Benefits of acoustic design

90% of our time is spent indoors, on average. So room acoustics play a central role in our comfort and well-being, as well as our overall experience of the space. A positive acoustic environment helps us to communicate, to concentrate, and to be more mindful in our daily lives, whether it’s at work, in school or playing in the nursery.

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Acoustics enhance our health

Sound is literally all around us. It’s constantly shaping the way we experience our surroundings. Numerous studies show how sound influences our performance, our state-of-mind and our health. In fact, that “untreated sound” can lead to higher blood pressure and higher stress levels – the opposite of the relaxed, calm, comfortable vibe we want from our indoor environments.

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Sound can even make our food taste different!

Sound even affects our taste buds. Loud background noise has been found to suppress the intensity of food tastes such as sweetness or saltiness . This might explain why people often say aeroplane food has very little taste – because of the constant engine noise in the background. But while we might be prepared to put up with tasteless food in the sky, we shouldn’t need to endure it on the ground.

Good architecture needs good acoustics

Good acoustics means good architecture, particularly as more people recognise the key role that sound plays in our comfort, wellbeing and performance. A successful space is one where the visual and acoustic elements are coherent and balanced. Take an airport departure lounge. Its high ceilings and hard, reflecting surfaces create a noisy, exciting atmosphere – which is what people expect. But use the same acoustic design for a classroom, and the impact would be very different.

Understand the basics of acoustic design

Sound moves in all directions. From their source, sound waves move out in all directions like ripples in the water. Understand that, and you can use acoustic gypsum ceilings and tiles to control sound like any other element in your designs.

  • absorb sound – take the energy out of a sound wave
  • diffuse sound – send it on a longer journey, to lose energy
  • reflect sound – forward it quickly before it loses energy

Learn more about how you can treat sound with our perforated gypsum boards. 

Top 3 tips to get the best out of acoustic materials

To get the best out of an acoustic material, like gypsum ceilings or tiles, you need to consider three critical factors:

  1. Absorption profile: How much sound does the material absorb at different sound frequencies? This is measured in a lab and expressed as an alpha value or NRC value. The goal is to have an even absorption profile – because you want all sound frequencies to lose energy at the same time.

  2. Reverberation time: How much of the material is needed to achieve a given reverberation time in a room? Reverberation time is the time needed for the sound to lose energy by 60dB. It’s often calculated and expressed in seconds.

  3. Placement: Knowing that sound moves in all directions, where is the best place to put the acoustic material? Our studies show that in a classroom you can achieve the same reverberation time and use 10% less acoustic material, if you place acoustic material equal to 15% of the ceiling surface on the walls, rather than just covering the ceiling.
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Why is perforated gypsum such an effective acoustic material?

Perforated gypsum materials absorb sound through their perforation holes and have a very even absorption profile. Thanks to their robustness, perforated acoustic panels can be placed on both ceilings and walls. You can also curve or fold the panels to create complex shapes to suit any space you need.

Take a look at our Acoustic Guide to better sound treatment in different types of room.