6 Interesting Facts About Soundproofing

6 Interesting Facts About Soundproofing
Many interesting facts about soundproofing are not well-known. For instance, did you know that soundproofing materials generate heat? Or that the first attempt at soundproofing was…wax earplugs? Learn more fascinating facts about soundproofing in this article – we promise you, it’s worth it!

Soundproofing Facts That Will Spark Your Attention

Without further ado, let’s delve into the captivating world of soundproofing with a few facts about it.

1. Wax Earplugs – The First Attempt at Soundproofing

We don’t know when wax earplugs were invented, but they are likely the first attempt at soundproofing. The concept of wax earplugs dates back to the time before the common era, as it was already mentioned in Homer’s Odyssey. There, the heroes used beeswax to prevent themselves from being affected by the sirens' voices, which charmed sailors, leading them to imminent death.

The boom for wax plugs happened much later, in the 19th century, due to the blooming industrialization. Loud machinery, along with the later used explosives and firearms, led to people realizing that protecting one’s hearing is a must. This led to the creation of Ohropax in 1907 – the first company focusing on hearing protection. Their first product, as you may expect, were wax earplugs – in this case, wrapped in cotton for comfort.

2. Soundproofing Generates Heat

Things don’t just disappear, and that can be said about soundwaves as well. Modern soundproofing solutions, instead of being excessively thick, employ vibrations as a way to stop the sound. However, this energy is still there. What happens with it? It’s transformed into heat.

This means that acoustic panels, curtains, or mats are not only a way to reduce the noise in a particular room – they can also make it hotter.

3. How Decibels Work

You may find soundproofing solutions that don’t use a coefficient to show their effectiveness but are rather advertised with their soundproofing capabilities in decibels. However, seeing a product with 5 dB or 10 dB noise reduction, while knowing that a regular conversation is around 60 dB loud doesn’t convince you, right? Well, it should.

Decibels aren’t a flat scale, they are related to the sound of near silence. A 10 dB sound is the noise of near silence times 10, a 20 dB sound is the noise of near silence times 100, and so on and so forth. This means that even a 10 dB reduction can do magic.

Fun fact: everything over 194 dB is a shockwave.

4. Sound Isn’t as Fast in the Air as You Would Expect It

This fact about soundproofing is also quite surprising: sound in hard materials like wood actually travels faster than in the air. So, why do we use hard walls to block off sound?

This is due to the vibration that causes some parts of the soundwaves to be changed into heat. Nevertheless, the magnitude of the difference is quite surprising, with sound in the air reaching 343 m/s and in the wood ~3300-5000 m/s.

5. Soundproofing Protects Our Hearing

The psychology of silence is one thing, but our bodies are another. The louder the sounds, the more likely they are to damage our hearing. Had it not been for our efforts to soundproof buildings and roads, we would probably have many more hearing-related problems in societies.

Add to that the fact that noise pollution is growing every year, and we can see that soundproofing is more critical than ever before.

6. Most Noises Come From Doors and Windows

In most cases, walls are somehow soundproofed when being built (especially since the best soundproofing materials are often the best insulating ones as well). This means that the culprit behind unwanted outside noises isn’t necessarily the walls but rather other surfaces: doors and windows.

The case with the doors is that they are usually thin (apart from the outer ones). They also have spare space beneath them or on the sides through which the sounds travel freely. A similar case is for windows, where you’d need special soundproof versions to eliminate noise completely. So, if you wish to make your space silent, you should focus on these two types of surfaces first.

The Takeaway

We hope that these facts about soundproofing were not only fascinating, but also helpful. After all, you didn’t just learn the history of wax earplugs but also how to decipher decibels and which surfaces to focus on when soundproofing your room. And, if you feel that you need the perfect equipment to reduce noise in your spaces, check our wide range of acoustic panels – they might be exactly what you need!

Did you like this article? We also recommend reading: Choosing the Right Acoustic Panels: A Buyer's Guide
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