Many schools often report that the main issues with noise in their school is in the large spaces where sound can soon spiral. Large open spaces such as in dining rooms, sports halls, exam halls, and school theatres are the perfect breeding ground for poor acoustics due to the hard-flat surfaces that bounce sound around.
Reverberation (the name for when sound reflects off a surface) in schools is a key measurement in building regulations. This is because the higher a reverberation time in a space, the more likely it is to impact pupils and teachers due to the distracting and persistent nature of it.
In the BB93, the reverberation times for dining rooms is a limit of 1 second in new builds and 1.5 seconds in refurbishments. You would be surprised by how many schools fail to reach this standard. That is why implementing acoustic treatment in these spaces is so important.
For sports hall the reverberation time limit is 1.5 seconds for new builds and 2 seconds for refurbishment. For multi-purpose halls the limit is 1.2 seconds in new builds and 1.5 in refurbishments. Does your school meet this standard? You might be surprised at the length of time is takes for those noise waves to dissipate in your school environment.
Why sports halls and dining rooms have poor acoustics
Well, apart from them often being full of excited and talkative children, these large open spaces are designed with hard, shiny surfaces and little furniture to absorb sound. They are also often plain walls such as concrete or brick, which are highly noise reflective.
Also, the fact these spaces are mainly just large boxes with parallel facing walls, sound can bounce easily and efficiently, prolonging those reverberation times we are trying to limit.
These issues can make learning and communication in these spaces difficult. A poor acoustic environment can cause teachers to strain their voice and pupils to become distracted and fatigued. As our brains try and work out where sounds are coming from, reverberation and echoes can cause us to become overwhelmed and trigger brain fatigue.
These spaces are also notoriously difficult environments for children with special educational needs. Sensitive and hypersensitive listeners can struggle in dining rooms and sports hall due to poor acoustics and high reverberation times.
How to fix poor acoustics in your school’s large open spaces
Sports halls, dining rooms, exam halls and theatre spaces are all key areas in schools where special consideration such as acoustic treatment is incredibly important. These spaces are often multifunctional for assemblies, exams, concerts etc. so have more requirements to meet than other spaces.
Implementing soundproofing, sound absorption, and reverberation control can make a world of difference for everyone, especially your sensitive listeners. It also makes sure your school meets acoustic standards under the government’s regulations and also during Ofsted inspections.
Acoustic technology today is so advanced that you may be surprised how few acoustic panels you might need to install. You can also use acoustic ceiling treatment to keep your sports hall functional for high impact ball games and excitable children.
Conclusion: acoustic solutions for schools
At Sound Zero we specialise in attractive but effective acoustic solutions. This means you can keep your school looking and sounding amazing.
We know that not all schools building were built with acoustics in mind, but there is still a vast array of options for you to upgrade your learning environments.
Our team is available to discuss your school acoustics needs to ensure you select the right product from our line. We have a range of products that include moss walls, cork panels, insulation foam, acoustic foam, and wall panel pro. All of these acoustic panel options can be completely customised to your colour, size, fabric, and other product requests.
Whether you need maximum noise reduction or slight adjustments to your classroom acoustics, we can help. We have helped countless schools and organisations improve their school acoustics over the years. Please do not hesitate to contact us today to go over our unique acoustic panels for schools that can help your students achieve better concentration.