Wednesday, December 9, 2020

The Importance of Acoustics in Improving the Patient Experience

In a hospital environment, it seems that noise is unavoidable. Machines humming, patients talking, nurses walking down the hallway, surgeries taking place — noise seems to permeate every inch of the facility. If you work at a hospital, you learn how to tune it out over time. However, patients don't have that luxury. And excess noise isn't just annoying; it can actually impede recovery.

How can the hospital acoustic design impact a patient's recovery?

Unless there is a baby on the way, nobody is in a hospital because they want to be there. They're suffering from some kind of disease or physical injury that's too severe to be treated at home. As a result, most patients are already suffering from high stress levels. They're anxious and irritable and want to get out of there as soon as possible. Any nurse who has treated an irritable patient knows how high stress levels can affect a person's mood.

When you're stressed, it seems that every little thing can set you off. Unfortunately, hospitals are full of irritating noises. Some are sudden, while others are a constant hum in the background. Shouts, slamming doors, rattling carts, buzzing phones — they all contribute to the constant background noise, and each requires different acoustic solutions to properly mitigate it.

Every health professional knows that stress can negatively impact health. If a patient is trying to heal from an injury or illness, being under constant stress can slow the healing process. In fact, the patient's condition can take a turn for the worse if he or she is not in a comfortable environment. For this reason, it's important not to underestimate the importance of acoustics in hospitals.

How can you improve the acoustics in health care environments?

Unfortunately, the acoustic requirements for hospitals typically don't involve soundproofing the entire facility. However, there are many changes that can be made to your facility, whether during the construction phase or afterwards, that will improve the comfort of employees and patients alike. Some of the best hospitals have taken these extra measures to ensure comfort by installing a variety of soundproofing and acoustic solutions. Our selection of health care acoustic panels can greatly reduce the amount of background noise in a facility, and they come in a variety of colors and even bleachable materials that are ideal for hospitals and doctors’ offices. Without the constant hum of telephones and machinery, patients are able to relax and recover in a more peaceful environment.

At SoundAway, we offer a wide range of soundproofing products that can minimize both echo and noise traveling through the walls of your facility, reducing the amount of stress placed on your patients. Our team of experts has worked with many health care facilities to provide thoughtful solutions, as well as with a variety of retail stores, offices, recording studios, auditoriums and other major companies throughout the United States. Get in touch with us today to see how we can reduce the noise in your health care facility.

For more information on assessing how many sound-absorbing acoustic panels are needed for your space, read more here.

Read more on minimizing noise through walls.

Monday, November 16, 2020

Acoustic Panel Calculator – Find How Many Sound Absorbing Panels You Need

You may find yourself wondering, “How many acoustic panels do I need for a ______?” You fill in the blank — studio, conference room, home office, you name it! We can help you lower reverberation in any space.

At SoundAway, we are committed to excellence, not only in the products that we provide but also in our service. Ensuring that you are satisfied with your purchase and even the process leading up to it is a top priority for us. Our team of experts is here to help guide you in making your selection by performing an acoustical analysis using our very own acoustic panel calculator, free of charge to you! The calculator is designed to determine the number of sound-absorbing panels recommended to lower the reverb in your application.

To get started, please:
1) Provide the room dimensions
  • Width
  • Length
  • Height
2) Provide a description of the finished surfaces (drywall, wood, concrete, tile, glass, carpet, etc.)
Include photos, if possible, from opposite corners of the room(s).
  • Walls
  • Floor
  • Ceiling
3) Select up to three products to include in the analysis
This may include:
  • Ambience Panels - These are typically ceiling or wall-hung, perpendicular or parallel to the floor. These panels are made to order, in custom sizes if required, and are available wrapped in any of the acoustic fabrics. The most popular fabrics are the FR701 and Anchorage.
  • SONEX Panels - These are typically ceiling or wall-hung, perpendicular or parallel to the floor. These panels are made from an acoustic foam with limited options in terms of size and colors. 
  • Whisperwave Products Line - These are made from an acoustic foam with limited options in terms of size and colors. Options in:
    • Clouds – typically ceiling-hung, parallel to the floor
    • Baffles - typically ceiling-hung, perpendicular to the floor
    • Panels - typically ceiling or wall-hung, perpendicular or parallel to the floor
Some additional items to consider while selecting the product types to include in your analysis:
  • For rooms where the height is less than 10’, consider Ambience Panels mounted to the ceiling or suspended as Clouds.
  • For high ceilings, Baffles or Clouds are recommended depending on the customer’s preference. 

Once you have gathered this info:

Submit an email to our team at that contains your responses to these three things, which, as a reminder are: room dimensions, description of the room’s surfaces, and three products you would like included in the analysis. From there, you can expect the results of our professional analysis to be emailed to you within one to two days. Contact us with any questions you have in the meantime – we’re happy to help!

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Tips for Soundproofing a Home Theater Room

These days, you may be planning to finally make your dreams of a home theater come true. When you love movies, television shows and video games, a home theater will definitely improve your quality of life. As great as home theaters are, they tend to be quite noisy, which means that you’ll probably want to soundproof the room. To reduce noise in a home theater room, be sure to:
  • Develop a strategy (select room, establish budget, select contractor)
  • Consult Soundproofing and Acoustics experts
It is important to understand that while soundproofing any space can greatly reduce the noise transmission, you should not count on complete silence. Even in the most well thought out and professionally designed movie theaters, sound travels into the halls. An STC higher than 65 can be challenging to fully soundproof so be sure you are setting proper expectations and not placing your theater right next door to, say, a nursery, bedroom or office.

Develop a Strategy

Every home theater is unique, so you will need to develop a strategy to soundproof successfully and avoid reverberations. Spacious homes with large rooms that are spread out require a different type of soundproofing than theater rooms in smaller, cozier homes.
Consider how much space you have to dedicate to your home theater as space or height constraints will limit your soundproofing options. If building your home theater from scratch, plan the soundproofing in advance. Dedicating time and thoughtful consideration when developing this strategy will be a game changer in the end. This allows you to plan for all the gaps where you need them and to avoid them where you do not.

Soundproofing - Reduce the Sound Emitted From Your Theater Room

Option 1: Reverberations are a major cause of noise and can often be the most frustrating. Isolating walls lowers sound transmitted through the structure. When you have ample space, consider utilizing the room-within-a-room method for optimum sound isolation performance within your theater room. 

Option 2: We understand that not everyone has a space large enough to accommodate building a room within a room. When you are working with a more moderate size space, a great option is isolating ceiling and walls using isolation clips and Drywall Furring Hat Channel. An especially effective way to soundproof a wall is decoupling. When an interior wall is constructed using traditional methods, drywall sheets are attached to the studs. This method causes a sound problem because the interior wall’s sound vibrations are transferred to the studs, which allows the noise to reach the exterior wall. With decoupling, the studs are separated from the room’s interior walls. This decreases the transmission of sound because it reduces the amount of contact that the walls have with the studs.

Whether you are following option one or two, plan to incorporate three things: absorption, mass, and damping. 
  1. For sound Absorption, use UltraTouch Denim Insulation or mineral wool within the walls. This is an ideal choice to contribute to sound absorption. 
  2. For Mass, we typically recommend utilizing a combination of Mass Loaded Vinyl (MLV) and one or two layers of drywall. 
  3. For Damping, Green Glue is highly recommended as a damping compound between layers of rigid construction material such as plywood and drywall or sandwiched between two layer of drywall.
Additionally, If your home is multistory, consider adding a carpet or tile underlay. This should be done in the room above the theatre room. On a ground floor, a floating floor will reduce structure borne noise.

Windows and doors are a prime spot for sound to seep through. Properly sealing these areas is critical and, in most cases, often overlooked. Beyond sealing the gaps around your doors, most standard doors invest in studio doors – they’ll do wonders in reducing sound transmission and preventing noise from traveling through and around the door. If your audio setup is on the modest side and your home has plenty of square footage, you may be able to soundproof an existing door using a solid-wood door combined door seals along the perimeter of your door.

Acoustics – Reduce Reverberations & Improve Sound in Your Home Theater

Acoustic treatment within the theater room will lower the reverberation, which, in turn lowers sound level outside of the room and improves the sound within your theater. Consider installing materials over your drywall that will allow for clean kinetic sound such as the SONEX One Acoustic Panels or the SONEX Acoustic Pyramid Panels for a classic look. Alternatively, for a classier finish consider Ambience fabric-wrapped Acoustic Panels. Not only are these additions affordable, but they’re great at reducing those reverberations that tend to seep into nearby rooms, allowing you to enjoy your entertainment with a clear, crisp sound and without bothering family members or neighbors.

Consult an Expert - We’re Here to Help!

Our team is dedicated to providing the best products, and we’re always here to help guide you through the purchase process and beyond. Get in touch with any questions while you tackle your home theater project.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

3 Simple Solutions To Improve Conference Room Acoustics

While the quality of room acoustics typically gets plenty of attention in venues where music will be played or recorded, and where stage plays or other theatrical presentations are performed, its importance shouldn't be overlooked in places like offices or conference rooms. Below are just a few of the many methods that can be used to improve the sound quality in offices and conference rooms to allow for improved audio during phone calls and meetings.

It's Not Just the Music

Just as room acoustics in a concert hall can make or break the presentation of a symphony orchestra, the acoustics in a meeting or conference room can make or break an important conference, conference call or video conference. When there's difficulty hearing and understanding an oral presentation, it's hard to take care of business as usual.

Speech is best heard and understood in rooms with a minimum of flat, hard surfaces that reflect sound. There are a number of ways to restore clarity in conference rooms, two of which are sound absorption and sound masking. The strategy used will be dependent upon the makeup of the room being considered.

Ceiling tiles and industrial-grade, thin carpet are often found in a typical office or conference room. A combination of one or both may be adequate for an individual or a small group to achieve an acceptable sound level. In a larger group setting, it is best to add Ambience acoustic ceiling tiles, wall panels, baffles or clouds suspended from the ceiling to tune the room acoustics. The benefit is an increase in productivity, creativity, and comfort.

Sound Proofing vs. Acoustics Improvement

If your meeting room is next to a noisy hallway, improving internal acoustics to make presentations easier to understand will have to work hand-in-hand with soundproofing the room from exterior noise. The same goes for noise that may be outside of the building the meeting room is in, especially if there are windows on the exterior wall.

Soundproofing windows doors can either be replaced with special soundproofing doors or, alternatively, you can enhance a solid wood door by using door frame seals.

3 Simple Solutions To Improving Conference Room Acoustics

Here are a few simple ideas to consider when trying to improve the acoustics in your conference or meeting room:
1. Counteract hard, flat surfaces with the addition of softer furniture and d├ęcor. Swap out hard chairs and install soft, cloth-covered ones. Add rugs or carpeting and sound-absorbing curtains or drapes.
2. You can mask external noise by incorporating “white noise” created by the use of a small water feature or a recording of soft background sounds.
3. Acoustic baffle panels hung from the ceiling or walls can act to reduce echo or reverberation in your meeting room. These hanging baffles can also add an aesthetic touch to the space. Acoustic panels can also be placed on doors to enhance noise reduction in your room.

Our team of experts are always happy to answer any questions that you have and help to guide you to the products needed to get the job done right. Get in touch!

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Creating a Professional Recording Studio in Your Home

Music recording in a professional studio can be an expensive proposition, with studio time ranging anywhere from $50 to $500+ per hour at high-quality studios. Even if you're fortunate enough to find a budget studio offering low rates yet passable quality, it doesn't take long for the dollars per hour to mount up. This can cause you to rush when recording, leaving you with a less than enviable finished product.

One solution is to build your own home recording studio where you can put down song tracks any time the mood moves you, and not have to answer to anyone for the time and trouble song recording requires. Building a DIY recording studio in your home can be a challenging yet rewarding project, and for anyone serious about recording, it's something that can pay for itself in short order. You'll be able to play and record to your heart's content without having to spend cash by the hour. And, if you get good enough at recording, you may even be able to rent out your services to other like-minded musicians who would love to record on the cheap. Let's get started!

Location, Location, Location
To get started creating a professional recording studio setup, the first thing you'll want to determine is where in your house you'll be setting up your studio. Interior rooms will be easier to soundproof than rooms with exterior walls, especially if you live on a road with lots of traffic. Ideally, you should have a large room with high ceilings and lots of irregular surfaces. This will provide you with the best acoustics.

Noise is the primary enemy you'll have to deal with when setting up your in-home studio. This includes noise entering your room from outside which, when magnified through a microphone, will be LOUDER than you think. Some common causes of these exterior disruptions may include:
  • Cars
  • Neighbors
  • Neighborhood dogs
  • Birds
  • Plumbing
  • Rain
  • Wind
These noises can be effectively dealt with through the use of a variety of soundproofing techniques. Also consider that not only do you want to mitigate any noise coming into your studio room but also prevent the sounds you're making from affecting those outside of your space.

Effective Soundproofing
There's a wide variety of high-quality products available for providing effective soundproofing for your sound studio. If you've read the blog post, “Minimizing Noise Through Walls,” you've learned some of the many ways noise can enter into or escape from an enclosed space. It can travel through windows, doors, floors, ceilings, walls, vents and even through electrical outlets.

If you're setting up a bare bones room without any current soundproofing or acoustical treatments, you'll want to consider ways to handle all of the above-mentioned causes for unwanted sounds in your studio space. Fortunately, you have access to effective, affordable products for doing just this.

The above-mentioned blog discusses a couple of ways for soundproofing walls, both interior and exterior. Adding insulation to interior walls is not typical in the construction of standard homes but it is essential in any wall assembly. Building a room-within-a-room is the best option for optimal sound reduction. Unfortunately, this option will reduce the interior room dimensions at least 12” in width and length. There is, however, a more practical solution that only requires roughly 5” of floor space in each direction. This option isolates the walls by using isolation clips, Hat channel, Green Glue damping between two layers of drywall. There are several variables that determine the best option for each application. Let our team of experts offer the option that is right your studio.

To enhance and allow superior and professional sound, you will need to utilize an isolated ceiling system that consists of sound absorption, mass, isolation and damping materials. Contact our team of experts for a consultation – we are here to help!

Keep the sound from traveling through floors by applying a premium carpet, tile or wood underlay product. Treating floors with an underlay is especially important if your studio is on the second floor or above. Choose between mass-loaded vinyl and closed-cell foam. Keep in mind, the construction of the building will be a major factor in soundproofing, and while it is not always feasible to convert an old building to condo specs, there are always steps that can be taken to minimize the sound traveling through the floors.

It's important to seal doors in order to prevent against transmitting sound through the cracks and crevices that surround the door. This can be done by installing door frame seals to your already existing doors. For optimal soundproofing, consider installing acoustic studio doors, specifically designed for this purpose. Windows are also an important consideration and can be replaced with custom soundproof windows.

Don’t Overlook Acoustics
Once proper soundproofing is implemented throughout your designated studio space, it is time to consider the acoustics of the room. Reverberations can severely diminish the quality of recordings, and acoustics aim to manage it. Sound energy is converted to a quiet kinetic energy that creates a cleaner sound with the use of Acoustic Wall Panels. Consider options such as the Ambience Wall Panels, SONEX Panels or Whisperwave Wall Panels to enhance the quality of sound in the studio. The addition of Whisperwave Clouds suspended from a ceiling will serve to further improve the room’s acoustics and are always an excellent addition to any space, especially when high ceilings have created space for unwanted noise to reverberate.