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I've been thinking about the problem of how to block or mitigate road noise. Rather than using a physical structure, is it possible to generate directional sound (by any means) that could/would interfere with sound waves coming from a road - without the generated interference itself creating noise for the listener? In other words, would it be possible to create a kind of directional sound or movement of air that would be capable of damping the sound coming from a road?

I'm not a physicist, so I appreciate any input on this topic!

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  • $\begingroup$ Just the other day I read an article on traffic noise canceling even with an open window. I couldn't find it back. $\endgroup$ – my2cts Jul 11 '20 at 18:26
  • $\begingroup$ @DavidZ: I am aware of the meta discussion about the topic "experimental physics vs. engineering" questions. Since we are less quick in closing pure math questions, which could be posted on math SE, but which receive nice "physicist answer", I would love to read what physicists have to say about less theoretical questions. $\endgroup$ – Semoi Jul 11 '20 at 19:38
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In principle this is the idea of noise canceling ear phones. So the principle answer is yes, it is possible. However, since you don't like to walk around with ear phones all the times, the practical answer is no. Building an "interference sound wall" is much more complicated than building mechanical wall, which damps the noise.

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