- How do Acoustic booths work?
- Ambient sound explained
- Loudness of life chart
- What is the ideal ambient sound or ideal acoustics sound?
- Trending Acoustic Booth Styles for 2023
- How to customise acoustic booths for your workspace?
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Following the boom of ‘open plan’ offices, our team has constantly sought to enact effective office design to keep noise levels low and enhance collaboration and solo work in one space.
The market is now populated with solutions such as soundproofing room dividers, panels, tiles, and even paint with an assurance of delivering serene quiet. But above all, the office acoustic booth is perhaps the most renowned solution of them all.
The acoustic booth is easy to install, blocks noise both ways and provides a private space where small groups or individuals can focus.
But they are so much more sophisticated than simple, quiet cubes for quiet work. They give employees the reigns to choose a work environment conducive to improving their outputs. And beyond being aesthetically pleasing, there is brilliant engineering behind the soundproofing technology.
How do Acoustic booths work?
First off, there is often a misconception that the objective of soundproofing an office is total silence.
If you’re reading this article in your office, think for a second about all the noises you can hear. Do you consider them acceptable? Are you able to work without distraction?
There is a common quote, “silence can be deafening,” which means that absolute silence is unhealthy for human beings. It can cause your brain to melt down and creative thinking to cease. Basically, silence is a lot like writer’s block; a phenomenon where the vast white space becomes daunting and off-putting.
Consider your open office space completely silent; how uneasy might it be to chat quietly with a colleague, knowing your remarks are within earshot of everyone? Or how frustrating it would be not to be able to talk out freely as you think something through? The hyper-awareness of the noise one creates in a silent environment makes everyone self-conscious.
Now consider the reality of working alone in a totally silent booth designed to absorb ALL sound waves. This might sound like a dream come true for someone constantly sidetracked by office noise. But the reality is that true silence is fundamentally uncomfortable.
Ambient Sound Explained
This is where ambient sound comes in. Ambient sound is the term for ‘background’ noise – covering anything from music playing, birds singing, or cars passing. Our minds are hardwired to live amongst ambient noise, and that’s why a totally silent office seems abnormal and unpleasant.
Hence, the goal of the soundproofing technology within a work acoustic booth is more nuanced than ‘eliminate all office noise.’ the goal is to provide relative ambience.
The Loudness of Life Chart
Check out the sound chart below to see how office noise compares with other noise levels we experience on a daily basis.
“The Wrong Sound Environment makes you 66% Less Productive”
In science terms, ambience is the decibel range of background or office noise within which employees can comfortably tune into their work. No decibel is loud enough to impair their focus, but there is enough sound around them to prevent them from feeling intimidated. In human terms, when it comes to the acoustic booth, anyone working within it (fully closed) can hear only muffled sounds from the outside office space. And people in the office space can’t pick up on conversations from inside the booth.
What is the ideal ambient sound or ideal acoustics sound?
We all have a different ideas of what acoustic ‘ambience’ is. This is because noise affects people differently, and thus everyone has different preferences regarding what noise level is ideal for working. And also, different acoustic atmospheres support different working tasks.
And so this further demonstrates the importance of having a dynamic and flexible office space that fits various work environments, each with a different acoustic ambience to cater to all employee’s needs.
Furthermore, with any well-designed and well-made acoustic booth, the ‘soundproofed’ technology is managed through subtle but critical design features to absorb, block, or cover sound waves, preventing them from seeping in an undesirable way. And through smart design and versatility, they can also include technology to enable employees to set ideal conditions, control ventilation and lighting and plug in and play their music.