In today's busy and crowded world we look more and more to controlling the comfort of where we learn, work and socialise. We have been controlling the temperature and lighting levels of our building interiors for many years, but only recently have we begun to look at controlling noise.
Controlling noise in the areas we work ad learn is just as important as controlling the light and temperature - an architect would never neglect to provide lighting in a classroom or an office building, and nor should they neglect to consider noise.
There are two basic types of noise that should be considered: Reverberated Noise (reflection and persistence of sound in a room); and Sound Transmission (noise from outside the room coming in, and visa versa).
can be controlled by using acoustic insulation in the wall and ceiling cavities of a room. This will help reduce the noise coming into a room from outside, and also reduce the noise generated from inside the room carrying through the walls and ceiling cavity and into other rooms.
can be controlled by increasing the absorption in a room and can be accomplished by adding more "soft" materials such as fabric wall panels, carpet, acoustic ceiling tiles and acoustic wall coverings.
Why is controlling reverberated noise so important?
Until recently acoustic ceiling tiles have been the most readily available and easiest means of controlling reverberated noise. Now you have a choice!
Kram Wall Carpet is an acoustic wall covering that has been designed specifically to reduce reverberated noise and is providing architects and interior designs with great design freedom and flexibility in the way they address 'noise' in building interiors.
Just like shouting into a canyon and hearing your voice answer a second later - echoes also occur in rooms (albeit more quickly). Say a teachers voice is continuously echoing off the back wall of a classroom, each echo will interfere with the next word - making the lecture difficult to understand. And, obviously the more people talking, the more echoing and the harder it becomes to hear and understand (ie noisy classroom).
Numerous international studies have recognised the importance of addressing the Noisy Classroom Syndrome and typically these studies suggest classrooms should be designed with sufficient sound-absorbing material to reduce the reverberation time to half a second.
The same is true for other areas we work and socialise in. Most of us would have been to a cafe or restaurant where acoustics have been ignored. Hard flooring and flat painted walls and ceilings all reflect sound, and with half a dozen people chatting, it can become quite noisy. As more people talk, the noise level lifts and people have to talk louder to be heard and understood.
The more people, the louder is gets. And the louder it gets, the louder people have to talk to be head, and so on.
This is known as the "cafe affect" and the solution is simple - increase the amount of absorptive material in the room so the sound is absorbed, not reflected.