I Can Hear My Roommate Through The Vent [7 Ways To Fix It]

I just shifted to a new apartment with my 3 roommates, the room shares an HVAC vent through which the voice travels easily, and I can hear my roommate through the vent when he is on the phone call.

I really wonder about this incident and I don’t want someone listens to my personal call or any other private communication outside of my room.

Many people work from home and set up their offices at home. Many people use more than one room as their office. These rooms share an HVAC return vent. The vent goes through all the rooms of their home. 

Here, you have to understand one very important term regarding the noise that passes through the air vent which is flanking noise.

What Is Flanking Noise?

The flanking noise is the sound that flows into the air vent. When noise travels through interconnected floors, ceilings, or walls, from one room to another this is also referred to as flanking noise. 

Some Possible Reasons Why You Hear Your Roommate Through The Vent

There are three main factors that affect Air Vent Noise Transmission:

  1. The shape and size of your home HVAC vent system. 
  2. The material of the air vent system.
  3. The number of walls inside the air vent system. 

If the air vent wall is made of metal, it will cause more noise transmission than wood or plastic.

The shape and size of your home HVAC vent system can also be an important factor in noise transmission. If the air vent system is small and long, you may have a higher noise transmission. So, you should make sure that the air vent system is not too big and not too small.

The number of turns and walls also plays a very important role in reducing the intensity of the noise flow through the air vent. If your air vent has not had many walls inside then the noise can easily travel across the rooms without bouncing off and without absorbing anything. 

The HVAC vent is the medium of transmitting the voice freely, and you are able to hear even the normal voice pitch through it coming from another room. 

This is a big cause of distraction. The problem becomes a big issue if your home has a home theater.

You might think that the problem is a simple one, but it’s actually a bit more complicated than that, as a lot of people have had this issue at some point in their lives, but the majority of them didn’t know there was a way to fix it.

Proper soundproofing makes this problem fixed, There are many ways to soundproof the HVAC return vent in your home, but I’ve mentioned 7 self-applied and working ways to solve this problem. 

So without further ado…

Let’s dig deeper to solve this issue.

7 Effective And Cheap Ways To Fix Hearing Voices Through Vent Problems

Sometimes covering all the doors and windows, floor, and walls is not enough for complete soundproofing. 

You missed one very important place which is the air vent. Sound can freely move from one room to another through the HVAC return vent.

Note: If you are living in a rented apartment then you have to inform the homeowner about the hearing voices through the vent problem, he will take the necessary decision to solve this problem. If you are a homeowner then you are free to do the soundproofing to fix this issue.

If you cover the air vent with some soundproofing vent cover then it can prevent noise penetration in your home but create other big problems such as it blocks the airflow and hurts the ventilation system in your room. 

Don’t worry I’ve shared only those solutions that block sound but not air in your home. 

How To Soundproof Air Vent In Your House? 

This is a normal air vent that is not connected to the HVAC system. It passes the outside fresh air across the home. You can soundproof it using these two working steps.

Step 1: Replace The Air Vent For Better Soundproofing

I’m not denying that some sort of modifications in the air vent will not work, but to ensure maximum noise cancellation in your home, you have to replace it. 

This is a very effective way to reduce your roommate’s noise in your room and vice versa. This will not cost you much also. 

First, remove the air vent completely then inspect all the gaps and holes and fill them using some good quality materials. I personally like to use sheetrock which is really effective in filling the gaps and holes for better soundproofing.

A soundproof window can also be installed in this situation because it has several positive results in soundproofing the air duct such as:

  • It has better noise penetration prevention without blocking your air ventilation system.
  • You have the freedom to close and open it when needed. 

I have heard about installing a box that has a maze of foam and plywood. But according to my point of view, this is not a good investment because you need to install a long box which covers the air vent completely, which I found is not that cost-effective. 

Step 2: Use Some Good Quality Soundproof Materials To Cover The Vent

The first step might be not a very easy and convenient solution for those who have never done it. The second step is a feasible solution for them. 

If you find it uncomfortable to remove the vent then you can cover it with some best soundproofing materials. 

Drywall is also a decent material that can be used in covering the vent. You can also use green glue along with the drywall for better results. If you are using green glue then apply its two layers to get a better result. 

The main cause of noise circulation through the vent is many gaps and holes in it. MDF or drywall completely bock all those holes and gaps and play a significant role in the obstruction of the noise completely.

Apart from many benefits, it has some downsides, many people find it uncomfortable in summer because your room becomes warm in summer due to the drywall covering the vent.

Step 3: Use Soundproofing Sealant For Soundproofing the Air Vent

Not every soundproofing sealant works equally. Here, I’m talking about the acoustic sealant.

What is an acoustic sealant and what are some benefits of using it?

Acoustic sealant is a material that is used in filling the gaps and seams for sound barriers. It is designed to reduce noise and other sound waves. There are several benefits to using acoustic sealant. It is also a great way to prevent moisture from getting into the wall and causing mold and mildew.

Also Read: Soundproof Your Furnace Room [Effective Ways]

How To Soundproof The HVAC Air Vent in Your House?

The HVAC air vent requires a different approach to soundproof properly. I’ve mentioned some working and self-applied steps to do it successfully.

Step 4: HVAC System Needs Attention

If your HVAC system is old then it produces some really annoying noises which will need immediate attention. 

An old HVAC system produces these annoying noises. I’ve mentioned the nature of the noise and how to fix it properly here:

  • Bang Noise indicates that some parts inside your furnace system collide. 
  • The whistling sound indicates that the hose from which the system controls the airflow is loose or damaged.
  • Rattling Noise caused due to the loose screws that hold the wheels of the blower fan. The wheeled blower will shake and produces rattling noise. You can fix this rattling noise by tightening the loose screws. 
  • The whooshing Noise means there are some problems with your burner. It might be damaged or corroded. 
  • Grinding Noise is generated because the wheel of the blower fan might scrap against its surrounding metal. To fix the grinding noise coming from the furnace, check if the internal assembly is something stuck or hit the fan blade. 
  • Truck Idling Noise is produced when the motor bearing wears down. In this situation, you have to replace the motor to fix such kind of noise. 
  • Noise Produce By Draft Inducer: The Noice was produced due to the failed inducer bearing of the motor of the draft inducer fan. Too much noise, you need to replace the motor.
  • Some furnaces have a belt drive motor, and its belt wears down over time, misaligns, slips, or loses. It creates a very annoying sound which is similar to the belt of an old car. You can reduce or fix such noise by replacing the motor belt. 
  • Clicking Noise indicates that there are some problems in the electric ignition system of your Furnace. 

Step 5: Use Duct Liners To Reduce Noise Through The HVAC Vent

A duct liner is a great product for the sound insulation of your current HVAC system if there is nothing wrong with it. If your HVAC system is in good working condition then you can consider installing a Duct liner which is an easy and cost-effective way to reduce noise coming through the vent.

There are two benefits of using duct liner:

  1. It helps to reduce noise.
  2. It reduces the electricity bill by insulating the ventilation system.

I’ve very satisfying experience with Reflectix duct liner which is easily available in the local hardware store and online. Cheap and effective. 

Step 6: Use Flexible Ducts To Reduce Noise

The sound absorption capability of a flexible duct is way better than a normal duct liner. It has numerous bend which absorbs the sound from the air passing through its bend. 

But it has one major downside, it can break down and its effectiveness in noise reduction could be gone. It is advisable to use it only when there are no other options available. 

Still, if you are forced to use it then I would recommend going with some best quality flex ducts like Dundas Jafine. 

Step 7: Use Soffits

If your HVAC vent system is directly exposed to the sound then installing soffits is a good choice. Soffits are made of MDF with some kind of insulation and are very common in the cinema hall’s interior for better soundproofing.  

If you live in a place where you have to face very loud unwanted noise then you can add drywall layers with green glue in between the Soffits. 

Also Read: How To Soundproof Your Furnace Closet [7 Best Ways]

Wrap Up On I Can Hear My Roommate Through The Vent And How To Solve This Problem

Soundproofing is a great way to avoid those irritating noises coming through your home HVAC return vent or air vent system. 

This article is designed with my personal experience and some additional research that I have done using various online mediums. The goal is to deliver authentic and working soundproofing ideas so that you can enjoy your life in a better way by fixing unwanted creepy noises. 

I hope you would fix these problems without even getting the help of experts so that your roommate and your privacy can not be exposed. 


Q.1 Can People Hear Through Vent?

Ans: Yes, It could happen. The vent passes through all of the rooms. Flanking noise travels through the vent between the room and you can hear the noise coming from the next room, from the upper floor very easily.

Q.2 How Do I Stop Sound From Traveling Through My Vents?

Ans: There are many ways to stop sound from traveling through the vent. Some practical ways are to replace the old HVAC system, use good soundproofing materials, and use duct liners, flexible ducts, and soffits. You can read about them in detail in our article. 

Q.3 Hear Neighbour Through Bathroom Vent Problem?

Ans: You can solve this problem by installing drywall layers with gree glue or using good quality soundproof material over it such as acoustic sealant, and replacing the air vent for better soundproofing.

About The Author


Adam is here, I'm an Editor and writer on guidingpapa. I love to share home improvement tips and new ideas in this blog. I have been doing this from couple of years and I'm very passionate about it.

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