Room acoustics in schools and sports halls

Acoustically optimized sports hall
© Shutterstock/Vereshchagin Dmitry
Interior of a modern fitness hall

Good acoustics for classrooms and sports

Noise levels in schools and sports halls are often high, which markedly impairs communication and teaching. Besides this acute exposure experienced by students and teachers, high noise levels can cause permanent health problems, even if they do not lead directly to hearing damage. Within the scope of diverse research projects and initiatives, we are therefore  investigating noise in teaching and learning rooms.

In addition to reducing the sources of noise, such as sports hall floors, well-planned room acoustics can help to decrease noise levels significantly. To achieve this, components and structures adapted to the purpose of the room and acoustic conditions are required, and room acoustics must be designed to ensure low noise levels and good speech intelligibility.

Since a number of sound-absorbing components are now available on the market for use in schools and sports halls, room acoustics can now be specifically designed for such rooms. However, there is still considerable potential to improve the design and acoustic efficiency of these products. In cooperation with our customers, we develop and optimize solutions that combine efficient sound absorption and low sound radiation (e.g., from bouncing balls) with added sound insulation. As a matter of course, we also take into account specific demands on materials, construction, and design as we develop new products.

To design acoustics in teaching and learning rooms, we implement standards such as DIN 18041, which provide benchmarks for acoustic parameters. In addition, we research general acoustical constraints in order to optimize the use of products in rooms and improve teaching and learning conditions.

A key aspect of our research in this field is subjective evaluation, which it is an essential tool when it comes to optimizing room acoustics in line with user requirements. We collaborate closely with our colleagues from the working group “Cognitive Ergonomics and Psychoacoustics”.