The resistance to airborne sound transmission is not only dependent upon the characteristics of the material placed in the path of the sound waves but also upon the method of construction of the system. Expanded polystyrene, when used in combination with other building materials effectively reduces the transmission of airborne sound through partitioned walls, ceilings and floors. With recent awareness of the adverse effect of excess noise on personal health, comfort, work efficiency and privacy, EPS applications are especially beneficial in diminishing noise transmission in structures such as hotels, condos or multi-family buildings, theatres and structures near airports and busy roads.
The sound audibility of speech ranges from 25–50 decibels (DB). At 35 decibels the human ear can hear speech that is loud but unintelligible. A typical 3” wall with EPS insulation and 1/4” Gypsum board on both sides can reduce sound transmission in a room to 36 DB. EPS comes in different thicknesses. When component materials such as the wall system and finishing are factored in, sound abatement properties can increase up to 52 DB depending on the thickness of the application.