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Situation: A rented flat with a busy street right in front of it. The bed room faces towards the street with a window front. As the flat is rented I can not build something permanently like new windows or a wall. I already thougt about styrofoam plates, other foam or heavy curtains but don't know what is usable.

According to a municpial computer model the noise is between 55-75 dbA in 4m height from the ground. The flat is like 10-15m from the ground.

How could I reduce the noise from the street?

Edit: As it was suggested that this question is a duplicate of this one and this one: I don't have a garden and can not set up a wall. My question is only about inhouse insulation.

Edit 2: The noise is mostly a problem during bedtime as it disturbs the sleep. Foam earplugs are not a solution for everyone due to medical reasons.

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I use a white noise generator while sleeping. These devices can provide a neutral sound that is fairly relaxing, while drowning out most of the street noise.

This isn't a 100% solution, but it's something that sits on your night stand/dresser and doesn't have to cost a lot. It can also be taken with you on vacation.

These usually have multiple options for sounds, so if you like trains, ocean waves, birds, or whatever, there's probably a setting for you. Mine has 11 options (IIRC), and I use the rain storm option exclusively.

I think I've even heard of phone apps to do the same thing.

You might be able to get a white noise generator device with an oil/scent option, to further help relaxing. This is usually a paper or cotton pad that you put scented oil on, which has a tiny fan to under it to spread the aroma. I never used it, but it's something to think about.

FYI, pink noise is not white noise.

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    Thanks! That sounds - litteraly - interesting. I will give it a try as a supporting measure. – notfixablebysoftware Dec 14 '17 at 7:21
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Since you specifically mention the bedroom, should I assume you're mostly concerned with noise during the time you'll be in bed? If so, the crazy cheap way to fix the problem is foam earplugs. Might take a little while to get used to sleeping in them. My only worry would be the elevated risk in case of fire or burglary...

  • Yes, you are right. I will edit the question. Earplugs are not suitable for everyone due to medical reasons, so this is unfortunately not a solution. :-( Besides I think you would here the smoke detector (it has 85 dBA), but the burglar ... – notfixablebysoftware Dec 13 '17 at 5:43
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If you have an older home with original windows, replacing them with modern insulated glass (aka double glazing, double pane, etc.) will provide the biggest improvement. Any insulated glass will be much better than non-insulated glass, but you can also get special kinds of insulated glass for sound isolation.

A further step would be adding additional insulation to your exterior walls. I don't know a lot about this, but I've seen done cheaply by adding sound insulation on top of the drywall, then adding another sheet of drywall on 1" wood spacers. Of course, this means you loose a tiny bit of interior space.

  • Thanks for your answer, but as the flat is rented I can not replace the windows. They are already double glas. – notfixablebysoftware Dec 13 '17 at 5:39
  • @notfixablebysoftware -- Removable window inserts (such as Indows) can effectively convert single-pane windows into double pane windows. Incremental sound insulation at the windows is likely to be your most cost-effective way to keep outside noise out. – Jasper Apr 4 '18 at 2:37
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Your options are limited and not too effective due to the fact that you are renting and thus need something that is not permanent and affordable. YOu can look into getting "board panels" that you hang on the walls and that might help. These boards are made of different materials for different application. Read through these website for information about which kind will suit your problem best: https://www.atsacoustics.com/page--Selecting-the-Right-Acoustic-Material--ac.html Good Luck NOTE: I am not promoting the website or the products there. I just find their page about insulation type informative.

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Place one of these on the street 200 feet in either direction of your house.

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If the bedroom is in the front of the house and the road is in front of the house, change the use of rooms so the bedroom is in the back of the house.

Otherwise, move to a quiet place in the country. You've claimed you can't do pretty much anything else that would help.

A meter available for a few Dollars/Pounds/Euros could give you a sound measurement (rather than a model), as can most smartphones.

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You can typically buy up to 2" thick foam insulation board from a home improvement store, around $20 for a 4 foot by 8 foot sheet. Very cheap and lightweight, that could help cut down the noise. You want it as close to the wall as possible, and as far away from you as possible. Ideally you'd block the window as well since that is most likely letting more noise in than the walls. Then you'd have no light though, so it's a choice to consider.

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