Acoustic design and soundproofing are important considerations for almost every kind of building, from homes and schools to hospitals, workplaces, restaurants and even gyms. Acoustic building products can be used for a range of purposes, to block sound in homes, schools and hospitals and to improve acoustics in musical spaces, lecture halls and auditoriums. Acoustic wall coverings come in a variety of designs and colors that can add to the visual appeal of a building.
Why does soundproofing matter?
Soundproofing is more than just keeping sound out of spaces where it does not belong. It can also be about producing clear sound where it’s needed, as in recording studios and lecture halls. The importance of soundproofing and its multiple functions cannot be overstated.
Loud noises have adverse health and emotional impacts. Studies have found that prolonged exposure to noise about the level of 40 decibels can lead to heart disease. Noise levels over 85 decibels increase the risk of hearing loss. As well as the medical consequences, loud noises or even faint and continuous background noice disrupts concentration in schools and workplaces, leading to learning deficits and lower productivity.
How does soundproofing work?
Soundproofing is much more than the absence of sound. For instance, in a classroom, the goal is to eliminate outside noises and to make it easier for students to hear the teacher. Likewise in a recording studio or concert hall, the goal is to limit the sound within the space and keep it from leaking out. At the same time, the sound has to be clear, which means that echoes and distortion should be eliminated.
The two essentials to soundproofing are filling in gaps in structures and isolating spaces, leaving no room for sound travel from one space to another. The tactics used to achieve these can be described as adding mass, decoupling, damping and filling air gaps. Acoustic building products like soundproof wall panels and acoustic ceiling products are used to block and absorb sound as required for each space.
Who needs soundproofing?
Nearly every building designed for human activity needs soundproofing. For homes, soundproofing creates a comfortable and restful environment. For schools, soundproofing classrooms leads to better learning outcomes. Researchers have found that when hospital rooms are soundproofed, patient recovery is better and quicker.
Even for large spaces like open offices, gyms and restaurants, soundproofing improves communication by absorbing excess sound. Better concentration produces improved results, in the workplace and at the gym.
Acoustic building products like decorative laminates and ceiling clouds are used by designers and architects to improve the acoustic quality of buildings. Improved acoustic quality also leads to a better quality of life for the inhabitants of the building.