Band Practice, Hair Dryers, and Surround Sound, Oh My!

Just how many sources of noise are there in a home?  As someone who runs a creative business out of his house on an 8-days-a-week basis (any Beatles fans out there?), with a 13-year-old son who’s a drummer, let me tell you there are quite a few sources that even go beyond him wailing on his kit.  And because I’m one of those folk who love to look things up on the internet, let’s take a gander at some of the most common noise-offenders you’ll find in nearly every home.

Home Office Distractions

Noise in the Home - Its Bigger than You'd Think

- Hair Dryer: 60-95dB

- Toilet Flushing: 75-85dB

- Alarm Clock: 65-80dB (your mileage may vary)

- Vacuum: 75dB

- TV Surround Sound: 75-90dB

- Garbage Disposal: 80dB

- Dishwasher: 55-70dB

- HVAC: 50-70dB

- Washer/Dryer: 50-70dB/ea


To put that in perspective, a typical movie theater showing peaks at about 100dB, and the Beatles’ concert at Shea Stadium in 1965 was just over 131dB.  Louder than a jumbo jet!  And just for you folks who love to look at Web MD when you have a cough...


- Harmful dB level of sustained sound: >85-90dB


Rock concerts and my son‘s drum kit aside, if you take a look at some of the biggest offenders in the home, you’ll see that many will touch the edge of a sound level that will begin to cause a negative reaction.  Even if it’s not sustained noise, it can most definitely be disruptive!

Even removing from consideration the needs of remote work, who among us would love a nice, peaceful conversation with a friend, family member or partner without having to say “What?  Sorry, my son’s practicing for his concert, could you repeat that?”, or “Hang on, the movie is too loud downstairs.”

Well, who says you can’t have that?  Noise control isn’t just for office buildings, school gym, and theaters you know.  And it’s also not just those old carpet-covered foam panels in your grandparents’ church either.  Today’s acoustic solutions are creative, visually interesting, and can fit right in with any decor in any home.

Residential Noise Control

Residential Noise Control - Imagine Peace of Mind at Home

The spare bedroom in our house also doubles as my son’s practice room, with his entire 9-piece drum kit in there.  The room used to echo to the point that it was difficult for him to hear his playing accurately, and it would also turn the music he makes into just straight noise.  Now we have some amazing large art pieces in the room...that are made from quality acoustic foam panels, wrapped with dye-sublimated print graphics!  Couple that with some acoustic carpet under him and while we can still hear him, the noise is gone and only the sound remains.

Another great example would be the ever-popular home theater set-up.  While we all want that action sequence to rattle our teeth when we watch it, I sincerely doubt our neighbors want to feel it as well.  Especially when they aren’t there watching the movie!  Enter the acoustics experts and watch as your home theater goes from a source of neighborhood disturbance, to one of sound clarity and even more enjoyment.

No matter what your particular situation is, yes even you remote worker, bringing in an acoustics expert to help you bring your home to the peaceful place you need it to be is something we should all consider.  The days of the often-thought-of carpet panel are long gone, and with them is the idea that acoustic balance and noise control is only for commercial spaces.  Gaus Acoustics has the experience in both commercial and residential interior acoustic solutions to help, and the love of interior design to bring it to your home in beautiful ways.

We spend so much time in our homes, we should enjoy what we hear in them.

...or better yet, enjoy what we AREN’T.

Sound Topics in Our Schools

I think we can all remember just how loud the halls and classrooms in high school really were.  Or weren’t, depending on the class.  However, just how much of that volume was actually productive sound, and how much of it was simply unfiltered noise conflicting with what students really need to hear?

While band rooms could be heard two halls and a staircase away and the chorus classroom’s door would barely muffle the octaves being sung, in severe contrast many students in the back half of math and English classrooms could barely hear their teachers even when the other students were quiet.

So why such a large chasm between the two?  Sound management and noise control.  As in managing the sound you need the students to hear, while controlling the noise that you don’t want distracting them.

Article header image

Sound Control in Schools - A New Perspective

Look at it from a visual perspective so it’s easier to picture. (See what I did there?)  Place a single light in a math or English classroom and turn it on.  It will illuminate what is closest to it, while slowly leaving the rest of the room in darkness.

Now add a myriad of small mirrors around the room to bounce the teacher’s light, and any other little light that may enter, around at odd and random angles.  Not only is the light from the teacher projected poorly through the room, but it now has to deal with being bounced randomly by shiny objects and even compete with itself at times.

But what about a band or chorus room?  This is when there are multiple bright lights, all on at once and it begins to be very difficult to see the singular light you need to see rather than all the others.  This would be the teacher versus all the other instruments and voices, competing for dominance in a small space, not to mention the leaking light (sound) into adjacent rooms and confusing the situation there.

In both cases a solution is needed to diffuse the offending and competing light so that the teacher’s light can be best spread through the room with minimal competition.

So now that we see the needs and solution for light sources in a room, albeit simplified, the jump to sound and acoustic needs truly isn’t far off!  The solutions to these needs are where the acoustic experts come in.

In classrooms where the teacher is the single source of sound, combinations of acoustic wall and ceiling panels depending on the room’s make-up should be used to both absorb unwanted noise, lessen harsh reverberation, and make the teacher both easier to understand as well as help him or her communicate at a consistent and level volume.

This in turn helps the students not only hear their teacher better, but by controlling the conflicting noise pollution it also helps them concentrate and be less distracted.

School Band

No More Noise - Solutions

In music rooms such as band and chorus, a combination of acoustic wall and ceiling panels can also be used, with added elements of sound diffusers and even treatments within the walls themselves to insure noise-leakage doesn’t disrupt adjoining classrooms.

These help the music teachers be better understood, the instruments and vocals to be better and heard clearly, and not distract students in other classrooms from their studies as well.

Gymnasiums are another key point in schools that are often accepted as being noisy, when in reality a properly treated gym can hold entire assemblies and the speakers could be clearly heard rather than just be in a large echo chamber.  In fact, Gaus Acoustics helped Doctor Howard Elementary do just that!

School colors, artwork and visual, interior design a concern with the consideration of acoustic treatments?  Not at all!  There are multiple products that can even be printed to exact color specifications if a standard color isn’t available to match with the school’s.

Ultimately, there is no reason why a school should be littered with unwanted noise, distracting today’s youth from learning to be the next generation of leaders.  Just give Gaus a call so we can help you give them the place they deserve.