The Effects of Uncontrolled Sound

Distracting Noise

“I can’t hear myself think!”

When noise becomes a problem, we feel it intuitively. It is impossible to ignore because it clouds our ability to think, concentrate, and focus.

We know the feeling so acutely: the frustration of chaotic, distracting noise. Multiple sources of speech filling the air, reverberating clanging, the constant hum of mechanical systems working in the background. Its truly maddening.

But so often it seems like we accept it as an unavoidable inconvenience. Why? Mostly because the solutions aren’t always intuitive, they’re often invisible unless you’re looking for them and acoustic performance is rarely the priority when constructing a space.

But the importance of carefully maintained noise levels is undeniable, and not just anecdotal.

Effects of Sound in Healthcare

We’ve spoken at length about the importance of acoustic control in healthcare, and the effect it can have on a hospital’s bottom line through HCAHPS Scores. But the effects are much more far reaching than that.

For example, lets take a look at patient well-being. The World Health Organization recommends that noise levels in healthcare facilities are maintained below 40 Dbs for the optimal healing environment.

Anything over that level can increase patient and caregiver stress, disrupt patient sleep, and have negative psychological and physiological effects.

Noisy Hospital Room

According to the American Psychological Association, stress that is caused by excessive noise as well as other factors, can have serious implications on everything from a person’s cardiovascular system, to the endocrine system, to the nervous system.

This means that the poor noise control that is so common in today’s healthcare facilities is, in fact, counterproductive to desired patient outcomes.

Beeping systems, constant speech feeding into patient rooms, the clattering of steps from the floor above, and all of the other many sounds that are native to hospitals can quickly combine to raise stress levels and significantly impact everyone within the facility.

Effects of Uncontrolled Sound in The Workplace

If sound can have detrimental health effects for patients in hospitals whose only focus is healing, imagine the effects uncontrolled noise can have on people who are focused on using critical thinking to produce for your business.

We’ve all been there before. Trying to write an important email or hold a conversation with your best client with nearby coworkers having audible conversations of their own. Its nearly impossible to concentrate.

Noisy Open Office

Again, although we feel it intuitively, there’s data to back it up. Studies show that employees are 66% less productive when forced to work in noisy open-plan offices. That translates to lost dollars and a high-stress work place that breeds unhappy employees.

If your office isn’t holistically designed to promote productivity, then its working against you.

Solving your Sound Problem

Each space is unique. A classroom requires a different sound environment than an office, a hospital, or a restaurant.

What is most important is that your space is acoustically designed to help you achieve your business’s goals. Ignoring sound in the design of your facility can often be as detrimental to your business as ignoring traditional design elements like plumbing, electrical, or HVAC.

If sound has become a problem in your space, or if you’re designing a new project and want to make sure that sound doesn’t become an issue for your future tenants, give Gaus Acoustics a call! (314) 219-5657

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