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Surroundings that Rock Our Auditory Senses!

Wellness Design for the Mind, Body, and Spirit! Part 4

Creating a Sound-Proof Sanctuary

Did you know that acoustic comfort play a significant role in mitigating physical and mental stress?

Particularly in urban areas, loud or repetitive exterior noises can be a source of stress and a risk factor for certain health outcomes. Studies show that individuals exposed to traffic noise have a higher risk for diabetes, stroke, and heart attack, and those exposed to road traffic and aircraft noises have a higher risk for hypertension. In addition, exposure to noise can lead to reduced reaction time and increased levels of annoyance. Preventing excessive exterior noise from reaching building interiors can help improve occupant comfort and well-being.


What are the Key Benefits of Sound Management?

  • Reduced Stress and Anxiety

  • Quieter environments lower stress and cortisol levels, promoting relaxation

  • Improved Sleep Quality

  • Effective noise reduction ensures better, uninterrupted sleep

  • Enhanced Cognitive Function

  • Noise control improves focus and concentration, essential for cognitive tasks

  • Lower Blood Pressure

  • Reduced noise exposure supports cardiovascular health by preventing hypertension

  • Enhanced Communication and Social Interaction

  • Better acoustic design improves speech clarity, facilitating effective communication

  • Increased Overall Well-being

  • Quieter environments contribute to mental health and reduce anxiety and irritability

  • Reduced Risk of Hearing Damage

  • Controlling noise levels helps prevent long-term hearing damage and loss


Some Acoustic Comfort Tips!


1. Sound Insulation

Use double-layer drywall or resilient channels to enhance wall insulation. Recycled Denim is an amazing sustainable way to provide added insulation to interior walls.

Install acoustic underlays under floors and add dense insulation in ceilings to block noise transfer between rooms. Use solid-core doors with acoustic seals to minimize noise infiltration.

2. Sound Absorption

Choose more soft furnishings like carpets, cork, bamboo, and rubber. Add curtains, and upholstered furniture to absorb sound.

Create movement in your space (curved walls, coffered ceilings) specifically designed to reduce echo (reverberation) and improve speech clarity.

3. Sound Masking

Install white noise machines or sound masking systems to cover intrusive noises.

Use ambient sounds like gentle water fountains just outside living areas to naturally mask background noise.

Add a water fountain just outside living areas to naturally mask background noise.

A few Noise Reduction Strategies

Dense Vegetation is a great sound barrier.

1. Exterior Noise Intrusion

Make sure your windows are double or triple-glazed with soundproof frames. Plant dense vegetation or install noise barriers like screens around the building to block traffic sounds.

2. Interior Noise Management

Select quieter HVAC systems and maintain them regularly to reduce noise.

Use heavy doors and soundproofing materials in these rooms to further contain noise. Use duct liners and vibration isolators to reduce noise from air handling units.


Planning and Design Strategies for Noise Control


1. Space Planning

Try to locate/ position work spaces and bedrooms away from high-traffic areas and noisy equipment.

Use hallways, closets, storage rooms, or bathrooms as buffer zones to isolate noisy areas from quiet ones.

2. Layout and Furniture

Use bookshelves, screens, plants, and textured art made from noise-dampening materials to create barriers that reduce sound.

Art made from noise-dampening materials

Performance Metrics for Acoustic Comfort

(Recommended to consult with your Wellness Designer)


1. Noise Criteria (NC) Ratings

Aim for NC ratings of 20-30 in bedrooms and meeting rooms for optimal acoustic comfort.

Regularly measure and adjust NC ratings in different areas to maintain appropriate noise levels.

2. Sound Transmission Class (STC)

Specify partitions and doors with STC ratings of at least 50 for effective sound isolation.

Use soundproof doors and thicker walls to enhance STC ratings in sensitive areas.



Sound Transmission Class (STC) Guidance by U.S. Department of Housing and Urban


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