Many Malaysians live in large cities and towns in homes next to busy highways or industrial areas.
This often means there is a lot of ambient noise, which can get uncomfortable, stressful and annoying.
In some cases, a highway, airport or industrial area is built near a neighbourhood after people have been living there for many years.
Here are some ways to reduce ambient noise.
1. Hang soundproofing curtains
Noise can easily travel through windowpanes. One way to minimise this is to use heavy drapes or soundproofing curtains.
Fabrics such as velvet and thick wool are effective as they absorb sound.
Often, soundproofing curtains are made with several layers of fabric stitched together.
2. Lay carpets or rugs
Soft carpets or rugs absorb sound and reduce the effects of loud noise. The more carpets you lay down, the more sound is absorbed.
Any sort of soft, fabric-covered item in the house will have the same effect. These include rugs, cushions, upholstered sofas, armchairs and tablecloths.
If you live in an apartment, carpets can also absorb noise coming from the unit below.
3. Bring in the green
If you have a lawn, planting more bushes, flowers and plants of any sort will help filter out the noise.
Scientific studies have found that plants can reduce the noise around them by five to 10 decibels.
If you live in an apartment, consider having some potted plants on your window ledge, or some larger plants in your living room and bedroom.
4. Build a high wall
If the source of the noise is your backyard, one way to filter it out is to have a brick or concrete wall that is as high as the house.
Sounds are waves and a solid wall will block those waves from reaching your home.
This method is often used for landed properties near highways. Noise breaking walls are often erected by the local authorities.
However, you may want to add to that effect by building up your own back wall.
However, instead of just building a plain wall, you may want to incorporate some landscaping that will make the wall look natural.
5. Install a water feature
Adding a peaceful and calming ambient sound to your home with a small fountain or waterfall will help cancel out noise.
You can add a large one to your yard, or buy a small self-contained fountain as a decorative item if you don’t have a yard.