Does Sound Travel up or down? (FAQ Explained)

If you live in an apartment, noise coming from the upper floor might be a big concern. Sometimes you may hear things falling, people pulling objects or just talking. There are times you might listen to the sound of booming music from the lower floors vibrating through your walls. If you are caught up in such a predicament, you might probably be thinking it’s time to save your ears and create some buffer. There are lots of possibilities, and one question that might leave you puzzled is whether sound travels up or down.

Well, sound travels in all directions. If your walls have no barriers, sound waves will pierce through hard surfaces and into the free air. The hard surfaces such as walls and ceiling are perfect transmission channels.  In this article, I will give a detailed analysis of sound, types of sound and products useful in muffling sounds regardless of the direction.

What influences sound?

Sound waves may be influenced by the type of materials used to make the barrier. For instance, in the example above, the amount of sound you hear from your neighbors may vary depending on the make of your walls, ceiling and floor. A case in point, the sound of music from bass may be less intense if it was coming from the upper floor than the lower floor. Also, you are more likely to hear people talking if you are living on the upper floors.

Which sounds travel furthest or fastest

Different sounds travel faster and furthest as compared to others, and you may not realize it by just listening. However, research has revealed that sound waves with low frequencies will travel further as compared to those with high frequencies.

Let’s look at a simple example. Have you ever heard a bass booming from the lower floors? Well, you might hear the vibration on your walls. Similarly, if you play your audio speaker with low frequency, the sound will travel downwards, and this is due to the law of gravity. However, with high frequencies, it will travel upwards.

Are there sounds that travel fastest?

Yes, there are. However, the speed of sound will vary depending on the medium of travel. Research reveals that sound travels faster in solids such as walls and floors. Similarly, it travels slowly in liquids and gases.  Other factors that may influence the sound is echoes, which can amplify the waves and make them sound louder. For instance, if you are in an empty room and you shouted, you will hear echoes, and it will be louder. However, if a room is filled with furniture, the items inside will absorb the sound.

High pitch sound

Most people often have a misconception that high pitch source travels faster than ordinary sounds. On the contrary, the answer is affirmative no. Pitch sounds have the same velocity, and density and the pressure may influence this.

Do Acoustics stop sound?

Whereas some products such as Acoustical foams may not stop sound waves, they help improve the situation since they absorb the sound and make the area quieter. They are useful in reducing or minimizing floor to floor sound transmission. However, there might be a need for some construction since there will be an additional layer of material on the wall or the floor.

Nonetheless, some alternatives come with adhesive glue, and you only need to spread on the surface. Some other options are sound screen machines, which in the real sense might make your house noisy rather than quiet.

Soundproofing methods

Living in apartments seems to be a way of life. For starters, it is cheap, and most people prefer them since they are near amenities and places of work. However, living in a condo has its share of downsides such as putting up with sounds from neighbors living in upper or upper floors or even the adjacent ones.

Some restrictions come with renting apartments, and of course, you can’t start drilling the walls and installing with acoustic foams or materials to deaden the noise. Or else, you are going to be kicked out or slapped with a repairs bill. While moving out may be an easy option, you could find yourself in another apartment with the same type of neighbors.

Approaches you can adopt to minimize sound

Use of earmuffs

Well, maybe you can consider earmuffs. Yes, you heard me right. These are objects that block out noise and help you catch some sleep. They are comfortable and much better than earplugs since you don’t have to insert into your ears. However, if the noise is deafening, they may not be useful.

Closing gaps in a condo or apartment

Soundproofing an apartment may involve sealing all the gaps using a unique product known as a weather-stripping kit. You can close gaps on windows and doors but ensure you get a high quality product that you can easily remove.

Use of sound blocking curtains

Did you know that a thick curtain can deaden and block out sound? Well, you can install these options to reduce or minimize external sounds. Choose designs that blend perfectly with your interior decor.

Use of thick floor mats

It may seem a little bit odd, but it’s possible. Look for thick mats that will deaden the sound and lockout unwanted noises and echoes.

Use of temporary acoustic panels

These resemble sponges and help in absorbing and minimizing noise. You need to attach onto your apartment walls without interfering with the structure. They are temporary and cost effective.

Use of green glue

Green glue is a soundproof solution that helps in changing sound into heat. You need to attach to the walls; however, you need to consult your landlord since it may leave permanent marks on the wall. (See latest price on Amazon)

Hanging blankets

Blankets have come a long way and often are useful as temporary solutions to absorbing noise. However, they may not match your room décor and may look untidy.

I hope this article has helped answer the question of whether sound travels up or down.  Whichever way you look at it, the noise is multi directional, and many factors influence it for instance; the medium and materials.

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