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Sound-Blocking vs. Sound-Absorbing: What's the Difference?

Sound control is a crucial aspect of creating a comfortable and peaceful environment, whether it is in a home, office, or commercial space. Two common techniques used to manage sound are sound-blocking and sound-absorbing materials. While these terms may sound similar, they refer to different approaches and strategies for controlling noise, and they entail different soundproofing materials, too. In this blog post, we will explore the differences between sound-blocking and sound-absorbing materials and their respective applications. SoundAway is a company that offers the best in soundproofing products, including acoustic fabrics, acoustic panels, and soundproof doors. Learn more below, and contact us today!

What Is Sound Blocking?

Sound blocking, also known as sound isolation or soundproofing, is a method used to prevent sound from entering or leaving a space. This technique focuses on reducing the transmission of sound waves by creating physical barriers that impede their path. The aim is to create a seal or boundary that isolates a room or space from external noise sources.

Sound-Blocking Materials

One of the primary elements of sound blocking is the use of materials with high mass or density. These materials are designed to absorb or reflect the sound waves, preventing them from passing through. Examples of sound-blocking materials include mass-loaded vinyl (MLV), acoustic panels, and dense insulation.

MLV Materials

Mass-loaded vinyl, commonly referred to as MLV, is a heavy and flexible material often used to create barriers against sound transmission. It is effective because of its high density, which helps to absorb and block sound waves. MLV can be used in walls, floors, ceilings, and even as a window treatment to reduce external noise sources. Check out our MLV noise barriers.

Acoustic Panels

Another sound-blocking technique is the use of acoustic panels. These panels are designed to absorb and reflect sound waves, helping to reduce the transmission of noise between rooms or from external sources. Acoustic panels are typically made from high-density materials such as fiberglass or mineral wool, which offer excellent sound absorption properties.

Insulation is another essential element in sound-blocking. By using insulation materials with high density and acoustic properties, such as mineral wool or cellulose, sound transmission can be significantly reduced. Insulation is commonly installed in walls, floors, and ceilings to create a barrier against noise. While SoundAway does not offer sound-blocking insulation products, we offer many other soundproofing materials for your needs. Inquire today.

What Is Sound Absorbing?

In contrast, sound absorbing, also known as acoustic treatment or sound diffusion, focuses on controlling the reflections and reverberation of sound waves within a space. The goal is to reduce echoes and increase speech intelligibility by absorbing sound energy rather than blocking it. Sound-absorbing materials are designed to absorb sound waves and prevent them from bouncing back into the room, resulting in a clearer and quieter environment.

Acoustic Foam

One common sound-absorbing material is acoustic foam. Acoustic foam panels are engineered to capture and absorb sound energy due to their open-cell structure. These panels are often used in music studios, home theaters, and recording rooms to control reflections and create an acoustically balanced environment. SoundAway is proud to offer SONEX Acoustic Foam Panels for all of your sound-absorbing needs. Check them out today.

Fiberglass Insulation

Fiberglass insulation is another widely used sound-absorbing material. It is commonly installed in wall and ceiling cavities to absorb sound waves and minimize noise transfer between spaces. Fiberglass insulation works by trapping sound energy within its fibers, preventing it from bouncing back into the room.

Perforated Panels

Another technique used in sound-absorbing is the application of perforated panels or diffusers. These panels are designed to evenly distribute sound energy throughout a room, reducing the concentration of sound in specific areas and creating a more balanced auditory experience.

The Use of Sound-Blocking and Sound-Absorbing Materials

It is important to note that sound-blocking and sound-absorbing techniques are not mutually exclusive. In fact, they are often used in conjunction to achieve the best possible sound control results. For instance, in a recording studio, sound-blocking materials may be used to isolate the space from external noise sources, while sound-absorbing materials are employed to minimize internal reflections and reverberation.

The Needs of Your Space

The choice between sound-blocking and sound-absorbing techniques depends on the specific requirements of the space and the desired result. If the primary concern is to reduce noise transfer between rooms or from external sources, sound-blocking methods should be prioritized. On the other hand, if the focus is on creating a more comfortable and acoustically balanced environment within a single space, sound-absorbing techniques may be more appropriate.


Sound-blocking and sound-absorbing are two distinct approaches to managing sound in a space. While sound-blocking focuses on preventing sound transmission by using dense materials and physical barriers, sound-absorbing aims to control reflections and reverberation by using materials that absorb sound energy. Understanding the differences between these techniques allows for informed decisions when it comes to creating a quieter and more comfortable environment. By utilizing a combination of sound-blocking and sound-absorbing techniques, optimal sound control can be achieved in any space.

SoundAway is a soundproofing company founded in 2007. With our years of experience helping homeowners, business owners, studios, corporate spaces, and more have the perfect sound in their space, we can help you determine which soundproofing materials will perform best for your needs. We carry a wide variety of the best soundproofing products, including commercial acoustic panels, soundproof foam, acoustic underlays, soundproof doors and windows, and so much more. We are here to offer expert advice and guidance. Let us know how we can help. Browse all of our soundproofing products online, and get in touch today!