I don't expect for a typical house to be soundproof, but is it normal
to be able to hear a TV through a floor?
I'm trying to go to (community) college and am living with my parents
for financial and health reasons. My bedroom is right above the family
room where my father watches TV for about 17 hours a day. When I go to
bed I hear the TV blaring through the floor, when I try to study or
relax I hear the TV through the floor. It's one thing to hear a very
muted sound through the floor but it's another when I can almost hear
the words of whatever program he's watching. He's not deaf so I don't
know what his problem is. But whatever it is, it's driving me insane.
I've had to put up with it for years but lately it's really bad.
Unfortunately, there's nowhere else in the house I can go to get peace
Is there anything that either of us can do to soundproof the floor/
ceiling without tearing the house apart? Or is there something that we
could put around the TV so the sound won't travel upwards through the
I can put up with other noises but that TV is extremely annoying. I
think the problem is the constant change in sounds and tones.
Heavy carpet will help, quite a bit, esp. with a thick
Maybe you can buy the old man a cool set of suitable
headphones. A lot of programming sounds great through
headphones and he may actually like it. You certainly
They better be comfortable ones if he really watches
17 hours/day though :-(
| Malcolm Hoar "The more I practice, the luckier I get". |
On Thu, 21 Feb 2008 21:11:00 -0800 (PST), Jo - the girl
I suppose he has lost some of his hearing or he wouldn't want it this
loud. (I assume when you are in that room the sound is louder than you
would have it?)
Regardles, I suppose someone will suggest headphones, but it would
take me quite a while, if ever, to get used to such things. Right now
I don't like them, even though I have had to use them on occasion.
OToH, he might not feel as I do.
As a middle road, how about putting speakers closer to where he sits.
There may be a speaker jack on the tv, or if not it's usually possible
to put one in. It involves cutting one wire to the current speaker,
running both stubs to a jack in the side, plus tapping the second wire
to the current speaker and running that to the jack too. (If the jack
is meant for earphones it should probably have a resistor in both
channels, and if it is meant for speakers, probably not. It will work
without a resistor for either, but for headphones or earphones, you'll
probably have to turn the volume down quite a bit.) Then the
speaker(s) could be put right next to the chair. I usually use
speakers with cabinets (sometimes plastic, sometimes "wood") left over
from stereos, etc.
Since you replied to me and not the OP: Personally, I don't care how
nice or light they are. I have used very light headphones and I don't
like them. I don't want the OP to think his father is unreasonable,
is the only one who feels that way, if he doesn't want to wear
headphones. I suppose he should try them first, but maybe he already
Thanks to everyone who replied.
After reconsidering this I think that even when the TV is at a normal
volume level that I can still hear the TV through the floor. That just
doesn't seem right to me. I hope all houses aren't built like this. I
can even hear him snoring and coughing through the floor. My personal
favorite (I'm being sarcastic) is when I can hear him burp through the
I do have carpet in my bedroom but it's 20 years old and there's no
chance of getting it replaced. I can't wear earplugs and he won't wear
headphones so I guess I'll have him try some speakers. I can have the
sound lowered on his TV to a set level and then have him operate the
volume on the speakers via the cable box which they would be connected
to (that's what I sometimes do on my TV). It would've been nice if I
could've come up with a way to block the sound from going up by using
soundproof material around the TV.
I don't think so, though the last time I lived with someone else in a
two story house was 50 years ago.
That's because he's going deaf, so he has to snore and cough more
And perhaps getting a big throw rug to put on top of the carpet, one
with lots of knap. You can probably find a color that doesn't clash.
And might be able to find the rug used, or a carpet remnant at a cheap
I was in the opposite position once. I played the piano, but not
well. I learned -- they told me -- that my next door neighbors, a
couple in their 60's, liked Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, so I played that
last every time, so they'd know I was done.
But downstairs live an organ tuner, who had both a piano and a
moderate sized pipe organ. My playing bothered him, so when he saw a
piece of paper in the elevator advertisiing a free rug, he gave the
paper to me, and I got the rug. We had beautiful hardwood floors in
these apartments, and I left the oriental-style rug folded so that
there were about 8 thicknesses between the piano and the floor. He
didn't complain again.
I lived on the fourth floor and he lived on the third and ironically,
there used to be a sick old womanon the second floor, right below him,
and a neighbor told me he would play his piano or organ at all hours
while she was dying. But I moved from 4C to 5A and never had to
discuss anything with him again. I don't even remember seeing him
It can be. Odd acoustics. If you can move the TV a bit, try that?
If not possible, the suggestion of a heavy carpet and an undercarpet will
help alot. It can even just be layered old carpets, say 2 or even 3.
Like others have suggested, the first thought that comes to my mind is a set
of headphones. I seem to recall wireless sets for TV hook ups, but I can't
remember where. Your story reminds me of my grandmother. Whenever I would
visit her the TV would be extremely loud and uncomfortable for me. She
refused to have her ears checked and insisted nothing was wrong with her
hearing. I did have to talk louder for her to hear me and I noticed that
she always looked at my lips when I talked. When I wasn't looking right out
her was when she heard me the least. Maybe you will have better luck with
your father. He probably needs a hearing aid of some sort.
I've been in similar situations, and the solution that's worked best
for me was the cheapest - ear plugs. Sound transmission is tough to
deal with, and particularly tough (read expensive) in a retrofit.
White noise machines work, but they raise the sound level. The ear
plugs block so much sound that you're aware of the sound of your
breathing and your heartbeat when you're drifting off to sleep, and
not much else. Some people complain about them not being comfortable,
and they do take a bit to get used to them, but if you can drift off
to sleep with them you won't wake up because of them unless one falls
Get the little foam compressible disposable plugs that you pinch and
roll into a small cone before inserting in your ear. http://tinyurl.com/3x2tfm
In general you want to block air exchange. Air caries sound very well.
(Try opening your car's window as a train is going by.)
Next you want weight. Heavy things (drywall lead sheets etc.) block
You also want to prevent any direct solid connections. Stagger wall
studs or use special isolation devices to keep the sound from traveling
through the wall (remember the two cans on a string (well wire actuarially
worked) you want to break the wire).
Filling in wall cavities with sound absorbing materials (acoustical
fiberglass bats) will do a little.
Point source control (special absorption material) at the source of the
sound will also help.
I'd start with carpeting the floor. Think thick, fluffy, layers. .
Next- and this might appeal to the TV watchers- I'd really look into
external speakers on the 'people side' of the room. the worst
part about hearing loss for me has been that it is so subtle I barely
notice it. and the weird part is there are certain tones, like the
furnace fan, and humidifier that seem to mask the tones of TV shows.
so I keep gradually hiking the volume- then notice how loud t is when
the external sounds go off.
I've looked for headphones that could be used so I could control my
own volume, but haven't been successful. [all the headphones I've
found insist on being the *only* audio source in use]
Next, I'd try to mask it in your room. White sounds? Headphones?
I agree. Our BR is right over the TV, too. Even though I probably
hear worse than her- when I'm sleeping and she's watching TV there are
times when it keeps me awake.
Lots of folks, especially those who have worked in noisy environments,
hearing loss. The little hairs in the ear that pick up higher freq. are
more delicate and are
damaged first. That would explain why low pitch gives you problems - it
competes with everything
you are able to hear. People with this kind of hearing loss often
unconciously lip-read, and
can "hear" better when they are looking at the speaker. Can't hear in a
room full of people
Have you noticed that the music on some episodes of Law & Order is so
loud I can't hear the words? Or you can't hear them. I think my
hearing is still good and it's something wierd about the show, but I"m
Also the tv in the bathroom has something wrong with the sound. I
can't identify it, but the tv sounded fine before I went away and
sounded bad 2 months later.
I don't know why they say that but they're bluffing.
Regardless of how the headphones work, you can get around that.
Probably at most a tiny bit of wiring inside the tv. Just keep the
polarity right so that your headphones aren't fighting with the
speakers. In other words, when the speaker cones go forward in the
tv, so should the cones in your headphones. If you can't see them,
just reverse the wires and see which way sounds better. But the
speakers in the tv are marked with a dot on one connector, and also
the metal connection tabs are of different widths. One is positive,
maybe the wider one. I think that should be the center post and first
ring on the audio plug, and the second ring (stereo) should be the
ground. But check with others, like the ng below.
We can talk about that, or the folks at sci.electronics.repair can,
although they tend to overdo the tech part so I can't understand it.
I don't consider myself a newbie but compared to them I am, and I
should ask them to tone down the techy part.
Does he understand the issue and want to help, he nees to understand.
maybe a set of small speakers a few feet away form either side of his
head, or headphones. You could build a floating floor, walls, carpet
and put in a sealed insulated door and spend 10,000.00 , or work with
him, a good set of head phones would be cheapest. My mom was a bit
deaf, I would visit and could understand the news from 70ft away, he
is going deaf and has to understand the issues.
On Thu, 21 Feb 2008 21:11:00 -0800 (PST), Jo - the girl
Buy yourself a "clapper", the lights turn off with a clap.
Change the "frequency" to detect a snore. When dad goes to sleep and
snores the TV turns off. Use it on the TV plug.
Pimp My Ride, on MTV did a car. When the girl "snapped" her fingers
the car windows operated.
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