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Keeping Household Noise Where You Want It

February 06, 1993|From Associated Press

How much noise is too much depends on what you are doing, whether you like the sound and the noise level to which you're accustomed.

Noise is measured on a decibel scale which goes from zero, or the absence of sound, to about 120 decibels equal to a 747 jet taking off. Most people are comfortable up to about 65 decibels, with quiet registered at 40 decibels. To sleep, 30 or below is considered within the comfort zone.

In the home, major sources of unwanted noise are appliances, television, sound system, shouting and rowdy play. To ideally deal with the first, replace older dishwashers, refrigerators and clothes washers. Newer appliances have an acoustical barrier such as a sound absorbing material built in. Buy a white noise machine or use a small fan near the bed or desk to mask sounds from other rooms, such as television or conversation.

Most sound comes into the house through windows and gaps in doors. Weatherstripping is a first step. Give it a try with masking tape. If the noise level goes down, install weatherstripping and a plastic or rubber strip that fits between the bottom of the door and the door sill. Weatherstrip windows.

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