Reduce Noise in Your Conference Rooms
Imagine you’re in your conference room, listening to a pitch for a potential partnership with your company, one that could really make a positive impact. But instead of focusing on the numbers, you and everyone else are distracted by outside noises. Soon, your attention is no longer on the presentation but rather the annoying sounds coming in. The presenter leaves, visibly upset that your entire attention wasn’t there. The deal falls apart and what could have been great, walks out the door because your conference room was too noisy.
That can’t happen! Any scenario where the quality of your meeting is reduced because your conference room is too noisy is unacceptable.
What can be done to promote conference room noise reduction? This isn’t an easy fix. It’s not like adding conference room scheduling software; there are some things that are out of your control. The construction in the building next door isn’t something you can politely ask them to pause for an hour.
Soundproofing a conference roomis a proactive measure that you can take so that you never have to deal with ambient noise affecting your meetings. Fully soundproofed conference rooms will reduce the noise coming into the conference room as well as the sound coming from within the conference room itself. A soundproofed conference room will offer a peace and quiet for the entire office.
Soundproofing Vs. Sound Absorption
To completely soundproof your conference room, you’re going to need a combination of soundproofing & sound absorption products. Soundproofing products contain sound and prevent it from traveling to other areas of a building. Meanwhile sound absorption products absorb the sound that bounces from open areas in your conference room. Sound absorption is what solves your poor acoustics, ambient noise, and that annoying echo.
If you’re looking for effective soundproofing solutions, you have two choices. There’s sound blockers and the sound absorbers.
Sound Blockers – In order to block sound, you need something that has mass and must be air-tight. It needs to eliminate vibration. Vibration is what causes the outside sound from coming through your walls.
Sound blockers have the mass needed to keep the sound from entering your conference room from outside areas. You can install sound blockers in the walls, floors, doors, and ceiling of your conference room.
Sound Absorbers – soak up the sound. These are best if you want to control the amount of sound that comes from your meeting room to the outside areas and reduce noise in a room.
Unlike sound blockers, sound absorbers are light. You don’t need the same mass density to absorb sound as you do to completely stop it. This allows you more conference room design options since sound absorbers are added to finished walls, floors, doors, and ceilings.
Where Is Your Noise Coming From?
Determining where excessive sound is coming from will help you determine if you require the entire process of soundproofing a conference room or just some simple sound absorption materials.
The needs of a 4th floor Manhattan office, where you can hear city life, will be different than if you’re located in a quieter suburban business complex that has little to no foot or vehicle traffic.
The location of your conference room within your office is also a factor to consider. Does your conference room have an adjoining wall with a neighboring company for example? You might be more concerned with the noise going out rather than going in (i.e. confidentiality). In both cases, knowing how to absorb sound in an office is necessary. Or your conference room is in a high trafficked area of your office and your meetings are disrupted by the rustling of people constantly walking by. You’ll absolutely want a solution that prevents those kinds of sounds from coming in.
Knowing where your sound is coming from and what solution you’ll need will dictate what materials to purchase to soundproof your conference room.
Soundproofing a Conference Room: What Are Your Options
Soundproof drywall is more expensive than traditional drywall. It increases the mass density needed to block sound by adding layers of materials such as steel and gypsum board to the walls.
MLV is great for soundproofing your walls and floors. This heavy vinyl can be installed below the finishing layer of your walls and floors. Therefore you won’t see MLV, it’s under your rugs and tiles.
These are special soundproofing curtains. Don’t get these confused with regular curtains and acoustic curtains. Regular curtains will not block sound and acoustic curtains improve sound quality in the conference room. Soundproof curtains contain materials such as the aforementioned mass-loaded vinyl, with other materials like quilted fiberglass layered on top of it. These stiff curtains are hung from frames which makes taking them down easy.
How to Absorb Sound in the Office?
You have more options for sound absorption since it can be added after construction. It’s visible to your meeting room, so the option to customize your design is important.
Hanging baffles are particularly great if your office is a converted industrial building. They’re made of fiberglass and covered with acoustic fabric. The options to decorate the baffles are endless.
Acoustic partitions are just like hanging baffles, but they’re placed on the ground. If the meeting room manager needs to, he can simply move these partitions. They’re light, so it’s not a hassle. These too can be decorated as you’d like.
Foam is often associated with soundproofing. It’s terrible at keeping outside sound from creeping into your meeting room. But it’s a viable solution for your sound absorption needs. It can be as easy as peel-and-stick. The drawback used to be that it wouldn’t look as beautiful your other options; however, that has changed with the ability to purchase patterns & shapes that can compliment a room well.
It’s not just the walls of your office that affect the acoustics of your conference room. Your floor plays a role as well. Many offices have minimal carpeting or no carpeting at all. Sound will bounce off those floors and amplify the noise. Not what you need if you want to absorb sound in the office.
An easy solution to this problem is buy a rug. That’s it, just buy a large rug for your conference room and place it on the ground. The rug will help absorb the sound and keep your conference room quiet.
There are plenty of options for soundproofing your conference room. You first have to identify where the sound is coming from. Then you have to choose whether you’re more concerned with sound coming in or sound leaving. The options to solve both sound problems are out there.