Hot Tips (Acoustics)
Flooring's Affect on Noise Levels
- By Bob Bethel
- April 1st, 2017
When it comes to improving in-class
student learning and teacher instruction, multiple
factors must be considered. One important
factor that should not be overlooked is acoustics.
A number of studies show there is a direct
correlation between acoustics and improved
student performance. In fact, research shows
products with high Noise Reduction Coefficients
(NRC) and Impact Insulation Classifications
(IIC) promote better voice recognition.
Inappropriate levels of background noise and
reverberations can hinder reading ability,
affect behavior and attention, and affect
concentration and academic performance.
Laboratories typically use two tests to
measure the acoustic properties of interior
surfaces and finishes: airborne noise reduction
and structure-borne noise reduction.
The airborne noise reduction test, ASTM
C423-02a, measures a surface’s ability to
absorb airborne sounds, which contribute to
ambient (background) noise. These sounds can
range from a human voice to mechanical systems.
A floor covering’s measure of effectiveness
in absorbing airborne sound is expressed
as a Noise Reduction Coefficient (NRC). The
greater the NRC, the better that product is at
absorbing airborne sounds.
The structure-borne noise reduction test most
used for flooring is ASTM E492-09. This test measures
the material’s ability to reduce impact sound
transmission into the space below. Footsteps and
objects dropping on the floor are examples of
impact noises. Flooring products undergoing this
test are expressed as a whole number, the Impact
Insulation Class (IIC). The higher the rating the
greater the sound insulation.
Soft floor covering materials are excellent solutions
for reducing both airborne and structureborne
noise. They have the ability to absorb more
sound and transmit less sound than other types
of surfaces. This contributes to a quieter and
more conducive learning environment.
This article originally appeared in the April 2017 issue of School Planning & Management.
Bob Bethel is the director of Business Development, Education, for J+J Flooring Group. J+J offers an online calculator, floorlifecost.com. Bob can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 800/241-4586.