Tagged with 'sound'

FAQ: Open Office Noise Reduction - How Can This Work?

Open Office Noise Reduction


At Audimute, people frequently ask us if there is any way to provide open office noise reduction, and the answer is yes! Take the question from one of our customers below as an example:

Q: I work in a space that has several offices in which people are always talking on the phone and to students in person, causing a lot of open office noise. If doors are open or people are talking in the halls, sound just bounces off all of the parallel walls. There are very few sound absorbing things are in this area. What can we do to keep the noise down other than get a few plants and a few pillows on the couch?

A: Too much noise pollution can be distracting and increase stress levels. Introducing sound masking materials can soften open office noise, create a productive environment, and give individuals more cubicle privacy.

The simplest open office noise reduction solution would be acoustic panels. Acoustic panels placed around your office will help to reduce the reflection of sound off of the wall, in turn lowering the sound pressure levels in the room and stopping loud echoes and reverberations. In other words, these will help to make your space quieter and less chaotic sounding.

The general rule of thumb for an office space is to have 10-20% of your treatable wall surface treated with panels. You also want to have panels placed in areas that are going to be most beneficial, such as close to office doors and around desks. When installing these panels, try to place them about 3-6' off the floor – this is where most of the sound is both generated and heard so it will make the biggest impact on the sound.

For large scale applications such as this, we offer acoustic panel starter kits for both standard and large room sizes and deluxe package options. These bulk kits make purchasing a range of sizes easier and more affordable.

Audimute Acoustic Panels are designed for commercial and residential spaces. Acoustic Art Panels are available in standard and custom color prints, fabrics, and sizes that look great in any application. Call an Audimute Acoustic Specialist today at (866) 505-MUTE to discuss the best acoustic approach for your space.

Got a question for an Acoustic Specialist? Ask us anything!

Sound Health and You: How Loud is Too Loud?

Damaging sound levels

Whether it’s noise induced hearing loss or hearing changes with age, sound intensity and volume plays a prominent role in maintaining or altering hearing health.

Our lives are noisy and undeniably surrounded by sound. With so many sound frequencies hitting our ear drums, it’s important to know at what level sound becomes damaging.


So how loud is too loud?

Everyone experiences sound differently, making pain from noise volumes subjective. However, just because a sound doesn’t initially hurt someone’s ears doesn’t mean it isn’t doing irreversible damage.


According to Hear the World Foundation, “even low noise levels can trigger the release of stress hormones, leading to increased blood pressure. This in turn can lead to aggressive behavior and tensions in interactions with other people, as well as an increased risk of stroke, heart attack, and tinnitus.”1

Bottom line, sound levels affect us in many ways – most of which are overlooked.

Common Sound Pressure Ratings:

Sound level intensity is measured in decibels (dB). When a sound increases by 10 dB, our ears perceive it as twice as loud, meaning 50 dB is twice as loud as 40dB. A normal conversation rating is 60dB. Here are eight common sound pressure ratings:

     • Normal conversation - 60 dB

     • Heavy city traffic - 85 dB

     • Motorcycles - 95 dB

     • Metal shop – 100 dB

     • MP3 player max volume - 105 dB

     • Chainsaw – 120 dB

     • Sirens – 120 dB

     • Firecrackers and firearms - 150 dB

Using an adapted example from Hear the World Foundation, imagine you and a friend are standing 3 feet apart:

     • At 70 dB, a conversation can be held at normal volume

     • At 90 dB, conversational voices must be raised

     • At 100 dB, a conversation must be shouted

     • From 105 dB and above, conversation is no longer possible1

The maximum recommended sound level intensity time per day is 8 hours at 85 db, roughly the sound of a busy street. For every 3 dB noise pressure increase, that maximum exposure time is cut in half, meaning at 95 dB (around the recorded level of factory work) the recommendation is only 4 hours.

So how can your hearing be protected?

Protect Your Hearing

Wearing protective gear like ear muffs or installing soundproofing and acoustic treatments can make all the difference in the longevity of your hearing health.

Do you live in the city? Do you live near an airport, fire station, or factory? Do you work in a repair shop, manufacturing plant, or around loud machinery? You can block or absorb sound waves before they’re able to reach and injure your ears with powerful solutions like:

     • Acoustic panels

     • Acoustic tiles

     • Acoustic ceiling clouds and baffles

     All of these sound solutions can be completely customized to fit your space, style, and needs.

Want to incorporate soundproofing into a space you’re building? Check out Peacemaker®, Audimute’s versatile sound barrier. Made from recycled rubber, Peacemaker offers both the professional and DIY builder an easy to install, reasonably light, and very effective noise barrier.

It’s impossible to always avoid dangerous sound level intensity, but it is possible to protect yourself from it.

If you’re ready to protect your hearing health at home or work, but you’re unsure where to start, call an Acoustic Specialist today at (866) 505-MUTE for personalized advice.


Resources:

1 Hear the World Foundation. “How Loud is Too Loud? When Does Noise Become Dangerous?” Accessed April 26, 2016. http://www.hear-the-world.com/en/hearing-and-hearing-loss/noise-how-loud-is-too-loud.html.

 

 

 

The Effects of a Noisy Classroom

Noisy classroom sound solutions

A noisy classroom environment can limit the academic success of today’s students. Children are not as skilled as adults at staying focused when distractions of any kind ensure – especially sound distractions.

Children with normal hearing can miss as much as 1/3 of the words in a teacher’s message when they are listening in an environment with poor acoustics, according to ClassroomHearing.org.1 An even greater percentage of the teacher’s message is lost when a child already suffers from hearing difficulties and loss.

To remedy a noisy, distracting classroom, effective sound-absorbing acoustic treatments can benefit all children and promote a thriving learning environment for both student and teacher.

Why do classrooms have poor acoustics? 

The acoustical problems found inside classrooms happen because of the hard, reflective surfaces and problematic background noise. Classrooms use hard surfaces, like desks and chalk boards, because they are easy to clean and care for. These hard surfaces cause excessive reverberations which can muffle a teacher’s speech, preventing children from clearly comprehending a teacher’s message.

Background noise can also be distracting in the classroom. Noise traveling through doors and windows, either from the street or neighboring classrooms, can be very distracting for young students. In addition the outside noise, HVAC systems and other service elements within the classroom can create more unwanted noise.

Both students and teachers suffer in classroom environments with excessive noise and reverberation. Teachers are forced to speak louder in these environments to ensure that the noise is not interfering with their students’ learning skills. Teachers suffer from voice fatigue and children suffer from an unproductive learning environment.

Sound Solutions for ClassroomsNoisy classroom soundproofing

Classroom noise does not have to be something schools simply deal with. There are solutions, both big and small, that administrators can implement to reduce problematic classroom noise. Noise from reverberation is usually easy to fix; simply adding soft materials – like blankets and curtains – to the walls and ceilings will make a significant difference. For a reliable and effective acoustic solution, NRC (Noise Reduction Coefficient) rated products, like Audimute’s acoustic panels, acoustic tiles, and acoustic clouds and baffles will provide consistent sound absorption in the classroom.

Doors and windows can either be replaced entirely or sealed off with a product like Audimute’s door seal kit. Sound travels through the air gaps that surround the doors and windows. To check for these gaps turn off the lights in the hallways and leave the classroom lights on, the gaps will be then be apparent.

Treating the noise from an HVAC system is slightly more problematic. HVAC units can either be enclosed or replaced entirely with a quieter system. The goal is to have an HVAC system that produces an optimum noise level, which is typically 35 dBA in a classroom.

Classroom noise can inhibit students’ academic success and create unnecessary stress for teachers. If you are an administrator dealing with classroom noise, we can help. Give our sound solution experts a call at 866-505-MUTE, or check our resource center for classroom acoustics for additional noise reduction tips.

Audimute Acoustic Panels + Award-Winning Musician, Jerry Jean

Jerry Jean music

As a company born from the love of music and sound, we catch ourselves these days living vicariously through musicians who release their one-of-a-kind art and sound into the world. It’s always an honor to learn that our acoustic panels are helping musicians create desired sounds and aid in their artistic process.

We caught up with Jerry Jean, a New York City based award-winning songwriter, arranger, producer, and musician. Read what he had to say about his path to becoming a musician and his experience with Audimute’s acoustic panels:



Q. Tell us about your path to becoming a songwriter and music producer.


A. I took violin and piano lessons from a young age and went to NYU to study vocal performance. Upon graduation, I worked as a freelance musician in New York, playing shows and contributing keyboards and strings on both indie and major label records. I also coached singers frequently and taught music theory at my alma mater. Although I was grateful making a living as a musician, I did not feel I was leaving a tangible record of my own music. So in 2010, I expanded my focus to encompass writing and producing. I’ve since released 3 EPs, and am currently working on my first solo full-length album.



Q. Tell us about your songwriting process. Where do you find creativity and inspiration?


A. Sometimes there is no predetermined subject, and I simply begin by improvising while singing at the piano. I let the subconscious determine the song as I play novel chord changes and vocalize whatever comes out: spontaneous refrains, wordless melismas, whatever. It's a rather vulnerable, private practice. I record these explorations on my phone, listen back, rinse and repeat. Other times, I set out to encapsulate a predetermined emotion, vibe, or event taken from life experience, either from my own or from what I observe from other people. When the song's seed is predetermined, the process will still go back to the improvisatory method I mentioned previously. These explorations are ultimately refined into the lyrics and music that win out.



Q. What is important to you when you start to produce a new sound or a song?


A. It’s important to be genuine, and to create something that can stand the test of time. This means investing effort and money not only to improving the songwriting and performance in the songs, but also to the technical aspects of proper recording, mixing, etc.



Q. You use acoustic panels on your studio wall. When did you realize you needed to improve the acoustics in your studio?


A. I installed the panels in late 2011, shortly after deciding to convert my spare room into my studio. The room was initially full of undesired reverberations. When I was coaching singers and they sang loud notes, the entire room shook with reverb. Although singers sometimes enjoyed this phenomenon, I knew it would be detrimental when recording since I wouldn’t be able to remove the excessive sound reflections. I ultimately installed 8 large Audimute panels. They have a stylish aesthetic, and are totally functional.



Q. How do acoustic panels help you achieve a desired sound?


A. The paneling effectively absorbs the unwanted reverb. Combined with my room’s carpeting and furnishings, the panels keep the sound controlled to my taste. More paneling would dampen sound reflections even more, but I wanted to maintain a modest element of liveness in the room so didn't go overboard with coverage.



Q. What successes have you seen as a result of using Audimute's acoustic panels?


A. My song Your Love, created completely in my music room, was a winner in the International Songwriting Competition. It now has over 50,0000 views online, and the Audimute panels can be seen in the studio performance video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KYymQbVah54.


My EPs Your Love and Fighting For You have both charted on iTunes, and I’m steadily improving my craft with each new project. Since setting up my studio, I haven’t had to make any adjustments to the paneling, and it remains an integral part of my daily listening environment. Not being bogged down with technical issues like proper room treatment allows me to focus my energies on making music and growing as a writer / producer. While working on my new full-length record, I’ve recorded live strings, horns, vocals, acoustic basses and guitars in my studio. The panels help me obtain clean recordings during each session while making listening back more accurate. Visually, they also complement the vibe of the room.



To learn more about Jerry, connect with him below:



Official website: http://www.jerryjean.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jerryjeanmusic

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/jerryjeanmedia

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/jerryjeanmusic

How and When To Use isolé®

You know you have a sound issue. However, you're not sure if you need to block or absorb the sound. Sound absorption and sound blocking are two very different principles. Using sound absorption in a space will help to improve the sound quality by limiting sound reflections, reducing echo and reverberation. Sound blocking, on the other hand, will help to ensure that sound is not traveling through any shared walls, floors, or ceilings. Most acoustic problems can be treated by utilizing either sound absorption or sound blocking. But what do you do if you need both? That’s where isolé® comes in.

Originally designed to block sound traveling through shared hotel room doors for The Ritz-Carlton, isolé is a two-in-one sound solution, providing elements of both sound absorption and sound blocking. Each isolé consists of a layer of our eco-C-tex sound absorption material, along with a layer of our Peacemaker® Sound Barrier, which is a recycled tire rubber barrier designed to block sound transmission. Isolé’s 36” x 82” size should be perfect for most door applications.

Although isolé was designed specifically for doors, its applications go far beyond just door treatment. Isolé can be a perfect option for window treatment. The layer of Peacemaker included in the isolé will help to provide mass and density to a window. Three metal grommets make installing isolé over a window a snap!


Isolé can also be an effective solution for rehearsal spaces. Using isolé on any shared walls will help to reduce the amount of sound exiting your space, while also improving the sound quality inside your rehearsal space.

If you have any questions about isolé or treating your space, please feel free to fill out an online analysis form, or contact any of our Acoustic Specialists!