Five Ways to Improve Classroom Acoustics

Acoustics in a classroom play a very important role in helping students hear and understand clearly what the instructor is saying. If a student is unable to hear or clearly understand what the instructor is saying, it could have a dire impact on their learning ability.

In the classroom, noise isn’t limited to just other students talking. There are other factors to consider when designing one, with acoustics playing a very important role. Classroom acoustics play a key role in the overall design of the room itself.

For instance, background noise may filter in, including noise from outside the building or from other classrooms. In some cases, even the noise from the air conditioning or heating units may cause difficulty for students who can’t hear what the instructor is saying.

Another issue is reverberation. Reverberation simply refers to the way soundwaves move around in a room. Without proper paneling or any kind of acoustics installation, the sound is likely to bounce off the desk or the walls, which may cause speech to become unintelligible.

Poor classroom acoustics can lead to serious problems, including:

  • Difficulty for students to understand speech
  • Issues with proper reading or spelling
  • Affects their concentration
  • When a student can’t focus, it may lead to negative behavior in the classroom.

Thankfully, there are several ways to improve classroom acoustics. In this article, we are going to discuss five important ways by which institutions can improve acoustics in a classroom.

1. Install Acoustic Wood Panels

One of the best ways to improve classroom acoustics is to install acoustic wood panels throughout the room. Acoustic wood panels are capable of absorbing round and reducing reverberance and flutter echo throughout the building.

Acoustic wood panels also look very good, primarily because they are covered in fabric. This fabric wrapping can be customized, so you can choose whatever design that might be appropriate in a classroom. Given the fact that most of the sound in a classroom reverberates through the walls, wood panels can be a great choice.

More importantly, acoustic wood panels are great for reducing the sound that reverberates from the back walls. This often makes it difficult for students in the back to hear what the instructor is saying. However, when installed in the back properly, they can greatly increase sound absorption, greatly improving speech intelligibility in the process.

2. Install Sound-Absorbing Ceilings

Insulating floor-ceiling assemblies or using sound-absorbing ceilings is a great way to cut out background noise. The footfall from the room above may cause disruptions and increase the background noise excessively within the classroom.

One of the best ways to mitigate the external noise in the classroom is to go with insulated ceilings. The use of sound-absorbing ceiling panels that are installed behind the false ceiling are a great option.

They remain hidden from plain view, and are great for cutting out the extra sound from outside. In a larger building with classrooms on multiple floors, this is an incredibly important step that can help reduce background noise by a considerable margin.

3. Use Carpeting or Sound Absorbent Floor Covering

The choice of flooring in a classroom can also impact acoustics considerably. Ideally, you’d want to choose thick carpeting, since it’s capable of greatly reducing reverberations.

As mentioned above, sound that hits the floor is often reverberated upwards. This can be mitigated slightly with the help of padded chairs, but to really improve the sound absorption on the flooring, you’d want to consider carpeting. There are some specialized sound absorbent floor coverings available too, and these are obviously more effective than conventional carpets.

4. Use Only Insulated Doors and Windows – And Keep Them Closed

Classrooms acoustics can be improved by dampening and absorbing noise within, and preventing external noise from filtering through. One of the most common ways by which external noise enters a closed space is through the doors and windows.

If the doors and windows in a classroom are kept open, they are obviously going to allow quite a bit of noise to filter through. The first, and arguably the simplest step, is to make sure that you keep the doors and windows closed.

In case there are issues with airflow due to keeping the doors and windows closed, it might be a wise idea to consider using silent fans instead.

However, conventional doors and windows might not do enough in keeping outside noise from filtering in. In such cases, a more effective way to improve classroom acoustics would be to install insulated doors and windows. They are considerably more effective and keeping out external noise and will greatly improve the classroom acoustics. These doors and windows are made from slightly thicker frames with proper insulation, including double-glazed glass that prevents sound from going out, or from external noise from coming in.

5. Check the HVAC Systems

A considerable amount of noise is produced from HVAC systems in classrooms. The air blowing from the vent, the clanking of the machinery, and the extra noise from the ducts, including those weird hums and buzzing can all contribute to the poor acoustics.

This creates disruption as well, making it difficult for students to hear properly. Proper cleaning and servicing is necessary, and can play an important role in ensuring that the sound is reduced. In some cases, quieter options should be considered instead of those that make loud noises.

Use AVL Systems’ Wood Panels to Improve Classroom Acoustics

AVL Systems is a leading manufacturer of high-end acoustic solutions, mainly focusing on wood panels that improve sound diffusion, reflection, and absorption. They provide a range of solutions that can greatly improve classroom acoustics while enhancing the aesthetic appeal of the space.

The company offers a complete array of acoustical wall panels and systems that are available in various shapes and sizes. They are wrapped in a high-end durable fabric, making them an excellent choice for use in classrooms or other high-traffic areas.

They offer a full range of ceiling and wall systems, including reflectors, baffles, and diffusers, all of which can be created to custom specifications to improve the interior décor of the classroom while also improving acoustics within the space.