Last Updated: August 5, 2022
It’s an awful feeling.
Struggling to stay calm while unwanted sound waves steal your chance at a good night's sleep. Sometimes, a neighbor amplifies the stereo; other times, it's a loud pump or a construction site.
Regardless of the source, it’s always a nuisance!
The solution? Learn how to block out low frequency noise.
Like most challenging situations, it’s easier said than done. Low frequency sounds, alternatively called bass, are annoying and obstinate – almost unstoppable.
But I've got affordable solutions hidden within this article. Keep reading.
What Does Low-Frequency Noise Mean?
Low frequency noises are sound waves that cover 10HZ to 200Hz.
Since it's a low-pitched sound, the bass is mainly felt rather than heard. Hence, it’s one of the most infuriating noise pollutions, especially to sensitive people.
Sound waves can't travel in empty spaces or vacuum because it needs a medium. It also needs energy to travel far. However, the farther it goes, the more its energy dissipates.
That’s why sound waves can't travel forever. However, low frequency sound waves travel longer than high frequency sounds because they expend less energy in the course of transmission.
Bass sounds penetrate through thick solid materials because it causes minimum vibration while traveling. As a result, bass frequencies aren’t easily controllable. It can permeate through a blockade, including walls, unless there is a thick barrier to stop its assault.
Before you conclude how to block low frequency sound waves, I’d suggest that you identify the source.
Common Sources Of Low Frequency Noise
You may come to a deadlock trying to trace bass sound because It could travel from a long distance. Controlling sounds from an unknown source is nerve-wracking. In urban areas, untraceable noises come from construction sites, pumps, electrical installations, boilers, and similar noise pollutants.
Bass noise assaults your house through windows, wall cracks, roofs, or doors.
Here are tips to help you ride out infernal sound waves:
How To Block Low Frequency Waves
After trying to pinpoint the source of the sound, try these low frequency noise cancellation solutions:
1. Consider Mass-Loaded Vinyl
This soundproof option is suitable for people who are on a tight budget.
If you can't afford to reconstruct your house or affected rooms, then a thin layer of Mass loaded vinyl is a valid option. You can either coat an existing wall with mass-loaded vinyl or build an extra barrier.
These two solutions will compound your wall or ceiling mass and help reduce bass sounds in your house. However, a mass-loaded vinyl isn't entirely a soundproofing agent. Instead, it’s used specifically for sound absorption to promote noise reduction and wouldn’t eradicate it.
You can use this sound absorption tool anywhere in your house, including the floor and ceiling.
SoundProof Tip: Using vinyl as a sound absorption material is great, especially on wooden floors! Read our post relevant to this tip to learn more -- How To Make Heels Quieter: 9 Practical Fixes To Walk Silent.
2. Use Fiberglass Insulation
Here’s the deal with fiberglass installation.
It’s a lot of investment. But you’d never have to endure the annoying bass frequencies anymore. Hence, the question is, how bad do you want to invest in blocking low frequency sound?
Consider installing fiberglass if you want it badly enough to reconstruct your house walls.
The noise reaction coefficient (NRC) measures the value of sound a material absorbs. NRC ranges from 0 to 1, and acoustic fiberglass sound reduction value falls between 0.9 to 0.95.
Although this indicates it's not 100%, it’s a remarkable sound reduction.
Fiberglass is effective because of its materials. It consists of massive glass particles, including loose-fill, rigid boards, and blanket types.
This soundproof material conducts thermal isolation. Hence, It also stops the transfer of heat and cold, maintaining your room temperature.
Most importantly, it impedes the transfer of sound waves. So, in the long run, fiberglass is the best of two worlds!
You can enjoy controlled temperature within your house and less intrusive noise.
Fiberglass insulation is often used on wall exteriors. But professionals have suggested installing it in the interior, especially in your living room, study, rooms, etc.
3. Double Your Drywall
Do you have a neighbor who is a Disc Jockey? You probably need a lasting solution, better than burying your head in your pillows.
Doubling your drywall is a soundproofing technique.
Drywall, alternatively called gypsum board, is made of gypsum core and fiberglass mat or heavy paper. Doubling this drywall provides a denser and thicker material that tames low frequency waves.
This cost-effective solution to bass sounds can be used for ceilings and walls. I have an affinity for this option for some reasons.
Firstly, it's flexible. Unlike most wall panel options that require a week of installation, drywall takes one to two days. It also dampens sounds: it's more resilient and hinders sound transmission.
For instance, a type X drywall board can resist fire for about 1 hour. Moreover, it doesn't spread the fire. Another benefit of drywall is its cost-effectiveness. Since the material is common, it's a reasonably priced wall application.
4. Room Within A Room
Do you own a recording studio? Or better still, are you an audiophile that enjoys loud and crisp music?
Then, room within room soundproofing can help avoid disturbing your neighbors'.
Moreover, you wouldn't want the noise to tamper with your songs.
The "room within a room" literally means building a room within another for a specific reason.
While it sounds complicated, it’s not rocket science. Follow these steps to reconstruct a soundproofed room in an already existing room:
Decouple The Wall
Before you take any other step, decouple your wall. Build another wall. Leave a few inches of space between the preexisting fence and the new one. Make it thick for better isolation of low frequencies.
Use Floating Ceiling
Taking a step further in decoupling, install a floating ceiling to isolate the room further. Add new joists a few inches from the former ceiling.
You can insulate a room with several materials. However, be careful not to use too many materials, or you will experience dry air in the insulated room.
Insulation materials range from fiberglass to foam to cellulose. Fiberglass insulation, also called pink insulation, is quite common.
Installing drywall to seal your decoupled walls and ceiling is one of the final steps in soundproofing a room within a room. Like I said earlier, thick drywall reassures you of a complete, sound-tight room.
Fill Air Gaps
You may think small cracks in the wall makes no difference, but you can't be more mistaken! First, seal off any cracks or holes with acoustical caulk, foam gaskets, etc.
Use A Solid Door
Use a solid core door to finalize your soundproof process. A flimsy excuse for a door will only allow bass sounds to travel in and out.
Moreover, use a complete door soundproofing kit to insulate door cracks for better sound absorption.
5. Hang Soundproof Curtains
Blocking bass sound with soundproof curtains is also a thing.
You can expel bass waves from your house by hanging the curtains on your window and doors. Such curtains aren't like the usual ones.
The curtains have sound-absorbing materials that make them thicker than regular curtains. Soundproof curtains block out light and offer thermal insulation.
Although it provides shades, it might not be a convenient option for people who love having excess light in a room.
The curtain has the least installation time of all the other soundproof options on this list. Hanging a curtain takes about 15 to 20 minutes.
The extent to which this curtain absorbs depends on the thickness and width.
So, for instance, to cover your window efficiently, you should ensure it covers the entire window with excess to cover the space around it. And keep soundproof curtains close to the ceiling, leaving no chance for sound waves.
However, I wouldn't pick this as a first choice in blocking bass sound waves. Although It’s a reasonably effective solution, it works better for high frequency sound waves.
6. Use SoundProof Blanket
A sound blanket is another option with a short installation time. Most people use blankets to prevent traffic noise or other annoying noise in home studios and music studios.
You can use a soundproof blanket alongside another soundproof blanket.
The two main types of soundproof blankets are quilted and non-quilted. To deal with the more resilient low frequency noise, you need the quilted and thick types. On the flip side, non-quilted blankets keep high frequency noise out.
7. Make A Window Plug
Your window is a weak spot when it comes to noise. It accommodates all kinds of noise.
Although soundproofing your window might not necessarily solve all your noise problems, it would make a difference. And when combined with other solutions, you’ll rid your house of bass sounds for good.
So, what is the best way to soundproof your window? I suggest a window plug.
The best part? You can build this yourself! You’ll need the following materials for your DIY window plug:
- Acoustic foam
- Mass Loaded Vinyl
- Green glue
- Take all necessary measurements. Depth, width, and height of the window. Leave about 2 inches or more between the window pane and plug. Also, add 1 inch on the side for a firm hold on the window frame. Consider this measurement when constructing the backboard
- Decide if you want your window plug to have a lip that fits flush with the wall or fits fully into the window
- Spread out your medium-density fiberboard (MDF), so you can measure the pieces.
- Cut out the Mass loaded vinyl. Ensure it’s the same size as the backboard.
- Attach it with green glue or any other bonding material
- Cut out the exact measurement of acoustic foam and glue it down. Be sure to leave out space on the edge for the sidebar
- Attach the sidebars and nail them in for extra security. It should fit the window frame depth perfectly
- Fix handles to the back, and you are game.
Window plug blocks bass frequencies by adding more mass to the window and providing sound dampening solutions.
The small space between the window pane and plug produces dead air that keeps sound waves trapped.
8. Seal Every Crack and Gap
Cracks in the wall and tiny gaps around your house can become a channel for sound waves. Like heat, the high or low-frequency sound penetrates any little space.
Use acoustic caulk or weatherstripping for wall and window cracks.
Acoustical caulk is a tiptop sealant because it transforms sound vibrations into heat energy. The difference between acoustic caulk and regular caulk is that the former is more elastic than the latter. So, it adapts as the building shifts or changes over time.
Weatherstripping is primarily for thermal insulation. But it also helps in soundproofing.
These two soundproofing tools may not be solid enough to stand alone, but they are definite solutions to bass sound waves when paired with other soundproofing options.
9. Install Bass Traps
You may try to block low-frequency waves for different reasons, such as to keep them out or in.
A bass trap is a solution to dampen bass sounds by reducing the reverberation. Hence, keeping it within a room. So, this is suitable if you would love to avoid constituting a nuisance to neighbors.
Additionally, it’s a perfect solution for anyone with a noisy flatmate. Bass traps paired with soundproof curtains make it easy to work in an adjoined room even if your flatmate blasts loud music daily. But, it’s different from the unique acoustic foam.
Bass traps are uniquely crafted acoustic foam structured to antagonize bass noise.
And if you’d love to invest in this soundproof option, you should know that it’s designed to sit in the corner of the room. So, get 4 different bass traps and place them in the corners of your room.
10. Isolate The Noisy Appliance
If the noise is from an appliance within your reach, an isolation box could come to your rescue.
Although it serves as an acoustic treatment for home recording, it works as a soundproof for small appliances. Since most isolation boxes provide up to 30 dB of noise reduction, you can rely on them! It will help dampen bass frequency.
This only works best for small noisy appliances because of its size.
SoundProof Tip: This tip works excellently to muffle loud sounds from small appliances like this one from a post we published. Tell us what you think afterward -- How To Silence A Microwave: 10 Pro Tips And Hints To Do.
11. Technological Options
While deciding how to block out low frequency noise, don’t limit your options to soundproofing with different materials. Instead, consider innovative tech solutions that block out white noise or bass.
Some of the available options include:
- Black noise machine
- Noise Cancelling Headphones
- White noise
- 3D printed noise attenuating blocks
The 3D printed noise attenuating block isn't readily available yet, but it’s a quality sound absorption tech to consider.
Note that black noise machines are much louder than white noise machine, so it drones bass frequencies. However, it may be too loud for your ears.
You may need a low-tech earplug if you decide to opt for this option.
SoundProof Tip: You might want to look into one of our articles dealing primarily with the strategy presented above. Read our post to learn more -- CPAP Machine Noise Reduction: Tips How To Make The Sleep Equipment Sound Less Distracting.
Frequently Asked Questions
What absorbs low frequency sound?
One of the great ways to expunge low frequency sounds is using materials that absorb the bass. Materials like concrete, thick walls, mass-loaded vinyl, etc., are reliable soundproof materials. Sometimes, a wall may be reinforced by building a room within another or installing fiberglass.
How do you neutralize a low frequency sound?
You can tackle low-frequency sound waves with several techniques and materials. Some of the popular neutralizers of low bass noise are soundproof curtains, isolation boxes, fiberglass installation, and soundproof blankets.
What materials can block sound?
The best soundproof materials for blocking sounds include mass-loaded vinyl, fiberglass, gypsum board, polymer membrane, plasterboard mineral wool, etc.
Try to detect the outside noise source to know which material would effectively work for you. For instance, you can block bass sounds with solid fiberglass and gypsum board. While a soundproof curtain resolves high-frequency sound problems.
Can low frequency sound waves make you sick?
Low frequency waves cause more harm than mere disturbance in your everyday life. Research has linked it to hearing impairment, cardiovascular disease, sleep disorder, irritability, and high blood pressure. Hence, low frequency bass can make you sick, especially if you are highly sensitive. We suggest you figure out how to block low frequency waves immediately.
Low frequency sounds are mulish. Nevertheless, the best soundproof solutions help with low frequency noise cancellation.
First, identify the source of the outside noise before selecting a solution. For instance, countering a noisy boiler with a room within room solution would be killing a fly with a sledgehammer.
Finally, I know you wouldn't want a bass sound wave messing up a peaceful evening. So, get to work already; it’s time to lock out those pesky sound waves!