When building and designing an office there are many factors to consider such as paint and furniture, or walls and windows, but have you thought about what your office will sound like? Sound control can be a major distraction to a new, nervous patient or on the other side it can contribute to everyone’s sense of peace and tranquility.
Here are a few things to take into account when considering your office’s sound.
The routing of HVAC ductwork can greatly contribute to noise transfer, which may make an environment noisy and distracting. There are a few techniques that can effectively reduce unwanted HVAC transferred noise within a space. First, since sound can be transferred through ductwork itself, it’s helpful to introduce turns/bends in the duct routing and to use internal baffles and sound absorbing insulation. Introducing 45 to 90 degree turns with sound absorbing materials applied inside, especially at turns, will help reduce the sound transfer by absorbing sound. Another common practice, one we have adopted on many projects we construct, is the utilization of sound transfer boots mounted immediately above the return air grills. These sound transfer boots redirect the sound 90 degrees as it exits the room. Sound transfer boots should be positioned in a manner that directs the sound 180 degrees away from the adjoining room where sound transfer prevention is of utmost importance.
Another way to manage sound is to consider how the room walls are constructed. For the most sound protection, walls should be framed with a separation in the framing and wall absorbing membrane substrates should be installed on isolation clips. This wall construction solution, used in conjunction with insulation within walls, ceilings, and ductwork, will achieve significant levels of sound privacy. However, this solution is often times more comprehensive than most chiropractic offices require. It also increases the floor square footage within each room where it is needed. Since this can significantly impact the project cost, one must weigh cost against sound control requirements when considering wall construction as a sound solution.
Sound Masking Devices:
The use of sound masking techniques, such as white, pink or brown noise frequencies is often a less costly and disruptive solution to sound control. This electronically created sound is introduced into a space to create a level of sound masking that reduces or virtually eliminates audible sounds ( i.e. conversations in an adjacent room). There are several devices in the marketplace, such as units available from OfficePrivacy.com, that range from single room to complete building solutions.
There are a few other sound solution items which can be employed in each room to reduce noise. In areas where higher decibel levels are generated on exposed hard surface floors (i.e. tile, concrete) the internal room sound absorption solution becomes even more important. First, installing sound absorbing wall panels can majorly contribute to sound control. Also, acoustic ceiling panels with high sound absorption ratings can help. In open structure ceilings, suspended sound baffles should be considered. Strategically placed rugs and furniture also have a degree of sound absorption and transfer protection.
Each sound control solution comes with varying costs and installation difficulty. At the end of the day, one must balance these three variables to decide on how best to soundproof an office: 1) degree of need for sound control 2) degree of sound tolerance 3) financial investment. All-in-all sound control greatly contributes to your overall ambiance and can really make or break a patient’s first impression or experience.
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