Controlling Noise In Conference Rooms

Acoustically Treating A Conference Room Must Achieve Two Things:

• Restrict sound inside the room so that what is being said inside cannot be heard by people outside.

• Create an excellent acoustic environment for discussion both inside the room and on audio devices like speakerphones.

External Noise

The initial step is to ensure that sounds transferred outside the room are not allowed to transfer into the room. Walls common must be constructed having an STC of 55 or more, and must all the way extend to the structural deck on top. Ratings of high STC can be attained via the use of resilient isolation clips and vinyl noise barriers which add extra mass to the partitions and also dissociate them from the studs lessening both structure and airborne borne noise. From any direction exterior sounds can enter so ceilings and floors should also be of adequate mass for blocking noise. Sound will certainly transfer through the weakest structural elements of the rooms which are windows, doors, and electrical outlets. Doors and windows acoustically rated are ideal; however the STC of present doors can be enhanced with installing acoustical door seal kits. The STC of present windows can be enhanced by ensuring that seals are in excellent condition and addition of extra panes of glass having airspace in between. Putty pads that are fire rating can seal electrical outlets.

HVAC Systems

Ventilation, heating, and air conditioning systems are a usual source of undesirable noise and their location and design must be considered before construction. VAV boxes, Air handlers, and fan-coil units must never be situated over a conference room. The size of ducts must be adequate as not to create high air velocities. The selection of air handlers must be with low ratings of sound level, and diffusers must have an NC rating of 25 or less. The utility of acoustic duct liner is to take in fan noise and avoid low frequencies from transferring via the duct walls. Installing of acoustic duct silencers can be done to further lessen mechanical and fan noise, and to remove crosstalk amidst spaces that share common duct work.


Addition of absorptive materials to the ceilings and walls prevents sound from bouncing back and forth producing an environment comfortable for speaking. Ceiling clouds, acoustic wall panels wrapped with fabric, acoustic ceiling tiles, and stretch wall fabric systems are all great products for both providing pleasing aesthetics and absorbing sound.

Sound Masking

To ensure privacy of speech, it is recommended to install sound masking in areas exterior to the conference room. At times sound masking is known as white noise. It works by creating an exceptional, sound spectrum of digital broadband favorable to the speech spectrum that efficiently covers speech levels.

NC Rating

Noise Criteria (NC) is used to measure the quietness of a room without occupants in the room and the HVAC running. All of the above mentioned considerations add to the general NC rating of a room. For a conference room the best NC rating is 35 dBA or below. Speech intelligibility will begin to be affected by anything higher.

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