Close off EVERY gap. Sound seems to have the tendancy of bending around holes and stuff. The volume of sound is considerably higher with a small hole than if you blocked off the hole. Close off the sides of your windows and doors.
You obviously can't really change it, but having brick walls helps. They are thick and sounds have trouble penetrating. Low pitched sounds however penetrate through better. The more thick and substantial your walls are, the better.
Sounds have trouble travelling through the boundary of materials. Utilising this knowledge, reinforce your thin windows with composite laminate. Stick plywood up against it, but leave a small gap of air, so the sound has to travel through the air rather than directly to the plywood. This is also good for temperature insulation. A little extreme, but might come in handy if you're desperate. Also note, sound and temperature insulation doesn't work well if there are weak spots elsewhere in your room. If you reinfore your windows but your walls are thin, the sound will just go around the windows and leak through the walls instead. Thick heavy curtains, like those they use in theatres, may also help.
Dense foliage, such as hedge trees, or bamboo, easily shields your home from sound. This is because it has trouble curving around all the leaves and branches. Homes next to highways often use a combination of walls and tall hedge trees to seal off noise. My old highschool was surrounded by bamboo so local residents wouldn't complain. Expect it to take several months for bamboo to grow a wall thats able to totally seal off most noises, more for hedge trees.
Put more crap in your room. Sounds easily bounce off bare walls. Furniture and junk and stuff forces it to ricochet in a less direct path, losing energy. You should especially put crap in corners, because sounds like to bounce off them. Hard smooth things reflect sound well, soft eneven bumpy things deaden it.
-Noise cancellation earphones: expensive, but good if you can't modify your house.
-Earplugs: can block out lots of sound if combined with construction earmuffs (a combo which gunshooters use) or ear-covering headphones.
-Soft music playing in the background: won't eliminate the noise, but can help mask and divert your attention from small noises outside. Classical music can help you study.
Post edited on 22nd Feb 2012, 2:28am