The benefits of good acoustics
At home, at work, on the road or in a public space: our living environment is bursting with sounds. Singing birds evoke a happy feeling, other sounds drive us mad. Loud noises or prolonged sounds can have a major impact on our health and comfort. Why is this and why are good acoustics so important?
What is acoustics?
By acoustics, we mean how sound sounds in a room. Dull and quiet, or loud and reverberant. A room has a big influence on this. For example, are you completely worn out after an evening where you had trouble hearing people and where the ambient noise was very restless? Then chances are you were in a room with a smooth tiled floor, tiled walls and a glass front. Typical materials that bounce sound back into the room. What constitutes good acoustics depends entirely on the space and situation. In an office you long for silence, in a restaurant it is okay to hear some (subtle) cosiness.
Why we don't like noise.
A step back in time. Where does this aversion to loud noise come from anyway? In prehistoric times, strong sounds symbolised danger. We are flight animals by nature and used to need to be able to flee in time. Unexpected noise was often the harbinger of a dangerous situation, which is why we still react violently to it. A lot of noise is often a sign that you need to watch out. Think of honking cars or an ambulance with siren. Peace is disturbed and you find it hard to concentrate.
The influence of acoustics
Unwanted noise is more than just annoying. It can have a major impact on your comfort, enjoyment and even health. For example, did you know that poor acoustics in hospitals increase patients' blood pressure and heart rate? Those who invest in good acoustics choose:
Better concentration and higher productivity
Whether it's a rattling coffee machine or a loud phone call: loud background noise takes you out of your concentration. This makes holding a conversation or meeting a deadline very difficult. With good acoustics you have more focus and your productivity skyrockets. For example, office workers in a room with good acoustics 48% experience more focus and make 10% fewer mistakes (Sykes, D M., 2004).
Funny but true: the taste of a dish is co-determined by its surroundings. For instance, scientific research shows that the acoustics and music in a restaurant not only determine the atmosphere, but also the tasting experience. For instance, classical music has a positive effect while loud background noise makes your food taste less good.
Whether at home, in the office or in a classroom: noise pollution causes stress. And prolonged stress, in turn, makes you more likely to fall ill. A quiet room without reverberation creates peace in your mind. Did you know that office stress levels even shoot down by 27% if you improve acoustics? (Sykes, D M., 2004).
Anyone who has been in a noisy room all day knows that bad noise makes you tired. You have to talk louder and listening takes effort. Especially in meeting rooms, classrooms and gymnasiums, this is an important factor. Improved acoustics make talking, concentrating and listening easier. You feel fit and energetic.