4 Common Noise Problems and How to Solve Them with Acoustic Panels
The ear, one of the five senses of the human body, allows our interaction with sound, a crucial factor for daily communication and much more. It’s common to hear people say that a place is noisy, but what exactly is the definition of noisy? Known as situations with unwanted sounds that interfere with daily activities, noisy places also have the potential to negatively interfere with the development of society.
Sound is measured in decibels (dB), and humans can withstand an average maximum noise level of 85 dB without risking hearing damage. While a conversation typically hovers between 60 and 70 dB, according to the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, workers on a construction site are exposed to an average of 90 dB over eight-hour periods.
Acoustical Surfaces, a company specializing in noise control, has developed a product guide to minimize sound transmission, thus promoting healthier lifestyles.
Before planning a solution to a specific noise problem, the first step is to identify its nature. First, it is important to determine if the problem is coming from inside or outside the building. In the case of exterior noise, it usually comes from specific sources such as large machines or equipment.
The treatment of external sound problems can be managed through different products. For example, fiberglass padded curtains act as noise-absorbing barriers that are customized to suppress outside noise.
When designing a space that has an atmosphere distinctly separate from the outside, such as the renovation of the Bløm Meadworks bar, stopping noise from entering is crucial. In the case of Synecdoche Design Studio, the designers installed Sound Silencer Panels directly on the walls to create a unique experience inside the project. Following the same strategy, Corsini Stark Architects renovated the Ayzenberg Group offices in Pasadena, United States. Inside the panels, the new offices control outside sound without interfering with the work going on inside.
Through a sound-absorbing echo barrier, unwanted noises coming from outside are canceled out through the lightweight, reusable panels. Easy to use and install, these panels provide high durability and acoustic performance, especially for events that require quick acoustic solutions.
Managing noise problems within a building begins with determining whether the goal is to reduce echo within a room or to block sound from entering/exiting.
Unlike reverberation, which is caused by sound being carried within surfaces that are relatively close together, echo reflects sound that bounces off a surface that is farther away than a wall or ceiling in a room. Before choosing the right type of acoustic treatment for a project, it is important to analyze the future use of the room and the type of noise that may cause problems.
The question that remains is how to get rid of echo inside a building. Although architectural projects play with a variety of solutions, the implementation of acoustic panels and baffles to eliminate echo is a common approach. Both The Schoolhouse renovation project that transformed an 1894 New Orleans schoolhouse into apartments and the design of the Elinor Bunin Monroe Film Center apply this strategy to indoor noise control. Along with echo eliminators, interiors can incorporate different products such as PolyMax panels, ceiling clouds or wood fiber acoustical ceiling and wall panels.
Indoor noise problems also include blocking or reducing a room’s sound transmission, which can be remedied by treating windows, walls, ceilings, and floors. When windows are closed, noise generally enters through the airflow around their corners. Application of the Climate Seal window insert can allow windows to be framed and sealed, reducing noise.
When sound passes through walls, there are two types of approaches: modify the construction or add panels to the wall. Wall mount modification is considered the best performing strategy and can be accomplished using products such as RSIC-1 clips, Soundbreak plates, Ultratouch denim insulation, or green glue coatings.
Roofs are affected by airborne noise and impact noise. Airborne noise refers to the transmission of sound waves (people talking, radios or televisions), while impact noise is produced by objects hitting the ground (walking, jumping, falling objects). Both of these problems can be solved by using drop ceilings, drywall ceilings, and exposed joists.
As for the floors, the reduction of impact energy with acoustic panels reduces the transmission of noise through its construction system.
Acoustic surfaces are designed to help architects and future users combat both internal and external noise problems. With the application of these products, homes, offices, schools and recreational spaces can be healthier and more pleasant environments.
For more product information, visit the Acoustical Surfaces website.