Acoustic building products can be an important feature of any commercial or residential building. In both cases, they can help street noise or other community noise from leaching into your space and keep other sounds from going out. A conference room in a busy office, for example, might have soundproof wall panels or a soundproof ceiling, to keep things confidential, and to limit distractions from around the office. Acoustic building products can also positively impact our health, as a high amount of community noise can actually be negative for our health. For example, being close to a jackhammer or other loud construction equipment regularly can contribute to hearing loss and the loss of concentration can lead to other adverse effects on our health. If you don’t already have soundproofing walls or sound insulation panels set up, it’s a good thing to consider whether you’re at home or at work.
Why Is Soundproofing So Important?
As mentioned above, high levels of community noise can have adverse effects on our health, including learning deficits and cardiovascular issues. When the community noise levels go above 40 decibels, the incidence of heart disease also increases, according to studies. Furthermore, if you experience noise at above 85 decibels for a long period of time, your risk of losing hearing becomes much greater.
Over 25 million people (that’s around 15%) between the ages of 20 and 69 have high frequency hearing loss because of noise at both work and at home.
Past the health reasons, soundproofing also gives people a sense of privacy. If you’re in an office, you may not want people listening in on conversations and some items of discussion may be confidential, so you need soundproofing. At home, having well insulated walls keeps people from hearing every little bit of conversation or activity that goes on. If your teen is blasting loud music, having soundproofed walls will help muffle that a little. If your husband is working on a new construction project in the garage, soundproofed walls will keep a significant amount of hammering and drilling noise out of your home.
What Are Some Common Methods of Soundproofing?
There are four common tactics for soundproofing a room that are often used in combination for the maximum effect. These are: adding mass, damping, decoupling, and filling air gaps.
The idea behind adding mass is that surfaces already partially hinder sound waves from traveling from one room to the next. According to the 1% Rule, for every 1% of opening or exposed surface area, 50% of the sound will get through to the other side. By adding more mass, sound must travel through more surfaces, diluting the amount of sound that makes it through to the other side.
Damping uses damping compounds to abruptly stop sound. The compound is put between two stiff panels that are connected, which ultimately turns the sound energy into heat. It’s most effective when it comes to blocking low-frequency noise.
Decoupling, on the other hand, is not the way to go when it comes to keeping low frequencies out, because of the wall’s resonance. In this method, gaps are incorporated into the structure, which obstruct the sound vibration. This is easier to do when the building is being initially constructed.
And lastly, filling air gaps is pretty self explanatory. The fewer air gaps there are, the less surface area sound has to travel through it. Similar to the idea of adding mass, filling air gaps with insulation or acoustic ceiling tile can help block noise as it tries to travel through.
Acoustic building products come in a variety of colors, styles, and materials, so you don’t have to feel limited when trying to make your home or workplace soundproofed and stylish. Manufacturers who specialize in acoustic building products will have an array of specs for you to choose from as you make your decision.
Protect your hearing, health, and sanity when you consider trying out soundproofing materials at home or at work. You may wonder how you did without all the peace and quiet before!