Gymnasium Acoustics and Noise Treatments

Updated Feb 15, 2024

Gymnasiums have a long history as multifunctional hubs for development, education, and competition. Going back to the Hellenistic period of Ancient Greece, the gymnasium was a standardized building for athletic activities, studies, and philosophical discussions.1

Today, gymnasiums still accomplish various purposes thanks to the large space. It can host diverse events such as pep rallies, concerts, graduations, and competitions.

The only challenge with hosting these events in your school or community center gym? Noise.

Hard, reflective surfaces—like the gym floor, walls, and ceilings—are abundant in gyms, and these surfaces are responsible for bouncing back gym sounds and creating echo. Fortunately, proper gymnasium acoustics and noise treatment can help improve your gym’s sound quality.

Why Gymnasium Acoustics Matter

Gymnasium sound quality should be taken seriously as it can make or break the gym experience for both athletes and spectators.

So, how to reduce echo in a large room? Echo reduction and noise absorption in gyms can help players register coaching instructions more clearly. Communication in team sports is essential, so players being able to hear each other is an often overlooked consideration within gymnasiums.

Creating loud noise through cheers, applause, and friendly heckling is a quintessential part of the fan experience. Still, sound-dampening technology deployed in gymnasiums can only benefit the viewer. Loudspeaker announcements become clearer so you can follow the game better, and you no longer have to yell into the ear of the person next to you to be heard.

Contact us to find your perfect acoustical fit today!

Common Noise Culprits in Gyms

The following are some of the most common sources of complaints for any athlete or participant trying to concentrate in a noisy gym space:

  • Competing music from different sources
  • Noise from group classes and instructors
  • Clanging weights and metal equipment
  • Noise from machinery like treadmills and ellipticals
  • Conversations and exertion noises from members

If you’ve ever been in a fitness center or gym space and accidentally left your headphone at home, you know just how distracting and bothersome the above noises can be when trying to focus on a workout.

Luckily, the sound-mitigation tech of acoustic panels for gymnasiums can make even the most hectic environments more sonically pleasing.

Solutions for Gym Noise Reduction

Acoustic panels can transform the auditory soundscape of a gym by capturing and rebalancing rogue soundwaves or completely absorbing them.

  • Sound-absorbing acoustic panels constructed from soft, rough materials trap soundwaves and convert a percentage of the energy into heat within the material. When the soundwave releases from the panel, the weakened vibration prevents constant echoing as the sound dissipates faster.
  • Sound-diffusing acoustic panels collect sound waves and scatter them back into the environment in a more balanced, evenly distributed pattern. Typically made with hard, flat, or complex surfaces, diffusing panels help prevent soundwaves from collecting together, which helps reduce sound interference.

Wall-mounted acoustic panels

Acoustic wall panels for gymnasiums offer a low-profile and safe solution to your noise reduction needs. The Sound Silencer™ acoustic plank, in particular, is an excellent option for gyms due to its resistance to impacts, moisture, bacteria, and fungi.

Ceiling-mounted baffles

Acoustical ceiling baffles are perfect for absorbing noise and reducing echoes in large spaces. The Echo Eliminator™ Baffles are a standout option in this category. They’re easy to hang and fully customizable so that you can match function with style.

Sealing Air Leaks

It’s crucial to consider noise leakage through air gaps, such as in doorways, when tackling a gymnasium’s sound quality. Adopting a soundproofing door seal solution like an adjustable acoustic door seal kit can turn your leaky, flimsy gym doors into substantial, sound-reducing barriers that protect your gym against unwanted noise reverberation.

Maintaining Gym Equipment

If your gymnasium doubles as a fitness center or houses exercise equipment, there are additional measures you can take to enhance the aural atmosphere for your lifters.

In particular, gym equipment that isn’t cleaned regularly and appropriately can create unwanted noise—from whiny, scrape-y Olympic barbells to noisy, recklessly vibrating treadmills.2 For this reason, it’s important to maintain your gym’s machinery.

Sound Attenuation Materials

Attenuation refers to the gradual reduction of a sound as it travels through a medium. Different materials have different densities and compositions and may or may not be effective at blocking sound.

To that end, if you can increase the attenuation of your gymnasium’s wall assembly by increasing wall thickness with additional insulation, this might be an option worth pursuing.

Choosing the Right Acoustic Treatment

Carefully consider your gymnasium’s purpose and the activities that take place there when determining the proper acoustic adjustments to deploy.

What’s the ceiling height? How ample is the total space? Are there fixtures or features of the gymnasium’s walls or ceiling that you must work around?

Deciding between wall panels and hanging ceiling baffles, for instance, may ultimately come down to your aesthetic and functional preferences, as both are effective for echo reduction and noise control. However, if you have low ceilings, baffles could disrupt athletic activities where equipment is launched high into the air, like volleyball or badminton.

Likewise, wall panels are at higher risk of being hit by the gym equipment, so finding  secure and durable panels is vital.

Gym Soundproofing: A Case Study

Need to fix an echo in your home gym but aren’t sure where to start? One family experienced a similar situation: they wanted to make their home gym quieter while safer for their children to run around.

By employing Sound Silencer™ acoustical wall panels, the family could reduce echo and safely absorb impacts in their home gym. As a bonus, the result looks fantastic!

Leverage Professional-Grade Products from Acoustical Surfaces to Upgrade Your Gymnasium

Your gym can always benefit from innovations in acoustic management technology, whether you need to mitigate echo to boost athlete comfort or improve sound quality for a superior spectating experience—and Acoustical Surfaces can help.

Acoustical Surfaces offers highly personalized and expert guidance to help you find the right solution for your gym. No matter what you’re looking for, you can start making lasting improvements to your gymnasium by talking to an Acoustic Specialist today.



  1. World History Encyclopedia. Gymnasium.
  2. Garage Gym Reviews. 19 Tips and Tricks on How to Soundproof a Home Gym.


  1. carol hickey

    we are working on a project which includes an expansion of the gym area – it is for a non-profit youth organization.
    Can you make recommendations for the acoustic treatment – walls , ceilings, and maybe the floor.

    • Acoustical Surfaces

      Hello and thank you for the question! Having worked with gymnasium situations for a number of years, I would be happy to make recommendations for treatment ideas for the walls and ceilings. Carpet or a similar type floor doesn’t usually work well with the use of a gym, so almost all types of surfaces that are used to reduce the echo in a space are intended for the walls or the ceilings.

      Considering that the space is a non-profit organization, I my initial suggestion is our Echo Eliminator panels. Being made from recycled cotton fibers, these are some of the most cost effective, class A fire rated and highest performing panels on the market. The panels are 2’ x 4’ and are made in both 1” and 2” thick options and in six colors. They are made and marketed to be a cost effective and more utilitarian panel than some of the higher priced and more aesthetically intentional options. Most panels are installed fairly high onto the walls or directly onto the ceiling where they are more out of harms way than if they were closer to the floor. I always suggest spacing the panels out by a few inches or more as the exposed edges of the panels will help to increase the amount of absorption due to the additional surface area exposed to the sound.

      If you would like a hand with the number of panels needed for the gym, please feel free to send me some rough measurements of the space (width, length and height), a few digital pictures and your physical address so that I can send some physical product samples to you for you to review. Once I have that information, I would be happy to put a quote and some options together for you and discuss the next steps or answer whatever questions you have.

      Thank you again for the question and I look forward to helping to take the edge off of the reverberation/echo in the space!

      Ted Weidman
      Commercial Brand Manager
      Acoustical Surfaces

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