Ambient community noise, like road noise, machinery, and even ordinary neighbourhood sounds, can affect people’s mental and physical health. Children are particularly susceptible – one study from Austria shows that children subjected to low-level road and rail noise had increased cortisol levels and suffered from higher rates of stress and diminished motivation. Babies struggle to sleep well in noisy environments, which leads to increased parental stress and fussy and overtired babies.
The advantages of soundproofing your child’s room for their benefit are clear:
- Reduced stress levels
- Improvement in sleep patterns
- Improvement in concentration, reading ability, and learning
- The ability to get away to a quiet and safe space is essential for mental wellbeing
However, soundproofing your child’s room can also be beneficial for parents. Children can be incredibly boisterous and loud, especially when left to their own devices. This type of play is healthy and necessary for their development.
If you’ve ever gone through your kid learning to play the xylophone or through their obsession with the latest talking toy, you know exactly the stress this can put on parents. Soundproofing your kid’s room helps tone down the noise, giving you some much-needed peace and quiet.
How to Soundproof Your Kid’s Room
Before going hog-wild with soundproofing every corner of your child’s room, consider the source of disruptive noise. While soundproofing a floor with carpets or cork can help reduce echo, it won’t do much to reduce community or ambient noise.
The two main areas you should target first are the door and windows. Which one you target first depends on whether most of the disruptive noise comes from inside or outside the home.
If you have a lot of household noise or a kid that loves their new singalong toy, soundproofing the door should be your priority. If most of the noise comes from outside, either due to road or community noise, soundproofing the windows will yield the best results.
Of course, you don’t have to limit yourself to just one option. The more soundproofing you do, the more quiet and restful your child’s room will be.
If you have a lively household, much of the community noise comes from inside the house itself. Sound travels very well through the air, so the small crack between the door and floor makes an excellent gateway for loud noises. Thin, hollow-core doors are also a common culprit, as they’re less sound-resistant than solid doors.
The simplest way to soundproof a door is to use a door-seal kit, which seals the perimeter around the door, blocking any sound trying to enter through the cracks. If you have a large gap between the door and floor, you may need to install an extra door sweep for extra sound-blocking capacity.
If you live in a home with hollow-core doors, consider replacing them with solid wooden doors. Solid doors add a dash of style to a home while also providing a much better soundproofing medium that reduces the amount of interior noise travel.
Busy roads, barking dogs, and arguing neighbours can generate a lot of unwanted external noise. A busy road can create up to 70dB of noise during peak traffic times, which is disruptive to the entire household. The simplest way to soundproof against external community noise is by soundproofing windows.
Just like with doors, sound enters through the gaps between the window and the wall. Glass is also an excellent sound transmitter, which is why closing the windows isn’t always as effective as you’d like.
One soundproofing option is to install double-glazing. The air pocket between the two panes acts as a sound absorber, dramatically reducing external noise. Best of all, double-glazing offers excellent insulation properties, so you get a more energy-efficient house in the process.
A less drastic option is to install soundproof curtains. These curtains are made from heavy fabric that absorbs external noise and also reduces echo in the room. Best of all, these curtains come in a wide variety of styles and colours for a kid’s room.
What About White Noise Generators?
White noise generators work by generating a consistent level of ambient noise, which can help mask disruptive noises and lessen the effect of sudden, sharp sounds.
They have gotten a lot of attention to help babies and toddlers fall asleep, and help children with ADHD concentrate on cognitive tasks. However, other studies show that while white noise helps inattentive children concentrate, it disrupts the attention span of already attentive children.
As a parent, you’re best suited to understand your child’s needs. If you have a baby that’s struggling to sleep, white noise may help. However, if you’re looking for a tool to help your older child concentrate, traditional soundproofing methods may be a better choice.