Acoustic Solutions for Healthy Living
Excessive noise can be detrimental to our physical and mental health. However, today's advanced acoustic solutions have been proven to mitigate adverse effects.
We are often exposed to consistent high-decibel sound levels in the places where we spend the most time, e.g., work or school. Lowering noise levels using acoustic solutions reduces prolonged exposure that can lead to health problems, including hearing impairment.
Acoustic solutions in industrial workplaces
In an industrial environment, it isn’t just one loud machine that causes the noise. Since manufacturing spaces are often built with a metal roof and concrete floors, reverberation compounds and creates persistent noise that adversely affects every worker in the facility. Fortunately, large room industrial acoustical applications can bring the overall reverberation time down to an acceptable level.
Acoustic solutions for industrial spaces are typically carried out with MBI's most cost-effective products. Our PVC encapsulated baffles and Spectrum Acoustical Panels have excellent acoustical characteristics and can be easily cleaned. These products are made from sound-absorbing material to prevent sound from bouncing around the room’s four walls, reducing noise pollution and its harmful effects on hearing health in industrial workplaces.
Acoustic solutions in offices
Workers agree that it is difficult and unhealthy to work in noisy environments. In fact, an office without acoustical treatments can cause a productivity decrease of as much as 66% among its occupants. In open-office configurations, in particular, conversations, keyboards, phones, and footsteps create a disruptive, head-splitting cacophony. Sound experts recommend that a workspace design should be extra conscious of acoustics; a healthy, peaceful workspace benefits both workers and their employers. MBI's project managers have learned that in addition to reducing noise, companies are looking for ways to achieve a calmer, more settled feeling in the office — without a renovation.
Acoustical baffles are designed to do all of this; reduce noise, make sounds less intrusive, and improve the sound environment without the mess of a construction project. Cloud-Lite® Acoustical Baffles are the most popular and usually best solution for open-plan office spaces. The baffles effectively control reverberation and visually break up the area. Some say they give a sense of privacy in an otherwise vast open space. Cloud-Lite Baffles integrate well with sprinklers, HVAC, and other mechanical systems and can have a unique, customized look.
Pioneers of the original Cloud-Lite Acoustical Baffle, MBI Products has been installing them for over fifty years. These highly-effective products are Class A, lightweight, cost-efficient, and easy to install, making them the industry’s most practical solution to noise control.
Acoustic solutions for schools
Schools also face unique challenges in maintaining an optimal acoustic environment to protect students’ hearing health.
A typical classroom is built with windows, smartboards/blackboards, concrete, plasterboard walls, and often bare floors. These hard surfaces reflect sound rather than absorb it, causing long reverberation times. When reverberation builds up, the sound environment causes confusion in the mind and voices to become unintelligible. Add the average ambient noise in a classroom, including HVAC systems, hallway activity, and exterior traffic, and the classroom is anything but an optimal learning environment.
According to acousticstoday.org, kids require more favorable acoustics than adults for the kind of daily auditory learning that occurs in classrooms. Many students miss up to 1 in 4 words spoken by their teacher. Poor classroom acoustics and uncontrolled reverberation are probably the culprits. However, achieving an ideal reverb time of between 1 and 1.5 seconds is possible by installing sound-absorbing panels on classroom walls and ceilings.
MBI Products manufactures a wide variety of panels that can be used in any classroom design. For example, Cloud-Lite Acoustical Baffles and Lapendary Panels integrate well with open ceilings while drop ceilings usually leverage Colorsonix floaters for additional sound absorption. The walls can also be acoustically treated with Colorsonix Wall Panels. Installation of acoustic solutions is clean, simple, and easy to install.
Acoustic solutions and quality of life
According to the CDC, prolonged exposure to loud noise can make you lose your hearing — permanently. “In the long term, noise causes hearing loss—and hearing loss itself is detrimental to our health and well-being,” warns the Center for Hearing and Communication. In fact, a growing body of work points to some negative effects of noise on mental health, cardiovascular health, and even cognitive function.
April 27, 2022 marks the 27th annual International Noise Awareness Day (INAD), established by the Center for Hearing and Communication (CHC) to raise awareness about the harmful effects of noise on hearing, health, and quality of life. Fortunately, there are acoustic solutions to most environments that can increase sound absorption for the benefit of our health.