Noise at lunchtime? 5 tips to improve cafeteria acoustics.

Monday January 04 2021

 A quiet chat over sandwiches? That is often less obvious than it seems. Dining halls and cafeterias are among the loudest environments in schools. Especially where hot food is served and plates and cutlery cause extra clattering, decibels quickly rise. How do you improve acoustics in the dining hall? These five tips and acoustic solutions contribute to a pleasant lunch break:

1. Acoustic room dividers

If it is not feasible to divide the group in time and space, it is best to make the best use of the large space. Acoustic panels and sound-absorbing room dividers help contain noise. For example, if there is an acoustic panel between each group of 10 people, this can already significantly improve acoustics.

2. Eliminate noise makers

Picture a cafeteria: what makes the loudest noise? Mapping out the most disruptive elements can help you easily neutralize some noise sources and improve acoustics. Squeaky chairs can be fitted with Silent Socks to reduce the noise when sliding, slamming doors can be quieted with rubber or a doorstop, and plates and cutlery also come in different materials, each with its own noise profile. Small interventions can have a big effect on school acoustics.

3. Acoustic ceiling tiles

Refectories and dining halls often have high ceilings and the walls are built with materials such as concrete. This gives sound an opportunity for additional propagation and thus promotes reverberation. But high ceilings also offer opportunities for acoustic solutions. Acoustic ceiling panels prevent noise from reverberating, and suspended acoustic ceiling panels or baffles also address sound closer to the source.

4. Acoustic wall panels

A large room has large walls. Go for acoustic solutions in the form of acoustic wall panels and prevent sound from reflecting off the walls. Acoustic wall panels come in different shapes and colors, allowing you to add value to your interior not only functionally, but also aesthetically. Go for a combination of acoustic wall panels in your school's colors, choose acoustic panels that look like paintings or have an acoustic photo panel created that depicts the school, students or even the food in the cafeteria.


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