Seome form of soundproofing is the norm for most industrial and domestic buildings. Whether you’re in a restaurant, school or open-plan office, modern buildings are typically designed to control the acoustics architecturally. Either that or they will have soundproofing panels installed to reduce background noise.

Asking how acoustic foam works is usually an invitation for a barrage of jargon and misinformation. That’s why we’ve cut through all the noise to tell you everything you need to know about foam sound insulation and how it works in a way that’s easy to digest.

The science of sound

Understanding the basic characteristics of sound is vital when you’re exploring how to reduce it. In the very simplest terms, sound is nothing more than the vibration of energy. When an object vibrates, the air around it vibrates too. These vibrations are carried through the air in the form of soundwaves until the air inside your ears begins to vibrate. This sensation is what eventually gets interpreted by the brain as noise, speech and music.

It was soon discovered that certain materials can be used to manipulate how these soundwaves behave. For example, sound energy will naturally bounce off hard surfaces but may become muffled and distorted when coming into contact with soft ones. As such, the science of soundproofing was born.

Absorbing sound vs blocking sound

Before you can understand the workings behind sound insulation foam, it’s important to first establish the difference between absorbing sound and blocking sound. These terms are often used interchangeably, but there are clear distinctions between the two processes.