In today’s world, human beings tend to be overwhelmingly visual in that we rely on our sight more than our other senses and are far more aware of what we see than what we hear. For this reason, the effects of noise or sound in a room on our physical, mental and emotional well being can often go unnoticed. But the link between the two is undeniable. Hearing problems alone are a heavy burden on insurance companies in Europe where vocationally disability is certified. As most of us spend a good portion of our lives indoors, the acoustics in a room or a building matter, where reverberation in places like airports, shopping malls or bars can run out of control and be quite unnerving. Stress that comes from noise can cause irritation and problems with concentration. Even some psychosomatic illnesses or other pathologies can be ushered in.
Research has also shown that poor acoustics in hospitals or health care settings can lead to medical error on the part of professionals and increased physiological stress for patients, making recovery that much more difficult as sound bounces off the walls. In learning environments, it can contribute to cognitive fatigue, reduced access to speech and language acquisition skills, and problems thinking clearly. Even our mental health and sleep patterns are influenced by acoustics.
Good acoustic management demands that care and attention be brought to what products or materials are selected in creating a space. For example, timber is good material for health care facilities as it has been proven to raise spirits and reduce stress, while also being useful for reflecting and absorbing sound. But architects and designers have a bigger challenge than that as they have to balance visibility with privacy or surface maintenance with sound absorption, among other things. You want it to absorb noise while preserving good sound, so the space needs to be looked at from all angles.
Iconoplast is a strong proponent of healthy architecture and so very proud to be using BASWA acoustic systems, which are made up of 94% recycled materials and come with coatings mostly composed of natural marble sand. Free of solvents and formaldehyde, these systems use raw materials that combine traditional craftsmanship with innovative technologies and meet the applicable sustainability, environmental safety and energy efficiency standards. These acoustic and thermal-acoustic systems feature exquisitely fine and smooth groove-free surfaces that create a pleasant climate not just acoustically, but aesthetically. They can also be used outdoors. Remarkably, even treating the underside of balconies can prevent outdoor noise emissions from seeping into indoor spaces by interrupting the reflection on balcony undersides.