Gymnasiums are huge echo chambers. A gym’s noise production, transmission, and effects, also known as your gymnasium acoustics, can have a more negative impact than many realize. From the sharp sound of a coach’s whistle to screaming crowds that cheer on the home team, gym acoustics not only create noise levels that make communication difficult, but can also result in noise related hearing loss. Treating a gymnasium will also have the unexpected benefit of cutting down on noise throughout an entire building.
Why so noisy?
It’s all about echo and reverberation. You’re probably familiar with an echo, from the sharp slap of a book dropped in an empty hallway to your voice responding back to you as you yell across a vast canyon. Well, gym acoustics are a bit like that vast canyon. As noise travels in this “canyon” we get reverberation that is very noticeable in such a large, voluminous space. When reverberation occurs in a hard surfaced room (like your gym) the sounds can actually increase in intensity, lasting for several seconds. This can hamper communication and contribute to even higher noise levels as everyone gets louder and louder trying to be heard. (You can read more about reverberation and other acoustical terms here).
What to do and what to use?
Due to the typical room structure of a gymnasium, we recommend that gym soundproofing be focused on walls and ceilings. Adding sound absorbing materials is the best remedy and there are a variety of gym acoustic treatments available to help you improve your gymnasium’s acoustics.
One option is the Sound Silencer™, which can be applied directly to both walls and/or ceilings. This product is extremely durable and very effective at sound control management.
Another great choice is the Echo Eliminator™. These recycled cotton panels can be applied directly to a wall or used as a baffle, suspended from your gym’s ceiling. They come in 10 great colors, one of which is sure to complement your school colors! Check out this blog post describing one school’s unique way of soundproofing their gymnasium so that noise was reduced while also being visually appealing. The Echo Eliminator also makes attractive hanging acoustical baffles that may count towards making your school LEED® certified.