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Noise Control in Office

Good Background Noise in the office

Common open plan areas such as breakout zones, cafe areas or teapoints are often used as meeting and collaborative areas. Noise is often considered to be a problem. One meeting can interrupt another, or individuals working or reading.

A solution is to use background noise. White noise generation hasn't been a great success, mainly because it's an unpleasant sound. However music or TV, distributed by multiple speakers, provides an effective mask for voice, and also sets a noise level which people often blend with, rather than talking too loudly.

TIPuse aTV or music to set a masking level of sound.

White noise is typically a hissing sound which is ok when an area has other sound, but is irritating when heard on its own.

Another way to mask the interference of voice is to make air handling equipment emit more noise (defeat the NR setup) so that the air circulation noise is louder. However as with White Noise, this can be intrusive when heard on its own, and cannot be turned off as required.

Unwanted background noise

Open plan desking areas can suffer fromnoise distraction. Quiet rooms may be one solution, but there are methods to combat open plan distraction. Soft materials(fabric and upholstery, carpet thickness, acoustic baffles, ceiling features, curtains) can help to absorb sound rather than reflect, and this can eliminate speech bounce where noise is reflected to add to the noise level. Screens on deskshelp to muffle noise, as well.

TIP try to avoid an office interiorthat uses mostly hard surfaces. Softer materials absorb noise.

Noise between officescan occur due to several reasons. Air conditioning grilles can allow sound to travel between rooms, and is a very common route. Similarly open ceiling voids are another common route for sound transfer. In both cases attenuation is achieved using physical barriers. Sound can also travel under a raised floor, although this is less common.

Partition seals where walls have exposed ductwork are often a problem, and again use a physical barrier as the solution.

Partition walls themselveshave a sound rating, and the thicker, more solid,the partition the more sound insulation is achieved. For the very best acoustic insulation a partition can be built through a ceiling up to the structural soffit...but this isn't a flexible solution.

TIPsound travel is stoppedby physical barriers. Ceiling baffles, partitionsand screens all help to control, or stop, noise travel


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