Numerous studies have indicated that the most common sources of noise in our environment today are those associated with transportation. Federal Highway Administration regulations contain noise abatement criteria, which represent the upper limit of acceptable highway traffic noise for different types of land uses and human activities. State and local municipalities may also have defined limitations of noise levels.
The most common outdoor noise reduction method is the construction of noise barriers. Noise barriers can be in the form of man-made walls or topographical changes in the form of earth berms or hills, or natural barriers such as dense tree lines between the roadway and surrounding communities.
Many times residential homeowners may find themselves in a situation where publicly funded highway barriers are either cost prohibitive or ineffective to their location. In this instance there are several options that may be available to homeowners struggling to cope with highway noise. These may include but not be limited to exterior sound curtains, acoustic doors, windows, and seals, increasing the sound blocking properties of exterior walls, and portable sound masking units.