Sound Barrier Walls and How They Work

Noise pollutes the environment. It has a myriad of harmful effects which include interference with speech. In a place where there is so much noise, one may not be able to follow nor hear what the other person is saying. Some studies also point to noise as what leads to both behavioral and emotional stress. In a place where drums are being hit, a person may typically feel disturbed due to excessive noise. In severe cases, it may permanently damage a person’s hearing ability due to damaged eardrums. Did you also know that it can lead to increased heartbeat? And that’s not all; it can lead to constriction of blood vessels and even the dilation of the pupil. The list of damages is endless.

It is for the above and more reasons that homeowners choose to do everything at their disposal to keep noise pollution at bay. Since many people cannot bear it, they decide to settle in places that are away from cities – where traffic of people, vehicles, and companies is less. However, this cannot be an option for many, and therefore they just come up with scientific ways of reducing it such as constructing high walls, also referred to as noise barrier walls. They are mostly installed along highways if you stay next to busy roads or processing industries.

What are highway sound barrier walls?

Highway walls are unique walls that work by absorbing sound energy before it gets to the receiver. The wall cannot be classified as a sound barrier wall if it fails to absorb the required amount of the sound energy. To make it work exceptionally, the wall must be constructed using materials that are of high density and a corresponding degree of stiffness. Also, they should be built at a particular angle that is likely to send sound energy, and mounted in a specific place to absorb some sound frequencies.

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Understanding the Transmission Loss of a Sound Barrier Wall

The ability of a wall construction material to transmit noise is referred to as the transmission loss. To understand this, the engineers measure the intensity of sound from its source and compare it to the transmitted sound energy. Therefore, a highway sound barrier wall is made such that the transmission loss of the sound blocking material goes up as the weight of the material barring the noise increases. Different types of sound barring materials have different rates of blocking noise, for example, wood would act differently from how concrete and metal would.

Reasons for Erecting Highway Sound Barrier Walls
The fundamental reason why highways have these kinds of walls is in the best interest of city residents not to be harmed by noise emanating from the traffic of many speeding vehicles in the city. Several strategies have been suggested by the Federal governments which include various guidelines for managing city traffic, giving residents the right to obtain sound reduction equipment, construction of sound abatement, and more.


Sound reducing techniques on walls is somehow a technical subject. It doesn’t matter whether or not you understand it, but the bottom-line is that it goes a long way in protecting people against the harmful sound pollution.

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