Acoustic healing: EBD for healthcare environments

by Tania Wannenburg
Acoustic healing EBD

It may be an “invisible” architectural outcome, but acoustics form a crucial part of creating a healthy environment for patients.

The indoor environment of a hospital can impact directly on a patient’s wellbeing and influence the rate and effectiveness of recovery. Therefore the architectural and functional elements of the building’s design are vital for ensuring stress-free areas of recuperation.

At the Saint-Gobain 2014 Healthcare Summit, acoustics was one subject of evidence-based design research that was highlighted by architect and designer Richard Mazuch, who advocates and creates innovations that positively impact the psychology and physiology of patient groups.

Reducing sound levels not only helps healthcare professionals to focus better, but it has also proven to aid patient recovery: It improves quality of sleep, lowers blood pressure, reduces intake of pain medication and ultimately cuts readmission rates. What’s more, it can also reduce staff stress levels and positively impact productivity.

Sound for healing
According to a publication by Busch-Vishniac et al, there is a clear trend of rising noise levels in hospitals since 1960, increasing on average by 0,4dB per year. This is fast becoming a costly and dangerous threat in many healthcare facilities as excessive noise is disruptive and can contribute to errors.

Noise levels are raised by several factors, including the insufficient insulation of walls, ceilings and services and the use of sound-reflecting, rather than sound-absorbing surfaces.

What can architects do?
Acoustics may be an “invisible” architectural outcome and many behind-the-scenes operations, such as services, can have an intensive impact on the sound environment. Acoustic insulation of the ventilation and air-conditioning systems and service pipes alleviates this and has been proven to reduce noise levels significantly.

Acoustics in buildings is about addressing both sound insulation and sound absorption. Sound absorption refers to the ability of a surface material to absorb the sound energy created within the room, as opposed to reflecting that energy. This is critical to reducing noise, improving privacy and improving quality of speech and hearing. In turn, sound insulation relates to the overall ability of a building element or building structure to reduce the sound transmission through it.

Saint-Gobain has analysed the specific requirements of healthcare facilities and formulated solutions that accommodate sound considerations through the structure of walls, floors and pipes, and the performance of acoustic ceilings.

Call them today for a solution for your project.

Saint-Gobain Gyproc
Tel: 011 345 5300
Website: www.gyproc.co.za

Solutions for effective acoustic design:
–    Ecophon sound-absorbing ceiling and wall absorber systems create healthy indoor environments.
–    Gyprocs Soundblock walling system have been designed and developed with sound insulating properties in mind.
–    Gyproc Celotex Mineral Fibre ceiling tiles are high performance acoustic ceiling tiles that are designed to control sound levels.
–    Isover’s high-performance range of ceiling, walling, flooring, perimeter and services insulation ensures acoustic and thermal comfort.

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