Can architecture heal? The power of good acoustics in healthcare facilities

Sound is like water: It will always find the path of least resistance. Poor indoor acoustics can quickly turn sound into a significant disturbance for building occupants, damaging their physical and psychological health. For this reason, acoustic design is crucial in ensuring a good indoor climate. How a building makes you feel is just as important as how it looks, especially in healthcare facilities where a noisy environment can affect patient well-being.

The role of healing architecture

From chronic stress to blood pressure issues, noise can turn from slightly annoying to sickening when not addressed. It is an unwanted scenario in any building, especially in medical institutions where patients are supposed to heal - not get worse. Healthcare facilities typically have many rooms of varying purposes and noise levels. Combined with loud medical equipment, this creates a unique acoustic challenge. 

Architectural design that regards these concerns and minimises noise exposure can create a much more welcoming environment for patients. Good acoustics secure patient privacy, improve sleep quality and stimulate healing. Architectural design, then, works as therapeutic or healing architecture.

Healing architecture aims to create a nurturing and therapeutic environment for the patients by eliminating poor lighting, unpleasant interior, bad air quality and poor acoustics. Infection control is prioritised in the architectural design of hospitals and clinics, as it should. But as the impact of overall indoor climate is understood better, acoustic design is also gaining more attention.

Complying with acoustic requirements

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a maximum of 35 dB of noise during the day and 30 dB at night in patient rooms for optimised acoustic comfort. Noise is increasingly more regarded in building regulations and requirements. Minimum or prerequisite acoustic requirements are set in most modern building standards. 

For example, for buildings in Germany, architects and acoustic engineers have to comply with DIN 18041, which includes requirements and recommendations for acoustic design in offices, classrooms and other rooms with a room volume of up to about 5000 m3.

How well the specific acoustic requirements can be accommodated will depend on the chosen acoustic materials and products. They must fit a room’s or building’s purpose to absorb noise and bounce back the right sounds.

Acoustic metrics such as Noise Reduction Coefficient (NRC), Sound Transmission Class (STC) and Ceiling Attenuation Class (CAC) help assess the capabilities of acoustic materials. NRC indicates the ability of a material to absorb sound in the speech frequency range (250-2000 Hz), STC measures the efficiency of a wall to prevent sound transmission, and CAC specifies the capability of a ceiling to prevent sound from passing.

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The Sound of Life: learn more about acoustic design

In this ebook, you can dive deeper into how acoustics affect our everyday lives no matter where we spend our time: at home, at work or at school. Learn how important it is to consider the acoustic properties of the materials you choose to install, and how you can ensure the optimal design from the beginning of the design phase.

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Improving the acoustic performance for patient well-being at Endo Dental Clinic

Endo Dental Clinic in Brussels, Belgium, improved the indoor climate for its employees and patients by implementing acoustic ceilings made from perforated gypsum.

The challenge: An acoustic design with health benefits and visual appeal

A comfortable, welcoming environment is vital to the well-being of both patients and staff in medical facilities. Research shows that patients' recovery time is 15% shorter when in bright, sunny rooms while removing noise distractions in workplaces reduces stress by 27%. 

An excellent indoor climate consists of light, air (temperature and quality) and sound. The suitable acoustic materials should support all three and have indoor climate certification on particle emissions, VOC and formaldehyde. 

Understanding this, Endo Dental Clinic sought out an innovative solution to improve its office’s acoustics. The clinic’s main goal was to create a healthier, quieter atmosphere throughout the building. The acoustic solution needed to be easy to implement or adjust should the need arise. What the acoustic materials were made from also mattered to maintain a healthy indoor climate.

  • Create a quieter, calmer atmosphere with acoustic ceilings. Knauf DANOLINE acoustic gypsum ceilings absorb up to 90% of the sound that hits their surface. More on Contur+
  • Create a quieter, calmer atmosphere with acoustic ceilings. Knauf DANOLINE acoustic gypsum ceilings absorb up to 90% of the sound that hits their surface. More on Contur+
  • Create a quieter, calmer atmosphere with acoustic ceilings. Knauf DANOLINE acoustic gypsum ceilings absorb up to 90% of the sound that hits their surface. More on Contur+
  • Acoustic demountable lay-in tile with Unity 3 perforation pattern. More on Contur+
  • Create a quieter, calmer atmosphere with acoustic ceilings. Knauf DANOLINE acoustic gypsum ceilings absorb up to 90% of the sound that hits their surface. More on Contur+

The solution: Fully demountable acoustic ceilings from perforated gypsum

Endo Dental Clinic solved its acoustic challenges by implementing acoustic tiles made from perforated gypsum. Specifically, Contur+ product line with Unity 3 perforation pattern from Knauf DANOLINE was picked because of its acoustic qualities and easy maintenance.

The acoustic tiles were installed in a concealed T-grid. The solution offers a monolithic yet fully demountable surface with perforations extending to the edge of the tile. Contur+ acoustic tiles are typically installed below the T-grid, requiring only 63mm installation depth. The product is tested and approved as a ventilation ceiling with a concealed air inlet.

Acoustic environment, air quality and aesthetics are equally crucial for the comfort of staff and patients in a healthcare facility. Therefore, it is vital to choose materials that are simple in their design, are made of a healthy, safe material and have excellent sound absorption. This makes gypsum an ideal material for clinics and hospitals. 

The result: A calm, quiet environment with impressive aesthetics

With the new acoustic design, Endo Dental Clinic improved the indoor climate and added that extra aesthetic element to the interior. The new acoustic ceilings absorb sound just enough to create a quiet yet welcoming environment for employees and patients. 

Knauf DANOLINE acoustic gypsum ceilings absorb up to 90% of the sound that hits their surface. The tiles also work to diffuse light and will maintain their aesthetic qualities over time.


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If you want to see, touch, and try out our Danoline products, you can order a product sample here. All our ceilings and walls are sustainable, certified and easy to install.

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All life comes with a soundtrack

Knauf DANOLINE perforated gypsum panels provide proven acoustic comfort with a low-gloss surface that softly diffuses daylight throughout the room. Our acoustic ceilings and walls help create bright, comfortable rooms with timeless design. This feature is essential in healthcare facilities where surroundings have an immense impact on the well-being of patients.

Gypsum is a natural material that does not emit poisonous dust into the air. The acoustic tiles made from gypsum are easily implemented with minimum debris, further contributing to a healthy work environment.

Each building has its own life and soundtrack. The purpose of acoustic design is to find it. Knauf DANOLINE acoustic ceilings not only get top marks for acoustic performance, air, and aesthetics. They are also made from a natural, 100% recyclable material — with each board consisting of up to 30% recycled gypsum.

Create a healthy, vibrant acoustic environment with Knauf DANOLINE acoustic solutions - you won’t have to choose between functionality, aesthetics, and sustainability in your building.

Our local consultants are ready to help you

Do you want to know more about the design possibilities and the acoustical properties of our products? Get in touch, and our local Area Sales Manager will help guide you and answer any questions you might have.

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