The insistent repetition of your daughter's piano practice or your son's garage band can take a toll on the old ear drums. Sometimes, that loud stereo music can really make you want to hurl a couch cushion across the room. No, the walls aren't getting thinner, but the decibel level of some common neighborhood activities may be getting louder this summer -- including those that seem to happen just when you want to head off to bed. Sound can be very invasive and difficult to tune out no matter how hard you try. You don't have to suffer in the lack of silence, though. There are ways to banish the noise without causing a rift in the family or creating an international incident.
Becoming the master of sound control is about learning how to stop the vibration, because that's what sound is. The nature and location of the sounds you want to control can be important, too. Soundproofing is the art of blocking, dampening and absorbing sound waves, and there's a difference between muffling the sound of your karaoke night antics and reducing the street noises entering your living room from the front windows. On the next pages, we'll take a look at some materials and targeted methods for stopping the bad vibrations before they become noise pollution.