Traffic noise is alone judged harmful to the health of the average third individual in a developed environment. The World Health Organisation is of the opinion that one in five Europeans is regularly a victim from this noise level at night, capable enough to cause significant damage to health and that noise may be the root factor accounting for about three in every hundred deaths mostly ascribed to heart diseases or blamed on heart failures. Suggestions show that noise may be responsible for the health condition of inhabitants residing in places with heavy traffic noise as complaints range from interference in thought and disturbance while sleeping at night, fatigue, aches in the head, gastroenteric disorders, depression, loss of appetite and irritation.
Against this background, engineers have looked up ways of reducing traffic noise with reflective or absorbent acoustic fences from companies such as Echo Barrier whose panels have proved to be the most cost effective over time. How then do acoustic fences help reduce traffic noise?
Acoustic fences construction combines appropriately selected materials and the treatment of various parts of a building to check the interior noise level. Use of dense insulating materials as well as the use of air spaces between and within materials constitute the primary noise reduction mechanism. Construction of acoustic fences may involve very expensive technique, however, it is one of the most effective ways of reducing disturbances from outside traffic noise.
In installing an acoustic fence, certain considerations should be taken into account. Acoustic fences are indeed very effective in reducing traffic noise usually with a fence high enough to lower the outside noise level and thus be effective to improve the interior noise environment. The fence must be as tall as it should be to stop traffic noise from escaping over the top of the fence, majority of highway traffic noise mostly travel by line of sight such that if you are able to see the trucks you are also able to hear them, thus a low wall will not or do little in stopping the noise from the heavier and bigger trucks that ply the roads today.
It should also be as dense as possible to stop the noise from moving through the fencing barrier. Disturbance from heavy duty trucks is calculated to be around 85 dB, as such, the denser the wall the more the noise is reduced, a timber which is considered hundred percent solid will only perform a 25 dB noise reduction while the remaining noise passes through easily.
There should be no gap or holes in and under the fencing barrier such that no traffic noise would pass through, this is why timber fences are very poor noise barriers as traffic noise will move, over, under and through this category of fence with virtually no reduction in sound volumes. The acoustic fence will be even more effective with an irregular surface to diffuse the noise when it makes contact with the acoustic fence, this is because smooth surfaced and reflective acoustic barriers bounce off most noise back into the surrounding environment. The preferred option here would be one that controls and absorbs sounds, diffuses and reduces traffic noise. It should also assume enough width that the traffic noise may not get around and come in through the sides of the fence, this will help create an acoustic sound shadow behind the fence.
It’s bad enough living in a noisy neighbourhood, even worse living very close to a busy road especially one known for its heavy traffic disturbances, however, the good news remains that with very effective acoustic fences or barriers, one can commit these worries to the flame and enjoy a profoundly serene environment.
For more information on acoustic fences visit Echo Barrier