The Untold Benefits Of Acoustic Applications In Architecture (Part 1)


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The creepiest night in a hotel I ever had! 

Written by: Jordan Chia  

Acoustic Applications? Hmm… Hotels serve as a place for rest and recovery, a respite from the busy lifestyle of frequent travelers. But sometimes they can turn your joyful stay into a real nightmare.

At the end of this weird personal adventure, you will start to understand why being surrounded by great acoustics can make our lives way better.

I remember once when I attempted to sleep in one hotel last month. The room was visually pleasant, everything seemed to be going well, until my first attempt to shut my eyes.

When my brain attempted to kick into snooze mode, my aural senses increased their sensitivity over the next 15 minutes. I could hear that I was in a small room, there was a low frequency hum of the air conditioner, some quiet accidental bumps from the other room, etc…

Then came this unassuming high frequency sound. I still remembered the note. It was a high “C”, kind of like the one on the 2nd octave of a cheap plastic recorder. It kept coming in and out, and I wondered what that was…

…Probably one of those pipes with a hole or something…

It just didn’t go away. What made it worse, was that it wasn’t always “C”. It would modulate randomly in pitch, annoying me with its unpredictability and pervasiveness. It was next to impossible to try to sleep to the “piece” of an unknown 20th century composer I didn’t care about. I could write a scholarly article about its melodic genius, but at 3am, it was torment.

I grabbed my headphones and tried one of my “soundscape apps”, which would play sounds of nature, birds, or ocean waves. They were designed to aid in sleeping. However, to no avail, the sound was too close to my ears and I had to bring the volume up too much just to mask the offending “C” from the pipes. Noise canceling headphones couldn’t cut it off either. I ended up with barely 2 hours of sleep that night.

What I just described is the horror that traveling businessmen face every time they attempt to catch some sleep in some unfamiliar place. Many times, great attention is paid to the visual aesthetic of a place, but acoustic considerations are thrown out of the window.

Sleep deprivation sets in, and productivity the next day goes down.

So… What can we do about it? 

We need solutions to address these important problems that happen every day in hotels, hospitals, and workspaces. Don’t miss the second part of this post, where we discuss the key benefits that we can get from everyday spaces designed with acoustic applications.

Let us know if you have any questions and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter for all the latest news from the acoustic world.

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