You’ve probably landed on our website because you have a noise problem. Maybe the room you are concerned about has too many echoes, or the noise builds up to the point you can’t hear your students, colleagues or customers. This noise makes the room stressful to be in and long term, can affect your health. Essentially, your room has acoustics that are not suitable for it’s use.
The challenge is how to improve your room’s acoustics, to manage or reduce the sound within a room. This matters, as hearing is the one sense we can't ‘turn off’. We evolved outdoors with hearing as a defence mechanism (and it was a good thing we did, too), and loud noise triggers a physical ‘fight/flight’ response. Which is useful, when that loud noise is a bear running towards you in the woods.
However In the modern world many of us spend up to 90% of our time (thankfully bear free) indoors. In these environments, our constant exposure to unnatural noises at high levels creates stress, makes communication difficult, and can making listening nigh on impossible. Our ears and ability to process the noise we are hearing has simply not caught up yet with the barrage of sounds that we are surrounded by. And rooms made up of hard surfaces, such as many classrooms, offices or restaurants, just make it worse.
Hard surfaces such as concrete and glass mean the sound bounces around, and cannot ‘escape’ from the room. It builds up, and so we have to talk more loudly to be heard, which makes the room noisier, and so it goes on. We have all experienced this in a busy restaurant, where we can hear the conversation on the other side of the room, but not from the person opposite. We often just accept this at the time, but we don’t often go back to that restaurant, as we did not feel good while we were there.
All of this is easy to fix. Adding appropriate acoustic absorbers either to the ceiling or the walls, will absorb that excess noise, preventing it returning into the room. And with that, you have increased your sense of comfort and made the room a much more pleasant and healthy place to be. The classroom where the students can’t hear? It becomes a clear and calming space. That meeting room that is currently next to useless becomes a place of clear communication (and hopefully, shorter meetings. We all hate meetings).
If you would like to look at products that will improve your room acoustics, then perhaps you would like to....
If you have a little time, this video is a comprehensive explanation of the importance of acoustics indoors, focusing on education, healthcare and office environments. If you want a deeper dive into the science and research of room acoustics, check out our blog, or visit Acoustic Bulletin. The acoustics glossary of terms is a good place to start.