We have lived in our home for a year and a half now. There is constant multilevel noise from the nearby 4 lane hwy - though it does vary in extremes - more at rush hour, less in between and on most weekends. Nights are usually interrupted only by the occasional loud truck or motorcycle. But the nicest weekends in early Spring and Summer are nearly deafening all day with motorcycles. I have not "gotten used to it" in this amount of time and doubt that I ever will. Inside the house, it is greatly reduced, but still omnipresent and grating on the nerves. Radio helps with this, but really, that just amounts to more auditory stimulation, which is already excessive. Also, we both love to be outside.
So, the time has come. We are reading everything we can get our hands on about noise blocking. We do not want to spend a fortune to fence the edge of our 2.3 acres. What we are nearly settled on is wooden 4x4 posts with marine plywood screwed to both sides with one side perpendicular to the other in an alternating fashion.
There is an article by the Federal Highway Administration which refers to a "zig zag" pattern of fence, with a picture showing about a 20 degree angle of zigging and zagging with each section. Although it will add considerably to the total length, we do plan also to incorporate this into our fence. This apparently makes the structure far more wind resistant (something we need to consider) as well as more effective. And potentially less ugly. We also plan to plant some form of fast growing ivy or other vine to "de-uglify" the wall, and to assist in sound absorption. I am certainly looking forward to the day when it is complete! Also putting in a row or two of arborvitae should help a few years down the road.
Aside: We have a row of small trees, underbrush and vines, about 60 feet long and 20 feet deep on a portion of the area that faces the highway. Last Summer I wanted to "clean this area up," so I string trimmed it of its understory of brushy weeds and upper story of dense wild grape vines. The moment I turned off the trimmer, I regretted it. The visual improvement was not worth the greatly increased sound pouring through. Even though it does not extend the full length of the area, this boarder does seem to dull the noise when it is in full leaf. Who ever thought I would come to love a big stand of nettle, thistle, wild brambles and miscellaneous unidentified weeds, and some bent and broken trees infested with wild grape vines? It is October now, and to my regret, the leaves are falling and the weeds are dying. The noise has free run of the place again. Bah! Time to start digging those post holes!