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Acoustics in the Control Room

Most people do not realize the important role acoustics play in a control room. It can have a humongous impact on employees and their performance.

Imagine everyone in the room is talking quietly. Do you still hear sounds? Is there a humming noise? Is there an echo?

Did you know those noises can build up creating unnecessary background noise, which is distracting to employees? But did you know it is avoidable?

Learning how sound interacts with your space will help mitigate any sound distractions, enabling the operator greater concentration. Unnecessary and unwanted sounds can lead to headaches, distractions, and can make or break the work environment from being productive.

Room acoustics is how sound behaves in a room. Different items, materials, and textures can all affect how sound works and bounces throughout a space. A flat, uniform surface can reflect sound. Walls, ceilings, and floors can all reflect and bounce sound. Acoustic solutions change how a sound interacts within a space, reducing sound, and are placed strategically around the room in order to be effective.

So what items make great acoustic solutions?

  • CARPET. A standard item that can be part of your initial planning process that makes for a great sound absorber and won’t substantially increase costs. Big spaces can benefit from having carpet instead of reflective surfaces like hardwood flooring.
  • CEILINGS. Large surfaces for sound interaction, ceilings are often a forgotten area. An area rarely changed; every decade or two, ceilings are long-term solutions that can be cost-effective.
  • FOAM. Relatively inexpensive and another great sound diffuser. By placing foam around the room, you effectively change the acoustics of the control room. However, the foam must have a high PPI (pores-per-inch) in order to be effective. Inexpensive foam with a low PPI may not work as expected of it.
  • ACOUSTIC PANELS. Acoustic panels are the popular choice for sound absorption and diffusion. They naturally have a high PPI, making it more acoustic than regular foam. They provide a clean look to the room and can sport designs or art making them act as decoration as well as functional. Acoustic panels are extremely effective in absorbing sound.
  • PRIVACY PANELS. Larger spaces are a different challenge for acoustics. With minimal walls to add panels or foam to block or absorb sound in the middle of the room, privacy panels are a great alternative. They can be installed in between consoles to disrupt the flow of sound.

Acoustics play a significant role in creating the ideal working environment for operators. While it just may play a smaller part of a bigger picture, the acoustics are a key part of the environment in the control room.