Acoustiblok Soundproofing Blog Articles

WARNING: Secondhand Noise In the Area

Posted by Thomas Wiseman on Nov 7, 2013 6:05:00 PM

 noise, secondhand noise, Acoustiblok

It creates stress and stimulates aggression and other social behaviors. It causes headaches, makes you irritable, and can keep you from getting a good night’s sleep. It can raise your blood pressure and cause heart disease and hearing loss over time.  Surely, this sounds like something that has to be dealt with. What is it? Noise. 

Where are the ad campaigns informing people of the dangers of excessive noise? Where are the public service announcements aimed at educating youth and adults about the health effects of constant loud noise? They are rarely seen. The closest thing we see or hear are warnings and announcements aimed at youths who listen to loud music in headphones. It's time to start spreading the word.  

Noise and Secondhand noise, AcoustiblokNoise that is experienced by people who did not produce it is called second hand-noise. Like secondhand smoke, secondhand noise can have negative impacts on people without their consent. Exposure to secondhand noise occurs in many places such as homes, the workplace, restaurants and bars, on a city street, at a park, and many other places we frequent. 

Some examples of secondhand noise include:

   -  An airplane flying over your house or place of residence

   -  Trains traveling near your home or workplace all day long   

-  Cars, trucks, tractor trailers, buses and motorcycles driving up and down the roads

   -  Construction workers using jack hammers or operating heavy equipment like bulldozers

   -  A constant humming noise of a neighbor’s loud HVAC unit running constantly

   -  A neighbor with a dog that barks constantly 

   -  Noise coming from excessively loud car stereos

   -  Loud noise from small engine powered landscaping machines.

We experience noise in a number of ways. On some occasions, we can be both the cause and the victim of noise, such as when we are operating noisy appliances or equipment. There are also instances when we experience noise generated by others just as people experience second-hand smoke. While in both instances, noises are equally damaging, second-hand noise is more troubling because it has negative impacts on us but is put into the environment by others, without our consent. And it’s nearly impossible to avoid these days. While noise regulations worldwide have helped regulate the amount of noise that a person or machine can create at a given time of the day, most police departments seem to be unwilling or unable to respond to noise-related problems in a way that provides any measure of genuine or timely control. The amount of man-made noise in the environment is still a serious problem. 

Let’s face it, eliminating secondhand noise is virtually impossible in the 21st century as things stand today. Even staying in your house or place of residence can’t keep secondhand noise out. It’s getting harder and harder to find quiet environments. While separating smokers from nonsmokers, cleaning the air, opening windows, and ventilating buildings can eliminate secondhand smoke exposure, it’s much more difficult with sound and noise.  Unlike light waves, sound waves travel through walls of the places we live, work, and frequent. While it’s impossible to eliminate all noise in an environment, there are ways that you can mitigate the amount of entering walls of buildings.

More widespread use of sound mitigating materials in the structure of buildings at the construction phase would help give people a quieter place to escape too void of outside noises. Modern soundproofing materials such as Acoustiblok and Quietfiber for example, can reduce noise inside to a more comfortable level. 

Tags: soundproofing materials, secondhand noise, Effects of noise, health effects of noise, soundproofing, Noise pollution, noise

Silence the Ultimate Frontier. Or is it? - Part 2: Anechoic Chambers

Posted by Thomas Wiseman on Nov 5, 2013 1:49:00 PM

describe the image

Anechoic Chambers

An anechoic chamber (an-echoic meaning non-echoing or echo-free) is a room designed to completely absorb reflections of either sound or electromagnetic waves. They are insulated from exterior sources of noise. The combination of both aspects means they simulate a quiet open-space of infinite dimension, which is useful when exterior influences would otherwise give false results. 

While it sounds like a dream come true for anyone seeking a quiet and peaceful place, it can be a little unnerving. It's not a place you would want to hang out in because all of a sudden you're in an environment where there is no reflection of sound, and your usual perception is gone. It 20121025 anechoic chamber closeup cbscan be creepy, unnerving and cause hallucinations.

Anechoic chambers are used by a multitude of manufacturers to test how loud their products are. Anechoic chambers are also used to test microphones and other audio equipment, but the lack of reverb creates a peculiar effect on the ears. They feel stuffy and plugged because, in jarring contrast to the noise encountered throughout the day, the ears aren't getting any feedback from the environment. After sitting in a confined space devoid of echoes for long enough, some people report hearing their own heartbeats, respiration and other bodily functions, a phenomenon termed "auto-emissive noise."

anechoic testing auto testing 1Anechoic chambers range from small compartments the size of household microwave ovens to ones as large as aircraft hangars. The size of the chamber depends on the size of the objects to be tested and the frequency range of the signals used, although scale models can sometimes be used by testing at shorter wavelengths. Apple and Microsoft have one, so does the U.S. military and many universities just a few. E&C Anechoic Chambers is a world leader in development and manufacturing of microwave absorbing materials and anechoic chambers. They use the chamber to test everything from cars, busses, jet airplanes, computers, satellites and other things. 

Anechoic chambers, a term coined by American acoustics expert Leo Beranek, were originally used in the context of acoustics (sound waves) to minimize the reflections of a room. More recently, rooms designed to reduce reflection and external noise in radio frequencies have been used to test antennae, radars, or electromagnetic interference.

anechoic chamber with person in itCompanies such as Apple, Microsoft, Orfield Laboratores, and even the U.S. government has one and so do many universities. The anechoic chamber at Orfield Laboraties in South Minneapolis is 99.99 per cent sound absorbent and holds the Guinness World Record for the world’s quietest place. It achieves its ultra-quietness by virtue of 3.3-foot-thick fiberglass acoustic wedges, double walls of insulated steel and foot-thick concrete. But stay there too long and you may start hallucinating. The company’s founder and president, Steven Orfield said in a published article, “We challenge people to sit in the chamber in the dark. When it’s quiet, ears will adapt. The quieter the room, the more things you hear. You'll hear your heart beating; sometimes you can hear your lungs, hear your stomach gurgling loudly. In the anechoic chamber, you become the sound. This is a very disorientating experience.”

We walk around in environments that are naturally noisy. We live in more and more mechanized societies and that has created even more noise. Remove all of that noise and it gives you a different sensation. But your ears didn't change. While the idea of hearing your own blood rushing through your arteries is odd, it’s only odd because you haven't listened to it before. But it's always been there.

How we orient yourself on earth is through sounds you hear when you walk. In the anechoic chamber, you don't have any cues. You take away the perceptual cues that allow you to balance and maneuver. 

Tags: anechoic chamber, soundproofing

Background Noise Adds to Creativity, But Not If it's Too Loud

Posted by Thomas Wiseman on Oct 24, 2013 3:35:00 PM


describe the image

How much background sound is acceptable?

Background Noise is the noise level at a given location and time, measured in the absence of any alleged noise nuisance or sound sources being studied. It is also referred to as the ambient or residual noise. Background noise is a form of noise pollution or interference. Examples of background noises are environmental noises such as waves, traffic noise, alarms, people talking, bioacoustic noise from animals or birds and mechanical noise from devices such as refrigerators or air conditioning, power supplies or motors.

Noise is defined as unwanted sound. Whether we are in our homes, workplaces, or outdoors, we will almost certainly be exposed to a certain level of background or ambient sound. Before we can begin to solve a noise control problem, we must determine how much background sound is acceptable. We can never create, nor do we really want, a completely sound-free environment. We do not wish to live in a world without sound. 

The question becomes: at what level does background sound become too loud for a particular situation? A moderate level of background sound can be helpful when it prevents private conversation in the home or workplace from being overheard by nearby listeners, yet doesn’t make it difficult for those conversing to be heard by each other.

Very low level background sound can even contribute to sleep or rest when not interrupted by intermittent or sudden loud noises. In some public places, a somewhat higher level of background sound may be acceptable. Other places, such as auditoriums and concert halls where very low background sound levels are required, present particular problems in sound control.

Background Noise Contributes to More Creativitydescribe the image

Researchers asked 65 students at the University of British Columbia to perform various creative tasks while noises recorded at a roadside restaurant were played in the background. In one experiment, for example, scientists asked participants to brainstorm ideas for a new type of mattress. Test subjects had the most success when the noise in the background was noticeable, but not jarring.

The researchers found that test subjects were at their most creative when background noise was measured at 70 decibels, a level one might find in a fairly busy coffee shop. A nearly silent environment (50 decibels) was too quiet. Cranking up the volume to 85 decibels (for example, adding a jackhammering laborer outside your building) is counterproductive; the noise becomes a distraction.

Tags: background noise, creativity, soundproofing, Noise pollution

Office Noise Negatively Impacts Concentration and the Bottom Line: Part 4

Posted by Thomas Wiseman on Oct 18, 2013 3:40:00 PM

  open office Part 4 pic

Acoustical Design and Treatments

Most office environments have poor acoustical design and often lack modern day sound mitigating systems which reduce office noise and make the environment more pleasant for office workers. In the open plan office, the acoustical performance of panels, ceilings, floors and walls must be controlled if speech privacy is to be maintained. The overall noise level should be compatible with the intended use of the space. If your office is noisy, some possible treatments include:

 acoustiblok office  soundproofing Add sound barrier materials to block noise or acoustical insulation to absorb noise inside wall joists. 

Use acoustical sound panels near cubicles as barriers or use acoustical “cloud” panels overhead to absorb sound.

Add a thin layer of acoustical wall cover material on top of drywall.

Hang acoustical sound absorbing décor on the walls.  

These types of acoustical materials reduce the amount and intensity of noise in an office building and can decrease stress and increase productivity. 

Benefits of Installing Office Soundproofing

The extensive use of open-plan design for offices has highlighted the problems related to the acoustical conditions in these environments. Installing soundproofing materials in the office:  

happy office guys Decreases employee distraction, which ultimately increases concentration and the quality of their work.

Reduces stress along with mental and physical fatigue. 

Makes conversations clearer, resulting in better communication between employees.

Provides a more pleasant working environment. 

Keeps work areas more private. A lack of employee communication privacy is a common complaint in most offices. 

Help keep sensitive company information more private. 

Help employees stay focused for longer periods of time.

Tags: office soundproofing, Office noise, noisy office, acoustical office treatments, soundproofing

Office Noise Negatively Impacts Concentration and the Bottom Line: Part 3

Posted by Thomas Wiseman on Oct 16, 2013 5:30:00 PM

Blog Collage Insects Office Noise

Interfering Physical Noises

People differentiate unconsciously between good and bad sounds. People call many different kinds of sounds "noise." What is called a noise is highly subjective, depending on its loudness and sound characteristics, the same sound can be called a "pleasant noise" by some people while exactly the same sound can be called an "unpleasant noise" by other people.

Interfering noises (or interfering sounds) are sounds with a negative sound quality, that is, the sound event leads to a hearing event, which is perceived as unpleasant, disturbing and interfering. This sound event usually releases negative associations. A noise can be characterized as interfering, if it fulfills at least one of the following conditions:

   • A sound is unpleasant and interferes with what they are doing.  

   • The sound quality is worse than expected. The extent to which the person feels disturbed (little or high) is not relevant.

   • A sound occurs without the user expecting the sound event. 

copy machine by Cubile workerWhile most office workers have become accustomed to telephones ringing at 65 plus decibels and copy machines running at 70-plus decibels, an interfering noise doesn't necessarily have to be loud. A mosquito can produce considerable disturbing sound, although it is comparatively quiet with a volume of only approximately 30 decibels. A large housefly from 9 feet (3.0 m) makes a noise of 40 decibels. These may be perceived as unpleasant sounds to many when heard or experienced.  By contrast, an orchestra might produce very pleasant sounds, even if its volume amounts to nearly 90 decibels of sound. 

Tags: office cubicle noise, office soundproofing, Office noise, noisy offices, unpleasant noise, interfering noise, soundproofing, Acoustiblok, noise

Office Noise Negatively Impacts Concentration and the Bottom Line: Part 2

Posted by Thomas Wiseman on Oct 9, 2013 12:45:00 PM

The Office

Source of Office Noise

Most people have seen the NBC mockumentary sitcom "The Office," which brilliantly told stories about the current contemporary work culture.  The show depicted the tribulations that arise when a group of people occupy the same open office space out of necessity rather than choice. While NBC's version of The Office skewered the monotony that is working in an office in an over the top fashion, it does show how noise and distractions impact those around them. 

Internal office noise can include ringing telephones and fax machines, loudspeaker paging systems, copy machines, HVAC systems, rustling paper, and other things. There are also occasional external noises that can make their way into an office building which occur during the course of a day. If you work near an outside wall of a building or near a window or door leading to the outside, you may hear noises from automobiles and trucks, airplanes, or noise from motorized landscaping machines such as lawnmowers,  trimmers, or blowers. 

The Office Dwight Shroot talkingNoise doesn't have to come from machines or equipment to be distracting or cause interference to our concentration abilities. In fact, speech, especially chit chat, ranks highest on the list of annoying office noise, according to a paper for the National Research Council of Canada.

Conversations that occur around you all day long are a major source of indoor office noise. While dialogue and interaction is a big part of a business on a day-to-day basis, many of these occur in places where the noise is not contained. It’s often difficult to hear over them and think as clearly as you normally do when they are audible. Studies with a specific focus on speech sounds have shown that the more intelligible the background speech is, the lower the performance says study author Helena Jahncke, Ph.D., a professor of environmental psychology at the University of Gälve in Sweden. It’s not clear exactly why this is, but one theory is that your brain automatically wants to devote mental resources to understanding speech, so that means less brain power devoted to your own thoughts, Jahncke explains.

At any given time, a cubicle worker may be overhearing one or more phone conversations, water cooler chats, impromptu meetings, bull sessions, and even co-workers muttering at their computers. These activities can occur at decibel levels that range from 65 – 75 decibels or louder. These distractions often drown out our own thoughts, turning us into involuntary eavesdroppers.

Watch for Part 3 of this 4 part blog post series on office noise! 



Tags: office cubicle noise, office soundproofing, Office noise, noisy offices, soundproofing

Noise is a Severe Problem in India

Posted by Thomas Wiseman on Jul 19, 2013 4:14:00 PM

india noise pollutionloud speakers

Over the past decade, India has tried to get quieter, but is it working? Noise pollution is still a severe problem in India and may have harmful consequences on human health over time. Noise regulations were introduced in India about a decade ago, setting noise limits in industrial, commercial and residential areas, with stiff fines for offenders. Despite this, there is still little awareness or care about the dangers of noise pollution by many who live there. Because of a lack of manpower to enforce the laws or vested interests of politicians or the so called powerful lobby, noise legislation is not enforced effectively some experts claim. 

India is the seventh largest country by area and the second most populous country with more than 1.2 billion people. Since 1991, continuing economic liberation has moved the country towards a market-based economy. By 2008, India had established itself as one of the world's fastest growing economies

Some of the general noise problems in India include:  

    -  Industrial and construction activities

    -  Traffic noise

    -  Automotive traffic and honking of horns

    -  Fire crackers

    -  Generator sets

    -  Loud speakers 

    -  Music systems.

Air and road traffic in India and many developing countries have increased at amazingly rapid rates. While they may be symbols of growth and prosperity their engines have raised the noise levels in and above many cities. Aviation noise are among the biggest contributors to noise pollution.  Then there is the cumulative impact of powerful music systems (personal and conventional) and noise within the home (loud music and television for instance) that are increasingly becoming the source of many noise related ailments.

For some countries, including India, celebrations and festivities mean escalation of noise. Fire crackers and loudspeakers add to traffic noises which reverberate through crowded housing colonies, causing one of the world’s least recognised public health hazards – noise pollution. Infants, elderly and those who are ill are most vulnerable to noise pollution.

India’s Noise Control Regulatory Measures

India’s Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act of 1981 considers noise pollution an air pollutant. In 2000, the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules set ambient air quality standards in respect of noise (in decibels, dB) for industrial, commercial and residential areas and silence zones. They also direct state governments to undertake measures for “abatement of noise” resulting from vehicular movements and horns, fire crackers and loud speakers or public address systems, and to ensure that noise levels do not exceed the permissible limits.

The Supreme Court of India gave a significant verdict on noise pollution in 2005. Unnecessary honking of vehicles makes for a high decibel level of noise in cities. The use of loudspeakers for political purposes and for sermons by temples and mosques makes noise pollution in residential areas worse.

 Watch this Video News Broadcast About India's Noise Laws

In January 2010, Government of India published norms of permissible noise levels in urban and rural areas:

            India Air Quality Standards

             Source: Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India

Civil organizations have combated noise pollution by taking up the matter to local development authorities or by taking legal recourse. Indian judiciary has sought to provide respite to tormented petitioners through a number of judgments. For example, the Supreme Court has banned the use of loudspeakers and “bursting sound-emitting” fire crackers between 10 pm and 6 am. Nevertheless, the issue of noise pollution is unrelentingly grave. This is primarily because of poor law enforcement, owing to the absence of accountability for police and civic administration almost across the country, and the lack of civic sense among people.

The Indian Ministry of Environment and Forests launched the Real Time Ambient Noise Monitoring Network in 2011 to address the lack of real-time data. Under its first phase, automatic monitoring stations were set up in seven cities: Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Lucknow. The data received from these stations showed that the noise levels were far above permissible limits. For example, commercial areas reported 93 dB in breach of the 65 dB limit, whereas the entire city of Chennai reported noise levels at over 100 dB, prompting an article in the Times of India (April 27, 2011) to equate living in Chennai with “living in a factory!”

India’s Loudest Cities

Indian cities are known to be pretty noisy. According to one estimate, Mumbai is one of the noisiest cities on earth battered day and night by cars, taxis, auto rickshaws horn, factory noise, construction work, etc. Outside noise levels there are at a constant 80-85 decibels which is considered twice the safe levels determined by the World Health Organization (W.H.O). Mumbai, formerly known as Bombay, is the capital city of the Indian state of Maharashtra. It is the most populous city in India, and the fourth most populous city in the world, with a total metropolitan area population of approximately 20.5 million. Along with the neighboring urban areas, including the cities of Navi Mumbai and Thane, it is one of the most populous urban regions in the world. Mumbai was the site of terrorist attacks in 2008. In Mumbai and Calcutta, local court orders on the use of loudspeakers, firecrackers and horns have been implemented fairly successfully. 

Get a feel for traffic noise in Mumbai by watching this video someone made of them walking up Station Road, Santa Cruz in Mumbai

In Delhi, as reported by India Today (November 4, 2012), the noise level is 16 times higher than the prescribed limit, mostly because of the “unregulated and overloaded” trucks, sparing not even the patients in AIIMS and Safdarjang Hospital. In the Capital and other parts of the country, operation of factories in residential areas is another source of day-to-day distress, especially affecting the students and ailing residents.

Harmful Effects of Excessive Noise Exposure

Auditory damage from excessive noise was known hundred years of ago but only few people were exposed to excessive noise. The position changed rapidly with the advent of power-driven machinery. Today, noise has become omnipresent. The W.H.O. estimates that 120 million people world wide have hearing difficulties. The W.H.O. underlines that loud noise can create high blood pressure problems and mental health issues. Health experts argue noise pollution in India is a major cause of heart attacks and other stress related illnesses.

The following are some general health problems produced by constant loud noise:

    -  High blood pressure: Studies have found that people who live near a noisy airport, work in a noisy environment, or hear over 55 decibels of city traffic noise at night are at higher risk of high blood pressure.

    - Trouble sleeping: Noise can make it tough to sleep.

    -  Emotional effects: The stress caused by noise can make mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety, distress, and irritability.

    -  Decrease in the ability to concentrate.

    -  Hearing loss

    - Poor school performance: Children in school do not perform as well in a noisy environment.

    - Mental fatigue

    - Headaches: Noise can trigger headaches in some people.

    - Discomfort to patients in hospitals.

    - May reduce efficiency and output of employees in the workplace. 

Soundproofing Material Can Help Bring Tranquility Back to Your Home

There are many soundproofing materials that can be used to mitigate the noise coming in from the outside of your residence.  One of the most effective materials on the market is Acoustiblok soundproofing material.

Adding a 3mm (1/8 inch) layer of the UL-approved Acoustiblok material increases a standard stud wall’s soundproofing factor by more than 98-percent and can result in more sound reduction than 12-inches of poured concrete. While other materials attempt to “stop” or “absorb” sound, Acoustiblok does neither. As the heavy, limp Acoustiblok material vibrates from the sound, it actually “transforms” the acoustical energy into “inaudible friction energy” in a process referred to as “isothermal adiabatic.” Lead, previously considered the best soundproofing, works on precisely the same basis and has exactly the same Sound Transmission Classification (STC) sound reduction rating. This material has been featured on some Do-It-Yourself Television Network shows in the United States. This materials has been in use for more than a decade across the world and has proven to be effective at reducing noise inside residential and commercial buildings. Acoustiblok material was named was a "Best Products" award winner in Builder News Magazine. 

Click on the following video to see how easily Acoustiblok can be installed inside your walls. 

In an existing structure, other soundproofing materials are available that can create a quieter environment inside your home or residence. One of these materials is called Acoustiblok-Wallcover. This material can provide tranquility in the study or nursery when the television or home theater is at full volume in the adjacent room. Any room in the house can become a sanctuary with Acoustiblok Wallcover, so piano practice in the music room won’t interfere with reading or quiet conversation in the bedroom. For business and professional associations that must provide private conference and meeting rooms, Acoustiblok Wallcover is a perfect solution for preventing conversations from being heard in adjacent rooms. Attorneys, physicians, and law enforcement agencies must be able to provide private, soundproof rooms to assure client confidentiality and to protect sensitive information discussed during corporate meetings.

003Acoustiblok Wallcover’s flexible material measures approximately ¼ of an inch thick, and is available in 4-foot by 8-foot sections. Weighing about one pound per square foot, Acoustiblok Wallcover is fairly heavy, which is why it takes two or three people to install. A simple box cutter is all that is needed to create cutouts for electric sockets and light switch panels. The material can be painted to match the decor of any room. 



Mr.R.R.Nair, Noise Pollution - Critical Overview; Industrial Safety Review, India's Leading Monthly Magazine on Fire Safety & Electronic Security Industry.Sept, 2012

Romi Jain, author - Global Views 

DIY Television Network, USA 





Tags: noise regulations, India, India noise, soundproofing, industrial noise, Noise pollution, Acoustiblok, noise

USA Today Says Noise is Most Common Neighbor Dispute

Posted by Thomas Wiseman on Jul 15, 2013 12:35:00 PM


Complaint to Neighbor Form 

According to a USA Today newspaper article of July 12, 2013 that cites a source, noise is the most common neighbor dispute. The following are some excerpts from another article:

USA Today Top Neighbor Complaints Photo July 2013There are several reactive actions you can take including:

•  Research the noise and nuisance laws that prohibit excessive and unhealthy noise. Check on your county or city website, or simply Google: “Noise ordinance, (your county name). You should get many web listings for information. 

•  Talk to your neighbor about the noise issue. If nothing results from that, you can call the police and even take legal action against them, although you’re probably not going to remain friends once you go that far

 A “Proactive” Option:   Soundproof Your Home

 There is one sure way that you can ensure that neighbor noise doesn’t affect you while you are in your home. It puts the solution in your hands and is proactive. Soundproofing your walls will help create a quieter environment in your own home and will help block irritating outside noise from invading your space. 

Acoustiblok soundproofing material has been featured on DIY Network Shows. It is a flexible, dense membrane that can actually absorb noise. As Acoustiblok vibrates from sound, it actually transforms the acoustical energy into inaudible friction energy. Lead, previously considered the best soundproofing, works on this same principle. Annoying train sounds, construction equipment sound, music, etc. is abated by Acoustiblok. It goes on the studs of the wall before the drywall goes up. You can put it under your subfloor and put it in your walls to make your house quieter. 

Click On the Links Below and See Acoustiblok Soundproofing Material For Yourself 

http:/ (blocking sound)

http:/http:/ (home theater installation) (installation how to video)

A More Technical Explanation of Acoustiblok

•  Acoustiblok can reduce sound transmission by as much as 30 db depending on the frequencies.

 Acoustiblok soundproofing material is a unique barium free flexible 1/8" thick 1.1 lb. psf U.L. Classified, high STC reinforced dense noise isolating material which is utilized as a structural treatment for reducing sound transmission. 

•  Acoustiblok material contains no lead, barium or asbestos materials. 

• Acoustiblok material is specifically formulated to meet rigid requirements such that it is approved by U.L. for walls, ceilings and floors (see U.L. classification), also U.K. tested "B.S. 476: part 7". 

•  Acoustiblok material is typically applied as part of layered wall, ceiling or floor construction. It is usually stapled to wood studs or screwed to metal studs prior to drywall. 

•  Acoustiblok material has the same sound deadening effectiveness as lead without lead's problems. A typical 2 x 4 gypsum stud wall is usually 33 to 35 STC. Just one layer of Acoustiblok installed in the 2 x 4 wall is lab certified at an amazing "STC of 52" (STC 53 if with MTL studs), better than 12" of poured concrete (STC 51).

Why Can’t I Just Use Additional Drywall?

Independent certified laboratory test results demonstrate using additional layers of drywall is not a substitute for an Acoustiblok installation: Beyond the fact that the STC of Acoustiblok is better, it is very important to understand and remember that the objective is to reduce what a person hears, and is annoyed by, from the other side of a wall.

Tags: neighbor noise, neighborhood noise, soundproofing, Noise pollution, noise abatement, Acoustiblok

Loud, Noisy Restaurants Make Food Taste Bland to Diners Study Says

Posted by Thomas Wiseman on Jun 14, 2013 5:28:00 PM

Club Applebees

It was a Thursday night and I was on my way home from a business networking function. I was hungry and the NBA finals game was on TV so I thought, “is there something good in my neighborhood?”

So I pulled into Applebee's and walked toward the door. A couple exited while I was walking up toward the door and the sound of Darius Rucker’s song Wagon Wheel roared out the open door. I thought to myself, did that just come from Applebee’s or someone’s car stereo. So I entered the door and low and behold, Applebee's had become part restaurant and part night club complete with a live DJ and loud amplified speakers. What was with all this restaurant noise, I thought. 

I grabbed a wooden bar table which was located a few feet from the large wooden center bar. The server approaches and oddly leans in within about 2 inches of my face and asks what she can get me tonight. So I order an old favorite.

After listening to the songs Radioactive by the Imagine Dragons, All My Ex’s Live in Texas by George Straight, and Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke Feat at night club level, my chicken quesadilla arrived jumping and bumping. With my foot tapping, my head bobbing, and eyes focused on the basketball game, I set out to enjoy this normally reliable late night appetizer. But after a two pieces, it just wasn’t as tasty as it normally is. Something seemed different to my senses even though it looked the same. I even opened up a few pieces to check the ingredients inside the shell. What was going on? Should I complain to the manager about the taste? What if it’s not the food, but it’s me?

So I did what anyone who works for a sound proofing company would do: pull up the sound meter app on my Galaxy S3 smartphone and take a few readings. They read 87, 89 and 89 decibels. Those levels seemed more like night club noise levels than comfortable restaurant noise levels. Regular conversational speech occurs at approximately 60 decibels so patrons had to talk at louder levels which increased the total sound levels for the room. A vacuum cleaner runs at about 70 decibels and a garbage disposal at 80. Traffic on a busy roadway reaches sound levels between 80-90 decibels. A jackhammer can reach 100 decibels. A 10-12 decibel difference in sound level is perceived as half the sound to the human ear.

Then it hit me. Was this abnormally loud music interfering with my ability to experience the same taste as I normally do when the DJ is not playing loud music?

My Food Was Drowning in Loud Noise

An article I read earlier that day for a project popped into my head. The article was on The Scientific American website and was titled, “Restaurant Noise Can Alter Food Taste.” It said a noisy restaurant may drown out the taste of your food, making it bland. That’s exactly how my normally tasty quesadilla was tasting: bland. The Article referenced a study in the Food Quality and Preference Journal titled, "Effect of background noise on food perception [A.T. Woods et al]."

In the study, researchers recruited 48 college students, and fitted them with headphones playing either loud white noise, soft white noise, or nothing at all. Then the participants closed their eyes and chomped on snack foods like Pringles potato chips and cookies. The researchers discovered that the students listening to blaring static rated the chips as less salty and the cookies as less sweet—even though they were tasting the same foods as the other groups.

Other studies have shown that sound can interfere with how the brain processes smell; the researchers say the same could be true for taste. Does loud noise divert attention from the food's flavor?

Establishments are putting thought into what they want their customers to hear. But why? Is it all about atmosphere? Not according to science. First, when you eat in places with high noise levels, you lose the ability to accurately guage how sweet or salty your food is. It has to do with the way your brain is wired -- continual loud noises whip the neurons of your ear up into such a rage that for no reason they stage an all-out assault on the weaker neurons of your taste buds.

A cynical person could say that restaurants with lower quality food crank up the noise so that you're less likely to notice it, but we have no way of knowing that (maybe they just think the music adds to the "fun" atmosphere).

Diners and restaurant critics seem to agree that the noise level in a restaurant can make or break the dining experience. It’s a fine balance. If there's too much noise, customers may feel crowded and overwhelmed. Excessive noise can also lead to anxiety. If there's too little noise, customers may feel like their conversations can be overheard by absolutely everyone in the place. 

Yelp Noise RatingRestaurant raters have taken note. Yelp has begun listing noise levels atop its ratings. OpenTable, a reservations service, allows reviewers to rate restaurants as "quiet," "moderate" or "energetic." Several national restaurant reviewers now factor sonic quality into their reports. The Rundown LA, which sends email blasts on local activities, provides noise ratings when it reviews eateries.

According to the nationwide Zagat survey, noise has become the second-biggest complaint among diners, behind lousy service. In Los Angeles, 18 percent of diners ranked noise as their top peeve in 2011, up from 12 percent in 2010.

Sources of Restaurant Noise

Restaurant acoustics is influenced by several variables including spacial arrangement, shape of the walls and ceiling, materials used, construction methods used, etc. Poor restaurant acoustics begins with noise. The following are some problem noise areas:

- Human conversation: Diners hold conversations during dinner. Multiply this noise by the hundreds, plus add in noise from other sources that cause diners to have to talk at higher than normal sound levels, and it often creates a very noisy environment.  

- Bar and waiting areas: Certain areas in a restaurant are more active like around the bar and waiting area where patrons tend to be louder than in other areas. 

- Building systems: This equipment can cause unwanted noise. A loud HVAC system can cause a build-up of noise forcing diners to increase their noise level. Noise from plumbing pipes can also be an unwanted noise source.  

- Music: Most restaurants play music in the dining area which can cover other annoying sounds, such as HVAC or plumbing noise. Some play live music. If a restaurant is very reverberant and has high ceilings and a lot of reflective surfaces, music can add to the high noise problem.  

- Exterior, Traffic and Roadway Noise:  Noises from outside the restaurant, like traffic, construction, or the nearby neighborhood can also impact the interior of the restaurant. This can be a serious problem for restaurants near major highways, roadways, railways or airports. 

- Adjacent Occupancies - Restaurants in shared buildings can get noise from adjacent occupants through walls between the two spaces. 

- Public Address Systems/Intercoms - Some restaurants use loud intercom systems, which project sound, in their waiting areas during busy times to let then know their table is ready.

Open kitchen restaurant- The Kitchen: Many restaurants now have open kitchen designs, however in all kitchens, noise sources include clanging of pots, pans and dishes and talking among kitchen employees and service staff.

Acoustics and Sound Waves

A room’s acoustics have to do with the way sound travels, echoes, reverberates and resonates inside it. Concert halls, for example, are specifically designed to have just the right amount of reverberation. In many restaurants, there is very little sound absorption in these large rooms. especially in newer restaurants, and as a result, restaurant noise levels are on the rise despite many people not even realizing it.

Some restaurateurs are getting the message however and are looking for a middle ground between aesthetics, atmosphere and acoustics. At Applebee’s that night, they were playing louder than normal music more in line with night club sound levels. This type of special night is part of Applebee's efforts to bring excitement back into the restaurant in the evenings when they have drink and food happy hour prices. However, hard surfaces in the restaurant, such as the large wooden center bar; wooden tables, stools, booth benches; wooden tables and wall paneling, and hard tile floor adds to the reflective nature of the noise.

The way sound vibrations and waves behave affects the sounds we hear. Like any wave, a sound wave doesn't just stop when it reaches the end of the medium or when it encounters an obstacle in its path. Rather, a sound wave will undergo certain behaviors when it encounters the end of the medium or an obstacle. Possible behaviors include reflection off the obstacle, diffraction around the obstacle, and transmission (accompanied by refraction) into the obstacle or new medium

When a sound wave hits a hard, smooth surface, it bounces off it and changes direction. The hard surface reflects the sound in the same way as a mirror reflects light. Rigid, hard surfaces, such as wood, stone, brick or tiling (all commonly used materials in restaurants), reflect the most sound. The reflected sound waves travel back past your cars, so you hear the same sound again. Any sound energy that is not reflected is either absorbed or diffused. If it is absorbed, the energy is soaked up by the material. If it is diffused, it bounces off the surface but the waves are scattered and the sound becomes muffled.

restaurant soundproofing, noisy restaurantsOne Potential Solution

There are many acoustical products that can be used to quiet restaurant noise such as sound panels, baffles, wall covering, ceiling panels, and acoustic insulation.

Many restaurant owners mistakenly attribute loud noise to a positive user experience. They think if it’s a busy, bustling and noisy place, the customers will have a good experience. Noise can be a good thing, but only if it’s controlled and not seen as a nuisance. So restaurant owners, like most in the residential and commercial building industry, are still only mildly incorporating acoustics planning into new construction projects. 

Using modern acoustical materials such as Acoustiblok’s Quietfiber and Indoor Sound Panels, can reduce restaurant noise. The unique thing about it is its high NRC which is 1.00 unlike normal sound panels. This material can be wrapped with any fabric and put underneath tables, bars, on top of other places where you cannot see it. But nonetheless, it’s a point of sound absorption in which the sound will decay and not reflect off of. The more material that you can put in a room, the easier it is for dialogue and articulation with conversations of multiple people.


Tags: noisy restaurants, man-made noise pollution, hard surface noise abatement, noise levels, sound absorption, bland food, noise absorbing material, restaurant noise, restaurants, soundproofing, noise control, Acoustiblok, sound abatement, indoor noise

During A Tornado Emergency, Will Your Residential Standby Generator Be A Noise Nuisance?

Posted by Thomas Wiseman on Jun 7, 2013 8:02:00 PM

Acoustiblok standby generator blog

Residential standby generators may not keep you safe or be important during a tornado, but when electrical power stations and electrical lines are knocked out and hundreds of thousands of homes are left without power, standby generators do make this difficult time more tolerable for as the system is repaired. Standby generators do not run all the time, but when they do run, most are typically loud and emit sound levels ranging from 65 – 100 plus decibels, which often times annoy neighbors who don't have generators and exceed most community noise ordinances.

Being without electrical power after a storm causes increased anxiety to those affected. Living near neighbors that operate loud standby generators without soundproofing will cause increased anxiety and tension during an already difficult situation.  A generator enclosure is the generator's first line of defense against the elements. It’s important to not only keep it in good condition, but also important to have proper soundproofing materials built into your enclosure to absorb the noise and keep it to a tolerable level. Keeping your neighbors up with loud generator noise during power outages may make a normally nice neighbor not so pleasant. 

USA - Tornado Alley of the World

According to Live, in terms of absolute tornado counts, the United States leads the list globally, with an average of more than 1,000 tornadoes recorded each year. A distant second is Canada, with around 100 per year. Eighty percent of tornadoes are EF0 and EF1 (T0 through T3) tornadoes. The rate of occurrence drops off quickly with increasing strength—less than 1 percent are violent tornadoes (EF4, T8 or stronger).Outside Tornado Alley, and North America in general, violent tornadoes are extremely rare.

 Fujita TORNADO 1 ScaleMother Nature website says that in the United States, tornado season tends to move northward from late winter to mid-summer. In Southern states, tornado season is typically from March to May. In the Southern Plains, it lasts from May to early June. On the Gulf Coast, tornadoes occur most often during the spring. And in the Northern Plains, Northern states and upper Midwest, peak season is in June or July.

The two regions with a disproportionately higher incidence of tornadoes are Florida and an area in the Midwest known as Tornado Alley, a large strip of land going north to south that covers the northern region of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, the eastern edge of Colorado, southwest tip of South Dakota and the southern edge of Minnesota.

Florida’s high tornado frequency is the direct result of their daily thunderstorms coming from the ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, as well as the many tropical storms and hurricanes that affect the Florida peninsula.

In the Gulf Coast region, Dixie Alley refers to West Tennessee, West Kentucky, North Mississippi and North Alabama. These states experience a significantly later tornado season that occurs in the late fall from October through December.

Worst Tornado Outbreak Ever Recorded

The April 25–28, 2011 tornado outbreak was the largest tornado outbreak ever recorded. The outbreak affected the Southern, Midwestern, and Northeastern United States, leaving catastrophic destruction in its wake, especially across the state of Alabama. It produced destructive tornadoes in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Virginia, and affected many other areas throughout the Southern and Eastern United States. In total, 358 tornadoes were confirmed by the National Weather Service in 21 states from Texas to New York and in southern Canada. Widespread and destructive tornadoes occurred on each day of the outbreak, with April 27 being the most active day with a record of 205 tornadoes touching down that day. Four of the tornadoes were destructive enough to be rated EF5 on the Enhanced Fujita scale, which is the highest ranking possible; typically these tornadoes are only recorded about once each year or less. In total, 348 people were killed as a result of the outbreak.

When the Power Goes OutPower Outages Are Common With Tornadoes

Many severe tornadoes bring destruction to property and to electrical systems in large cities and small communities.  Despite the U.S. tornado warning program, which began in 1957, death tolls – even with a growing population – have steadily decreased. Even with today's technology, there's still no way to control where these violent and destructive tornadoes go and what they will hit.  

Media reports estimated that during the Alabama tornado outbreak on April 27 an estunated 262,000 electric “customers” (individual homes and businesses) were without electrical power. The electric utility industry assumes 3-4 people per customer which translates to approximately 786,000 to 1.4 million people being temporarily without electricity temporarily for a prolonged period of time. It can take anywhere from a few days to as many as 10 days or longer sometimes, depending on the situation and the damage. 

Standby Generators: Remember the Soundproofing

All we can do to combat severe storms is to be prepared before they strike. These storms can develop quickly. Electrical power outages in general are happening more and more frequently not only in the United States but across the world. Having a standby generator system in place can make power outages much less burdensome. 

Today's modern digital economy runs on a clean, abundant, and reliable source of power. Issues related to quality and reliable supply of power is driving up demand for backup residential and commercial generators worldwide. Having a standby generator with an enclosure that is properly soundproofed provides a win-win situation for you and your neighbors. 

Residential gen with barrier and without barrierPower outages trigger standby generator systems to automatically switch to generator power until local power is restored. Your backup power system, which typically runs on your home’s existing natural gas line or by diesel fuel, will start and switch power to your home within 10-20 seconds. In most cases, having a generator installed not only will pay for itself, but it will increase the value of your home by several thousand dollars. The excessive noise pollution caused by standby generators is usually an issue that is learned the hard way by generator owners.

So when you purchase your home standby generator, it's important not to forget about the controlling the noise it will make while running. Soundproofing your enclosure will give you the peace of mind that your neighbors won't be calling the authorities complaining about excessive noise coming from your generator at night. These complaints can lead to expensive fines and citations for violating noise ordinances.  


Tags: neighborhood sounds, generator enclosures, noisy generator, quieting generators, noise fines, generator soundproofing, noise from generator, residential standby generators, tornado safety, disaster preparedness, neighborhood noise, generators, noise recuction, soundproofing, Noise pollution, noise abatement, Acoustiblok, noise, Noise absorption