aged care acoustics
Hearing can deteriorate with age and being unable to hear clearly can lead to negative effects like feeling isolated. Therefore, in places where most people are older, good acoustics is vital to their health and happiness.
Common acoustic problems
Large open areas with flat, mostly hard surfaces create very difficult conditions for hearing speech. For those with less than perfect hearing, such conditions leave them out of the conversation.
Additionally, the increased background noise and exaggerated loudness of intermittent or spurious noises, can be aggravating or alarming to those with mental health issues.
Simple remedial acoustic design can turn noisy alienating rooms into comfortable community shared spaces.
Acoustic panels of any type that are used in a retirement or aged care facility need to meet some critical criteria;
They must have compliance to the Building Code of Australia for Fire Hazard Safety (BCA C1.10)
They should be mould and bacteria resistant
They should be cleanable
They should have a suitable absorption coefficient (NRC), AlphaW and Sound Absorption Class (Appendix B of DIN EN ISO 11654)
They should not fade or collapse over time
What does it look like?
The common foam or glasswool panels used in studios stand out like cheap, tardy after thoughts. The best option is to either make something that is hidden or make custom absorbers that fit with the decor. They can even be made into a feature combined with lighting, surface finishes etc.