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Tips for Better Sleep In a Noisy Environment

Tips for Better Sleep in a Noisy Environment

In this week’s "Talking Acoustics”, Audimute’s acoustic specialist, Rick, discusses 5 inexpensive Tips for Better Sleep. We all know that sleep can be beneficial for many things including:

  • Lowering stress
  • Promoting a healthy weight
  • Improving memory retention
  • Living longer

However, for most adults a well rested night of sleep can be difficult to come by especially when trying to sleep in a Noisy Environment.  Sleeping in noise does not have to be something you’re forced to deal with and we want to give you some quick and easy Tips for Better Sleep.

  1. Seal Off Any Air Gaps

    Air passage ways, around your doors and windows, allow noise to transfer into your bedroom which can be disruptive to your sleep. Sealing off your doors and windows with weather stripping or our Door Seal Kit can greatly reduce the amount of noise interrupting your rest.

  2. Get a White Noise Generator

    A white noise generator will fool your brain into not hearing noise. Also, the low hum from a white noise machine will help sooth your mind to sleep. The best white noise generator to use is your bedroom fan!

  3. Block Out Light

    It is also important to block out disruptive light from your sleeping space. Light is so disruptive to sleep that an alarm clock was invented to gradually bring light into your bedroom as a means of waking you up. To ensure a night of restful sleep, make sure you turn off and block out all the lights in your bedroom.

  4. Communicate and Set Boundaries

    If you are living in an apartment or condo talking with your neighbors and establishing a time for noise making can be extremely helpful. If you are having a large party or planning to practice your drums ask your neighbors what time works well for their sleep schedule and hopefully they will do the same for you.

  5. Try to Relax

    Finally prepare yourself for sleep by concentrating on staying awake. This psychological game actually makes you feel drowsy and helps you fall asleep faster.

For more Tips for Better Sleep in a Noisy Environment watch the video below or give us a call, 866-505-MUTE, and one of our Acoustic Specialists will be happy to assist you. Stay tuned for next week’s Talking Acoustics video.

Ask Audimute - Blocking The Sounds Of Barking Dogs

Rob B. Asks:

We have a barking dog downstairs in our apt that is left outside a lot. Of course, our windows are cheap. The dog has a middle to high-pitched bark. Suggestions on which product? Thanks

Our Advice:

Since the dog is outside of your window you have a couple of different options. Using our Absorption Sheets can help reduce the amount of sounds entering your apartment. However they were not designed to block sound only to absorb sound, so you will likely need multiple layers.

The best option would most likely be Isolé, which is a two-in-one sound solution that offers not just sound absorption but sound barrier as well. This will be more effective at blocking the sounds of barking dogs, allowing you to get a better nights sleep. One thing to be aware of with isolé™ is its size; if you're window is any wider than 36" isolé will be too small to effectively stop the sound from entering your space. You will either need to use two isolé or use the Absorption Sheets layered.

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!

FAQ: How To Control Office Echo

Office echo can turn a simple conference call into a noisy mess. Find out how solutions such as wall panels and acoustic ceiling products can reduce this noise pollution for better communication in the workplace:

Q:           We have a 12' x 12' conference room that is glass on 3 walls and drywall on one. The ceiling is also drywall and there is carpet on the floor. As you can imagine, this room is an echo chamber and doesn't work very well for conference calls. I'm thinking of installing some acoustic panels on the one wall with drywall on either side of the 60" mounted television. Will this make much difference? How can I cut down on the office echo?

A:            We get questions about offices like this a lot. A room echo makes it hard to focus when you’re in the same room, let alone on a conference call. Whether you’re trying to do business with new clients or open up the lines of communication among a team over a phone call, it can be hard to manage when the room echoes the conversation back over the receiver.>

You are right to think that some Acoustic Panels will help in this room. Having panels on just one wall, however, will most likely not be enough. Panels work to absorb high pitch frequencies and reverberation, but with so many untreatable walls remaining you may want to explore acoustic ceiling products as well.

We offer both ceiling clouds and ceiling baffles specifically for spaces that don’t have enough treatable wall space. Baffles hang vertically from the ceiling and tend to work best in larger rooms with tall ceilings. Ceiling Clouds can be positioned over the table to keep sounds from bouncing off of the hard tabletop, up to the ceiling, and over to the walls. It can also help to absorb sounds that are reflected off of the glass and towards the ceiling.

A combination of fabric sound panels and acoustical clouds should be enough to take the harsh reverb out of the room and reduce office echo to make it much easier to hold a conversation and conference call.

If you’re having echo issues in your home or office, check out our acoustical ceiling solutions and acoustic art panels, or call an Acoustic Specialist at (866) 505-MUTE for personalized advice.

FAQ: How To Reduce Traffic Noise

Open windows and balconies on busy streets can cause almost unlivable home, apartment, and condo noise. In this blog, we explain how to reduce traffic noise using acoustic panels.

Q:           My wife and I own a condo on the sixth floor of a building that fronts a busy street. We’re looking to learn how to reduce traffic noise on our balcony, which spans 2/3 of the width of our condo. I believe that the bulk of the noise is reflected from the balcony ceiling. The balcony decks are concrete, and the ceiling of our balcony is the underside of the deck above. Our ceiling is unfinished, and I am reluctant to drill into the concrete, so would prefer an adhesive application. The ceiling is 27' wide and 5'4" deep. The balconies are partially enclosed (Lexan panels on the lower half, screens on the upper) and the ceiling is largely protected from the weather, although in heavy rains some moisture will penetrate a few inches from the outside edge of the ceiling due to runoff from the deck above. Any help quieting our condo noise is appreciated.

A:            How to reduce traffic noise is a common question Audimute is asked. You are correct is assuming that a bulk of the condo noise is being reflected off of the ceiling of your balcony, and using absorption here will definitely help to reduce the amount of sound that is built up within your space.

Since the bottom half of the balcony is Lexan this, too, is helping to hold the reflected sound in and causing the sound pressure levels to build up. Treating the ceiling is most definitely the right way to go.

We would suggest our lightweight AcoustiColor™ flexible design acoustics for a custom color choice or natural sound absorbing wall tiles for a muted appearance. Made from our eco-C-tex recycled material, these lightweight frameless panel options are custom painted instead of fabric wrapped and can be mounted on the ceiling using a heavy duty construction adhesive instead of drilling holes into the concrete. It’s important to note that eco-C-tex is not designed for outdoor applications, but will hold up in situations where it is shielded from the harsher elements.

On a ceiling this size, a 12 pack of the 2'x4' panels would help to reduce the reflection off of the ceiling enough to make a noticeable difference. Keep in mind, though, that absorption materials will not eliminate the sound but help to reduce the build up of sound in the balcony causing your condo noise, resulting in what should be a quieter and more enjoyable space.

If you’re looking for how to reduce traffic noise in your home, check out our natural and custom colored eco-C-tex tiles, or call an Acoustic Specialist at (866) 505-MUTE for personalized advice.

FAQ: How To Modify Open Floor Plan Acoustics

Open floor plan acoustics can determine how well you’re able to enjoy your home or office. Before modifying your social space, consider the importance of soundproofing open floor plan homes.

Q:           We are doing a see-through fireplace in our contemporary home. It will be a prominent feature in the open space. Because of all the hard surfaces and the ceiling height I'm hoping we can come up with some way to incorporate acoustical properties since this is happening in a social space of our home. What type of treatment or product would you suggest?

A:            We love the open floor plan trend, but the exposed hard surfaces can cause a lot of sound issues - especially when you modify it even more with a see-through fireplace. There’s no need to sacrifice your design vision as long as you incorporate open floor plan acoustics.

The key is to break up your large reflective surfaces with soft absorbing materials. If you have carpet or drapes in the space, you’ve already made some improvements, but even if those are in your design they won’t get the whole job done. The best approach to soundproofing open floor plan homes is soft acoustic panels.

Acoustic panels placed throughout your space are designed to break up these surfaces and soak up echo, reverberation, and mid to high range frequencies. This creates a calm atmosphere where clear conversation can happen, perfect for social and entertaining space. We typically recommend starting by treating 10-25% of your total wall space, and building your open floor plan acoustics up from there until you achieve you desired sound.

The core of Audimute acoustic art panels, fabric sound panels, and all of our custom and signature panels are made from our recycled eco-C-tex™ material with an NRC rating of 1.0 for excellent sound absorption. All of our panels include hanging brackets, making soundproofing open floor plan homes as quick as mixing and matching colors, sizes, fabrics, and images to accent your fireplace centerpiece.

We have found that when working with contemporary homes and open floor plan acoustics it is often best to have a couple of photos to help us to get an idea of the space and how the sound might be moving in it. For more information about treating your space, give our Acoustic Specialist team a call at (866) 505-6883 today for personalized advice.

Check out this video from an Audimute Acoustic Specialist for more tips on noise control in open home floor plans:

A Buyer's Guide for Beginner Drum Sets: What to Look for When Buying Your First Drum Set

 

From how to install acoustic sound panels to what to look for when buying your first drum set, Audimute Acoustic Specialists answer it all. With the holidays around the corner, our specialists created a buyer’s guide for beginner drum sets to make shopping for your new drummer a little easier.

 

Buying Your First Drum Set

When purchasing a new “beginner kit,” it’s important to understand it is unlikely to hold up throughout the rigors of new students who isn’t not well-versed in the “do’s and don’ts” of how to handle a kit yet. Ultimately, if this kit is ruined, the value of the instrument and its ability to function is ruined also.

 

Beginner kit resale value is important because your young drummer will either:

• graduate to a more sophisticated instrument

• lose interest in playing altogether

 

Either way, what to look for when buying your first drum set is a beginner kit that will net you an 80 to 100% return on investment, which isn’t an unreasonable goal if you’ve done you’re research and shopped smart. A good approach is to figure out just what you’re willing to shell out and look at the used market based on that figure.

 

Used Kit Shopping Guidelines:

 

 

Manufacturer: No buyer’s guide for beginner drum sets would be complete without mentioning the top drum brands. There are a lot of good companies out there making decent entry level stuff that sounds good, holds up well, & holds resale value (specifically, Pearl, Yamaha, Mapex, and Tampa). With any manufacture, make sure all drums have top and bottom heads – this is everything to do with sound quality and resale value.

 

Size: You want to make sure that the bass drum & toms can be of a size that will most comfortably fit your drummer. Really young – or height & reach-challenged students – will require smaller diameters & depths (mounted toms) to ensure the best practice & eliminate a lot of frustration.

  Average sets found on display at your local stores will be;

Bass drums: 20” to 22”

Mounted toms from 10” to 13”, & depths from 8” to 11” or even 12”

 

When talking about size, what to look for when buying your first drum set is your child’s physical ability to “get around” it. This includes seat height, which may present a challenge depending upon how adjustable the drum throne is. This is where it all begins, so a wobbly, unstable seat will really mess up your student’s balance and control.

 

If your child is 4’ tall or under, make sure that when they sit, the upper legs are just above a 90% angle, with their feet solidly on the floor. This is when the real measuring begins. Next, and only after seating has been established, look at reach. Your student’s arm length should never have to be fully extended to reach any part of the set. They should be able to reach the furthest object (cymbal, tom, etc.) and easily get back to a position of (roughly) a 90% angle from the forearms being vertical with the upper body.

 

Sometimes it’s even advisable to consider “holding off” adding toms over the bass drum, which is where they’re usually positioned. Either have the means to offset the toms, via floor stand, or (in extreme circumstances) consider not adding any mounted toms for the time being. No kid wants to hear that, but a functional core set up is important enough that waiting a little while to grow into it is a better than getting their technique screwed up because they had to “adjust” themselves to an uncomfortable, unnatural posture to accommodate the other stuff.

 

Hardware: What to look for when buying your first drum set is five key stands and mounts properly hold a drum set together.

• Hi Hat Stand: No compromises here, your stand needs to be sturdy. It takes a lot of abuse, just by its nature, and a cheap, too light-weight, off-brand model will breakdown & a waste of money. If the Hi Hat stand doesn’t seem right, opt to exclude it from the total purchase or negotiate a price that will give you some head room to purchase a replacement, soon than later. Again, resale value will hold up better.

• Bass drum foot pedal: Shopping for this is similar to shopping for your Hi Hat stand. Your student will need something sturdy that can take a hit. If your kit doesn’t come with a strong enough foot pedal, be sure to find one as soon as possible, as learning on a weak one does neither your practice nor your drum any favors.

Snare stand: Here you can get away with something less substantial. The drum sits on it – and unless it is subjected to brutal, foolish use, a light weight stand should suffice. As long as it’s in good, functional condition, you can save a few bucks here.

Cymbal stands: Two stands are a very good start; one for the bigger ride cymbal and one for a smaller crash cymbal. Again, these don’t have to be heavy duty, but avoid off- brand pieces or any stands that appear unstable.

A good way to start is by setting one stand up in what is called a boom stand function. This is where the top tier of the stand has an attachment that allows the “arm” (where the cymbal mounts) to be able to “boom” over to a more comfortable position to play. The second stand certainly can benefit from this design, but generally isn’t as necessary, so what is called a straight stand is okay, and again potentially lowers the cost.

Tom mounts: These hold the toms in place, either directly affixed to the top of the bass drum or on a separate stand. Your tom mounts should be reasonably heavy duty and adjustable for different position options. You can retrofit this item, sometimes very easily, or you may have to do some modifications.

 

Knowing what to look for when buying your first drum set ensures your student starts on the right track. Follow our buyer’s guide for beginner drum sets for the best equipment then check out some absorption sheets to soundproof your new practice space. We're happy to answer any of your acoustic questions - fill out a free room analysis form or call an Acoustic Specialist at (866) 505-MUTE for personalized advice about your practice space.

 

FAQ: Ways to Soundproof a Kennel

Q:           We are looking for ways to soundproof a kennel we run in Westchester, New York. Our ultimate goal is to acoustically treat the room enough to stop sound transfer from the animals into neighboring businesses. We have done some research into Noise Reduction Coefficient (NRC) and are interested in the highest NRC rating we can find. What are the sound absorption ratings of Audimute products that would be best for us?

A:            You are on the right track looking for solutions with high NRC ratings.  A lot of animal lovers come to Audimute looking for ways to soundproof a kennel, apartment, or home because of our sound absorption ratings. In a situation like this where the concern is loud, reflective noises like barking and ways to stop sound transfer, your solution is adding soft materials to the walls. The kennels we have worked with have found our absorption sheets, eco-C-tex™ panels, and fabric acoustic panels are the best ways to do this:

Audimute Sound Absorption Sheets have an NRC of .65, meaning they absorb about 65% of the sound. Because of their size, absorption sheets also help to cover more surface area, reducing a greater amount of hard reflective surfaces.

• Eco-C-tex™ AcoustiColor™ flexible design acoustics have an NRC of .95, making this material a more effective option over the sheets. We’ve expanded the size and color options of our eco-C-tex™ line – and even include shapes and letters – making it easy to treat spaces of any size, and ceilings if needed.

• Fabric Sound Panels have an NRC of 1.0, absorbing 100% of the sound that hits them, and come in a few options. Original metal framed fabric acoustic panels are great to install in the first point of contact, meaning where the first place most of the sound hits the wall, to break up the hard surface. In a space such as a kennel you may need a larger, full coverage application, which is exactly what our new frameless fabric panels are designed for. These panels butt up next to each other for large scale, high traffic applications. These make it easy to build up your acoustic treatment until you reach your desired result, and can put on the ceiling if necessary.

Each of these products works by soaking up the majority of mid to high range frequencies, echoes, and reverberation before these sounds have a chance to transfer through your shared wall space. Our panels and sheets are hand crafted in the USA from fire rated, eco-friendly materials. Please keep in mind that they are not specifically designed to get wet, so we recommend placing them above crate level in the upper half of the wall.

Stop looking for ways to soundproof a kennel and take charge of your sound and space today by ordering your frameless soundproofing fabric panels. If you would like to discuss your space and the best acoustic approach, call an Acoustic Specialist today at (866) 505-MUTE for personalized advice, no strings attached.

Effective Open Office Spaces: What’s Sound Got to do With it?

Noise solution for open office spaceOpen, collaborative office space seems to be the new way of life for most businesses. With walls, cubicles, and partitions stripped away, the idea is that:

• Employees benefit from free-flowing brainstorming and communication with colleagues

• Business objectives and pursuits become more innovative

• Expenses tied to office equipment, construction, and utilities dwindle

 

 

What’s not to love? Heck, the offices of Google and Facebook basically pioneered this unfastened environment. The trend has caught fire and it seems as though (most) businesses around the world don’t believe in closed-door, work-place barriers anymore.

 

The downside? Noise.

 

Yes, the challenge that comes attached to an exposed environment is the acoustics. So, back to our initial question: What’s sound got to do with it? Well, quite a bit.

 

Conversations, phone calls, meetings – and that co-worker that always plays his music too loud – combine to create distractions and a clutter of noise in today’s open office. But before you decide this open office layout just ain’t workin’, look up. Your ceiling is about to become your solution.

 

Drown out echoes and excess noise with high-quality, eco-friendly acoustic ceiling baffles. A wide selection of cover material will help add style and customization to your sound absorption efforts. Choose from:

• Standard or designer acoustic baffle fabrics, which give your space a simple yet sophisticated look

• Custom color or custom image acoustic baffles, which are perfect to place company colors, logos & quotes on

• Acousticolor™ sound baffles, which match any Sherwin-Williams shade

 

At Audimute, we help businesses of all shapes and sizes find the right solution for their unique sound problem. Unsure which solution is best for your open office? Contact us today. In less than 15 minutes, one of our sound solution experts will be able to understand your space and recommend a solution.

 

Shop our vast selection of acoustic ceiling baffles. Here’s to your quieter open office environment.

 

Sound baffles for open office

 

 

Sound Health and You: Noise Induced Hearing Loss in Adults

Noise Induced Hearing Loss in AdultsSound, as wonderful as it is, can be harmful to your hearing at high intensities. We bet you already knew this. But even sound that is extremely loud for a just a moment can be damaging. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), powerful, intense sounds can damage sensitive structures in your inner ear and cause noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL).1 To bring awareness to this condition and other sound-related issues, we’re kicking off a three part series called Sound Health + You.

 

 

Noise Induced Hearing Loss

While hearing loss is most commonly attributed to aging, noise induced hearing loss happens to children and adults. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 15% of adults between the ages of 20 and 69, and 16% of teens ages 12 to 19, have reported some degree of Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL) caused by exposure to loud noise without wearing proper hearing protection.2

Sound alarming? That’s because it is.

There is no grading scale for what can cause hearing loss; it can be a one-time exposure to an intense sound, such as an explosion, or by continuous exposure to loud sounds, such as working in a factory, working with power tools, or even listening to music through head phones at a high volume every day.

“It is the sum of all of your exposures to sound throughout the day and evening that add together to damage hearing when that total becomes excessive,” notes Janet Ehlers, RN, MSN, COHC and Pamela S. Graydon, MS, COHC of the CDC.2

NIHL is the only type of hearing loss that is completely preventable. Noise induced hearing loss in adults is commonly attributed to work environments. Understanding the health hazards of over exposure to loud noises is the first step to protecting your hearing.

 

 

Tips for Hearing Health

• Wear earplugs or sound cancelling headphones when involved in a loud activity

• If you can’t reduce a noise or volume, move away from it

• When listening to music, use the 60/60 rule: use 60% of the maximum volume for no more than 60 minutes a day

• Have earplugs on hand for your children when planning high-volume activities

• Talk to family, friends, and colleagues about the risks of loud noise exposure

 

Noise Induced Hearing Loss Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms of noise induced hearing loss in adults and children may go away in minutes, hours, or days after the noise ends. It’s important to recognize the signs early so you are able to avoid exposure to other loud noises while your ears are already impaired, as this can cause more severe damage.

Symptoms of Noise Induced Hearing Loss

• Feeling of pressure or fullness in your ears

• Muffled or distorted hearing

• Ringing in the ears when in quiet places

• Difficulty understanding phone calls

• Inability to hear someone talking three feet away

If you’re experiencing trouble hearing in your home, or simply wish to improve sound quality, call an Audimute Acoustic Sound expert at (866) 505-MUTE for personalized advice on soundproofing and acoustic solutions for your space.

Resources: 1 National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. “Noise-Induced Hearing Loss.” Retrieved on April 12, 2016. https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/noise-induced-hearing-loss#1. 2 Ehlers, Janet, RN, MSN, COHC and Graydon, Pamela S. MS, COHC. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. “Even a Dummy Knows October is Protect Your Hearing Month.” Retrieved on April 12, 2016. http://blogs.cdc.gov/niosh-science-blog/2012/10/11/protect-hearing/.

Sound Induced Hearing Loss in Adults