize with you - I really am sorry. We purchased our first place in SF
which we thought was ''perfect''. I think that every house purchase, especially
in the Bay Area, brings on some level of buyer's remorse. I think it is very
common - if not the noise, something else. The first month, the distant street
noise and co-eds hanging out on our street in the evenings really bothered us. In
the evenings/night, I was most sensitive to the ''new noises''. We had a sound
engineer come out which I would recommend. Also, our place is old (1920s), so
another suggestion we received was insulation. We have double-paned windows too.
We bought a sound/white noise machine for our bedroom. Frankly, we grew to love
our place - the other traits that we did and still love about it and have become
more used to the noise, etc.
Of course, I'm not saying that it's just a matter of getting used to - seek out
professionals (sound engineer) - look into insulation, etc. or talk to your
neighbors about how they cope..
I also live on a busy street with a lot of foot traffic, and we have found that
using top/down/bottom/up (I don't know thee official name for this but go anywhere
that sells Hunter Douglas type blinds and they will know what I mean) blinds
provides enough privacy while giving me natural light that I crave. I leave the
blinds situated so that they are in the lower half of the window only; the top
half of the window is open to light. (also, the lighter color of blind you buy,
the more light will be reflected into your house from the part of the window that
is covered by the blind). People walking by may be able to see the top of my
husband's head if they stand in front of the house and look hard, but I figure so
what. I have come to realize that most people walking by don't actually turn
their head and look to see in, they are usually occupied with their
Also, during the day, unless you have lights on inside of the house (or the view
is backlit by another window on the opposite wall), there is a mirror effect such
that our double pane windows reflect/mirror outside light and you can't see inside
the house that well. (this is not the case when lights are on or where there is
another light source) So, if you want to open up the blinds more during the day,
esp. with double pane windows, its likely that people walking by won't be able to
see in that much.
As for noise, yes, new windows will probably help, but they won't completely
eradicate all traffic noise. Its likely that you will just get used to the
background traffic noise once you stop stressing about it. Enjoy your new home,
don't worry, you can make this work!!
Words from the Street
I can't help with noise (other than to suggest a fountain for white noise to mask
it), but we also have a big front window and I don't like the feeling of people
My general suggestion is to allow partial privacy in the day, but go for complete
privacy after dark. I find it easy to see into people's homes when their lights
are on and it is dark out, but when it is light out it is harder, especially if
there's any sort of thing between you and them. So when it is dark I'd go for
Daylight options to allow you some view out and light to come in, but retain your
1- sheer curtains that you can still see through
2- hang a large piece of lace in the window
3- vertical or horizontal blinds adjusted so you get the most view and outsiders
4- blinds that are at the bottom of the window and pull up, so you can have the
bottom half closed and the top open, giving you more of a view and outsiders less.
Sorry I don't know the special name for these
5- plant something outside the window (a vine on a trellis?)
6- hang something (stained glass piece?) it the middle of the window to break up
the view in from outside
To feel more comfortable, test out your option by going out while someone else is
moving around inside and see how much you can really see in.
- want my privacy too
I have not seen any recent posts about recommendations for sound-
proof, or more likely, sound reduction windows. We live near the Oakland airport,
but not close enough to qualify to have them pay for new windows. In any case we
desperately need a company that would install these double (triple?) paned windows
in our bedroom. We are much more concerned with their performance than their
appearance. Please help. Thanks
I recently had my windows replaced by Sinan's in Oakland. They
told me that all of their windows could be coated with some type
of material (I don't remember what) that greatly reduces noise,
even beyond double pane. I would think that most window places
could do that, or you could call Sinan's and ask about it.
Perhaps American Vision Windows could help. I haven't used
them, but they claim to have tripled-paned windows and windows
that reduce noise:
We also have a big sound problem at our home. We have
neighbors who are doing construction during the day (an
addition on their home) and also have two children (12 & 5) who
bicker (often yelling/screaming) outside not far from our
baby's window. As a result, his naps are just going out the
window, which isn't good since he's just 9 mos. old. I did a
lot of internet research, and just settled on ordering a sound
proof window from http://www.soundproofwindows.com/ The people
there were very helpful, and the order takes about 4-5 weeks
because they custom make the window. Ours is still in
production, but should be arriving in 2-3 weeks. If you'd
like, I'll let you know how it works out once it arrives, just
drop me an email and I'll be sure to follow-up with you once
it's installed. In the meantime, good luck, I know how
difficult it can be!
Our house is small and full of people! I feel any conversation I have with my
husband can be heard by my children. I am wondering if a white noise machine or
some CD of rain would work...I am thinking of playing it at bedtime, when the kids
are in bed and we just want to talk. Has anyone tried using the white noise to
create some privacy? crowded house mama
We have used a white noise machine since our baby was about a
month old after watching ''Happiest Baby on the Block''. We
initially used it because newborns seem to respond well to
white noise and it has a bit of a calming effect. Later we
used it for when we have guests or when our baby is having
trouble napping. I looked around at various ones. There is a
pretty affordable one by Homedics for around $30, but I heard
some so-so review on that one. Sharper Image has one with lots
of options (more than we needed) for $80, but that seemed
pricey. We finally decided on the ''Tranquil Moments Sounds for
Babies'' from Brookstone (price was $60). It has sounds
specifically for infants (womb, car driving, heartbeat, a
simple lullabye, ocean and white noise). We used the lullaby
one when he's having trouble sleeping sometimes, but primarily
we use the white noise to just help minimize the disruption of
other noises in the house. It's also great for travelling.
We've used it every day for the past 8 months, and it hasn't
failed us yet. I highly recommend it
We have problems with noise... living on a busy street. We
bought a Honeywell air purifier to try and cut back on dust and
were pleasantly surprised that it doubles as a white noise
maker too! It drowns out all the noise and I can't sleep
without it now. When guests come we put it in the guestroom to
drown out the noise of our baby crying in the night. You can't
hear a thing when it is in the room with you. I would suggest
getting one (or maybe two) and putting it in your children's
room ( I can guarantee that they won't hear a thing) and maybe
put one in your room too. Not only will you have clean air but
you will sleep better and be able to talk freely too. I highly
recommend it. You can purchase the Honeywell HEPA air filter
at OSH and Home Depot. My dad enjoyed it so much after staying
at our house that he went out to buy one. He got a different
brand though and it doesn't make the same noise so he took it
back and got the Honeywell.
Hope that helps
We have the same problem due to an open floor plan w/ loft. We
use a Hepa filter in my son's room to help with noise as well
as his allergies. Ours creates a pleasant sound that blocks the
noise from downstairs, even with his door open. My daughter's
room has a small white noise machine we bought from Target
(HomeMedics is the brand, I think). It has many different sound
options to suit your needs and was under $20.00. We take it w/
us when we travel too
We love our Marpac ''Sleep Mate'' (aka ''Sound Screen''?) It's the only
one we could
find that is a _real_ white noise machine, i.e., a mechanical device,
not just a looped
recording. It's the same kind they use in therapists' offices for
privacy, and it works
much better than the ''nature sounds'' type of machine. They cost about
My daughter has the ears of a bat. Since she was born, we've
used some kind of white noise device in her room to keep her from
waking up every time we opened a drawer on the other side of the
house. First, we used a humidifier but that got, well, too damp.
For the last 3 years we've used a nifty little travel white noise
machine from Sharper Image. And, yes, it also travels with us to
drown out hotel noise and the like. It has 20 ''sounds'' in case
you get sick of one. She now likes to make a ritual of choosing
her sound before bedtime. We're big fans:
Yes, a white noise machine is a wonderful thing, no matter how
big or small your house is. We've been using ours for two years
straight, every single day. We even take it with us when we
travel. We got it at first because we were in a one-bedroom with
a baby, and she seemed to respond to the ''womb-like'' sound for
sleeping. Now we are in a bigger house, but still turn it on
whenever she's asleep - naps or nighttime. We're all quite
attached to it (*I* sleep better with it on!).
It is not a magic bullet; a loud, sudden noise might still wake
her up. But it's nice to be able to talk in normal voices in
another room when you have that precious adults-only hour between
your kid's and yours.
Lots of the white-noise machines on the market are made by
Marpac. Ours is one of their smaller models, a bit pricey at $75
or so, but so worth it.
I need a white noise machine (or ''sound conditioner'') for my
toddler's bedroom and I'm wondering if anyone can recommend one
and tell me where to get it. I'd prefer one with ocean noises and
that sort of thing, but I wouldn't mind just a basic machine (I'm
not sure how much they cost).
I've tried static on the radio, but it's too inconsistent and
harsh, and I don't have a portable CD player, so I can't use a CD.
Hi -- We use the HoMedics SoundSpa Acoustic Relaxation Machine
(a big title for a simple sound machine), which is advertised
for $12.99 at Drugstore.com. It sounds a little electronic,
but it has a number of sounds, including a heartbeat. We have
turned on the ocean waves sound whenever we put our daughter to
sleep (or back to sleep in the middle of the night) since she
was about 9 months old (she's now 22 months), and I think it
relaxes her and drowns out ambient noise that might distract
her. Best of luck
The sound machine I use is from HoMedics, and it works great. It
has six different sound settings, from waterfalls, to spring
rains, to white noise. I just found them on ebay for as little
as $16; normally I think they're about $35. The really nice ones
from Hammacher and Schlemmer are around $65, but only have white
noise. Good luck and Happy Sleeping!
I have one from Target that was only about $10 and is great. It
shuts off automatically if you want and has about 6 sounds
(including ocean, rain and crickets) and uses very little
battery power. It's also small. It puts my toddler (and the
rest of us) fast asleep in no time. I think it is Target's own
brand and came in a small red box. I had one from Sharper
Image that was expensive ($50+), sucked batteries dry weekly
and broke in a matter of months. The sound quality was better
than Target but it wasn't worth the extra $$.
They have very nice ones at the Sharper Image called ''Sound
Soother''. I think they run about $100 though. You could
probably try e-bay for a used one.
One in-home child care provider used a fan, plain and simple. The kids
always slept really well. I don't know what a white noise machine is
exactly, but a fan is useful in hot weather too.
mom of light sleeper
I have one I've used for myself for years. It has a variety of
sounds (I prefer ''summer nights'' with chirping crickets)and has
never broken. Conair is the manufacturer and I purchased it at
We bought a white noise machine (the Homedics Sound Spa) for our baby at
Target about a year ago and
now none of us can sleep without it! It cost about $15
and has about 6 different sound options (summer night, white noise, river, etc).
I bought a white noise machine at Rockridge Kids. I don't
remember the brand name, but it was the only one that they
carried at the time, which was maybe two years ago. It has ocean
wave sounds as well as several others, but we only ever use that
one. It helps drown out other noise very well.
The Sharper Image sells these (they run around $100) in their
store--they are called ''sound soothers''. They have a web-site
if you can't make it into a retail outlet:
Also recommended: Air Filters & Purifiers (1)
Has anyone tried any of the white noise machines on the market?
What were the pros and cons? What's a good one and where can it
be purchased? Right now the baby uses a loud ceiling fan.
However, as it gets cooler we're not going to want that air
We never did go in for one of the machines, but what worked
pretty well for us was to put a radio in the baby's room and
set it on a non-station (i.e., static), at pretty high volume.
There are also white-noise CDs you can buy.
I did not actually buy it, but I remember seeing one at Target.
It had several different ''noises'' (ocean, rain, white noise) and
it was under $20. They also have a similar CD there if you have
a CD player.
We've been using our Sleepmate white noise machine in our son's
room for the past 3 years. It's great.
We have a '' HoMedics - EnviraScape Sound Spa, Model # SS-200. It
works wonders. Our daughter loves the sound of water and we used
to run water to sooth her (not a good idea). This machine has six
different sounds: heartbeat, mountain streams. ocean waves, white
noise, summer nights and spring rain. “Mountain streams” does the
trick for her. It can be plugged or battery operated. It has
volume control and a timer. We got it at target. I cannot
remember the price exactly but it is between $15 and $20.
We've ordered two from Hammacher Schlemmer (www.hammacher.com)
and they've worked for many years. Our daughter has dropped one
of them a few times and it still works no prob.
I am looking for some type of product that will create ''white
noise'' in my baby's room in hopes to block out noise and help
her sleep. We bought a warm mist humidifier; it makes a humming
noise and that works great, but I don't like to leave it on
throughout the night for safety reasons. I was thinking about
buying an air purifier for this purpose. Would appreciate any
ideas of what you use.
I'm not sure if Costco still has it, but a few months ago they
were selling a ''nature sounds'' clock radio, about $70. Or how
about just tuning a radio to some static?
In regards to the white noise rec.:
You can create a white-noise generator using a radio set to
static. My husband and I live on a busy street, and found this
to work better than any commercial sound machines. Ideally, use
a radio with tone controls, and turn the treble down and the
bass up. Set the radio to static; we tune to the bottom of the
FM dial. The low frequency white noise is great for masking
traffic and other engine type noise (lawnmowers, etc).
I know you can buy white noise makers that imitate noise in the
womb (just do an online search) but what I have found to work is
putting on the radio, and turning the dial all the way to the
left and letting the static be the white noise. I suppose you
don't have to turn the dial all the way to the left, but I have
found that static to be more consistent (!).
When this was an issue for us, we always used an electric fan,
the large kind that fits in a window. You can get them cheaply
at places like Longs Drugs. You can get white noise machines,
very expensive, at places like the Leading Edge, but the one I
tried out wasn't loud enough to block out much. You can also
get white noise CDs -- I got a really good one (''Gentle Breeze'')
by ordering from this site:
Try the white noise sounds and soother from Sharper Image. It
was given to me by a friend at a baby shower and was truly the
best gift I was ever given! I do think it is rather pricey
though, but I feel it would be worth the money.
We have used it since birth for our daughter and she is now 13
months old and we continue to use it. It has various settings
such as heartbeat ( for newborns )and our favorite is the brook
.or rain setting. It lulls her to sleep and drowns out any
outside noise as is our house is rather small.
It is also portable and we bring it on any trips we have and it
provides a somewhat familiar atmosphere for our daughter when we
are in a foreign setting.........
Instead of buying ''products'' I think it's much easier just to
buy CDs with the kind of sounds you're looking for. Get a
small, portable (and cheap) cd/casset player for your kid's room
and it will much more useful as you can play fun sing-a-long
music during the day, stories, etc. and then soothing sounds at
night such as rain and ocean sound recordings. I think I've even
seen them at Target at one of those displays where you can hear
selections before you buy the CD. I was also just reading about
a CD called ''For Crying Out Loud.'' It has recordings of blow
dryers, vacum cleaners, rain, and other noises that work to
soothe babies. Someone told me you might be able to get it at
Toys R Us or Rockridge Kids. A mother in my Mom's group said her
husband burned a CD of the blow dryer that they play over and
over for their baby. When we want to have something going for
longer than the length of the CD (you mention having something
go all night) we turn on the radio and find some static, which
also does the trick.
We bought one of those things that has a selection of sounds -
white noise, ocean, brook, rain forest, etc. - even a heartbeat
sound. I think we got it at Sharper Image, so it probably wasn't
cheap, but it was great! We used it every night and for naps.
You can play it continuously or on a timer. Our daughter was very
colicky and we went through hell trying to get her (and us) to
sleep. I can't swear that this was the answer, but we believe it
helped - and it was relaxing for us to hear as well. We also
took it with us when we went away, and think it helped when she
had to sleep in a strange place. Now that she's older, we play
familiar lullabyes for the same purpose instead of the white
noise, but we haven't gotten rid of it, because younever know
when you may want to listen to the sounds of the waves!
A cheaper answer: Tape record the sound of a hairdryer or
Instead of a humidifier or air purifier, you may want to
consider a product designed specifically to create white noise.
There are several such commercial products (Sharper Image,
Brookstone...) and even some specifically for babies (I think
it's Fisher Price that makes an aquarium white noise machine for
cribs). We got ours cheap by buying it on Ebay. As an
alternative, I've heard of people making their own audiotapes of
things like vacuum cleaners, fans, refrigerators, etc. and
playing them at bedtime.
For my daughter, who is now three, we use this wave sounds cd,
which we found at target. There is no synthesizing or other
weird sounds, just waves - it's actually quite pleasant, but
prepare yourself for possible dependancy on this technique. My
daughter can't really sleep through the night with out her waves
going, but, it does work like a charm. The only one we've found
that's just pure waves is at target in their little life sounds
section. good luck!
In desperation one night I used our popcorn popper (the hot air
variety). It worked like a charm!!
We bought a white noise machine from earplugstore.com. It
works very well. It just makes a whooshing sound which you can
A recording of ocean waves (mine has gulls in the background as
well) makes for very soothing white noise.
Also recommended: Air Filters & Purifiers (3)
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