Does Acoustic Foam Block Outside Noise?

You have probably seen pictures of homes, music studios, and rooms in acoustic foam. And maybe thinking ‘hey’ I’m also going to get some acoustic foam panels on my walls to block off those noisy neighbors or you might be living close to a  busy street and want to prevent the outside noise from coming in.

Well don’t do it, acoustic does not block the noise coming from outside. Acoustic foams are special soundproofing solutions that operate differently to stop sound waves or noise coming from outside. Instead of blocking the noise the acoustic foam absorbs the noise and dampens it. 

Acoustic foam does not block outside noise, it rather absorbs the noise and dampens it. Acoustic foams are usually soft, flexible, and lightweight materials with lightly open cell structures that act as natural sound wave absorbers. It prevents noise from bouncing off hard surfaces such as walls and ceilings. However, it also lessens the reverberation that may be present in your room.

In this article, you discover if acoustic foam blocks noise and other better alternatives that you can acoustically treat your room and much more.

Does Acoustic Foam Block Outside Noise?

The short answer to this is no. Acoustic foam panels do not block out the noise coming in from outside. Even though acoustic foam does not block outside is perfectly suited to absorb outside noise. Acoustic foams are usually soft and flexible, that consists of open and flexible cell structures that serve as natural shock absorbers and prevent noise from bouncing back from hard surfaces like ceilings and walls.

Even though acoustic foam is not an effective solution for blocking noises and reducing outside noise but it’s efficient at reducing reverberation present in your room. Acoustic foam comes in various types and can be easily hung vertically or laid horizontally. They are also very effective for covering the maximum areas of your room that need to be soundproofed.

To effectively cut down the noise coming in from outside, you need to use thick and rigid materials such as drywall that can block out outside noise and not absorb it.

Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation on the Internet about acoustic foam and how it should be used to insulate your room from outside noise but that’s not the case.

However acoustic foam is used for acoustic treatment and not soundproofing.

Difference Between Soundproofing and Acoustic Treatment 

Soundproofing is the process of insulating or blocking out noise from entering or leaving your room. To get this done you will need to use thick materials such as drywall which are designed to prevent sound from passing through it.

Sound absorption, on the other hand, depends on materials that are good sound absorbers, such as acoustic panels, and acoustic blankets to help decrease the echo inside your room.

While sound absorption is not the best bet for soundproofing purposes, it may still offer some help. It might be a good idea to use sound-absorption materials in conjunction with sound-blocking materials to achieve better results. 

Also Read:

All you need to know about soundproof blankets

How Does Acoustic Foam Work?

Sound waves are energized waves that pass through a medium. When noise comes from a source it keeps moving in the direction of the propagation until it becomes weak or dispersed by the air.  However, some materials or objects offer better attenuation levels and easily block out outside noise or absorb the noise if needed. This is the principle of soundproofing. 

Acoustic foam is the best alternative for soundproofing solutions that helps lessen the background noise in your home. High-quality acoustic foams and many other sounds absorbing materials such as Rockwool or fiberglass are used on music studio walls, because of it’s the ability to prevent sound waves from bouncing all over the place. It also makes the sound die out quickly and improves the acoustic treatment of that room.

The performance of the soundproofing foams is usually based on the types and their effectiveness at absorbing sound and changing it to heat energy. 

There are several types of acoustic foams, some are light and soft and some are thick with slightly open cell structures. The difference depends on how much sound is allowed to pass through it. The lighter and less dense the acoustic foam, the more sound will be allowed to pass through them. 

Acoustic foam isn’t the best bet for blocking sound, which is why it doesn’t work when used for soundproofing. 

It’s noteworthy to say that acoustic foams are highly flammable, so you need to consider that when installing them in your home. We recommend you use something like Rockwool instead. 

Reverberation in Your Room and How It Affects You

The reverberation is also known as the room’s sound or how sound behaves in your room.  For instance, a large room without any sound absorption materials in it will probably have a great deal of reverberation time. This is because the soundwaves are not absorbed, hence making them bounce off the walls many times over. 

This can be related to how an empty room will feel compared to a room that has curtains, a couch, some pillows, and other sound-absorbing materials in it.

Rooms with a lot of reverberation in them will feel louder because the sound waves won’t die out quickly. However, installing acoustic foams and acoustic panels helps make your room quieter, not just noise coming in from outside. If you want to lessen the amount of noise coming in from outside then you need to use sound-blocking materials. 

Best Acoustic Foam Alternative 

We will recommend Rockwool over acoustic foam not because it is a good sound absorber but because it’s fire resistant, hence making your home safer.

To install the acoustic foam, you just need to purchase the panels from your nearest home depot or amazon. After that simply glue the panels to your walls and that’s it.No additional steps are required. 

On the other hand, to install rock wool you will need to create a wooden frame and cover up the insulation material with some sort of fabric which is a bit more expensive and involves a lot of work.

On a different note, a typical acoustic foam can panel can only absorb very high frequencies but not bass or low frequencies. In most cases, the low frequencies usually cause the most nuisance. 

Does Acoustic Foam Help with Noisy Neighbors?

The acoustic foam is well suited for absorbing noise and not blocking it particularly high-frequency noise. covering up a party wall with acoustic foams will not reduce the coming from your neighbor’s house. To quiet down the noise you will need to install sound-blockings materials such as drywall. 

How to Properly Soundproof Your Room and the Materials to Use

Soundproofing is intended to block out sound, not absorb it. To do this you will need to cover up every single cap that air and sound can use to get in or out. So you need to use materials such as drywall and mass-loaded vinyl which are capable of blocking high amounts of sound.

One of the most important steps to soundproof your home is to make sure you seal every nook and cranny you see with weatherstripping and acoustic caulk. 

However, most of the insulation materials go into the walls, ceilings, and floor during the construction phase. However, if you want to do further insulation, you can do so by installing a drywall and mass-loaded vinyl floor underlayment.


Acoustics foam can not be used to block out outside noise. Putting up acoustic foams on your room walls will only make the sound inside your room die off quickly but outside noise will get into your room without any problem.

To prevent outside noise from coming into your room or home, you need to use materials that block out sound, not absorb it.

However, you can use sound-absorbing materials in conjunction with sound-blocking materials. This will help reduce the sound further. 


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