Types of Noise Impacting your Workspace

If you are designing an office space or work in an office space, it is vital to understand the noise levels that affect stress and productivity.

Productivity & Stress

Cover image for a noise awareness checklist designed for office environments, providing a step by step guide to identifying noise in the office.
Dowload a copy of Noise Awareness Checklist for Offices, to find out where your noise is coming from.

When you try to create a productive office environment, sound control is a must. High noise levels can result in loss of productivity in the workspace or cause stress to people working in or visiting the office space.

The development of a practical solution starts by first identifying the offensive noise, then determining the noise transmission path(s) and measuring the acoustic characteristics of the noise. The noise transmission path is simply identifying the noise source and determining how it arrives at your ear.

Too much noise in any commercial space can reduce productivity and increase stress, which is evident when working in a noisy office space.

Types and Examples of Commercial Noise

Airborne noise: passes through openings, apertures, and other structural gaps – talking, sounds from radio and television, sounds from pets like a dog barking, and the sound of cars starting or travelling down a road are examples of airborne noise.

Ambient noise: background noise that can naturally occur – familiar ambient sounds include wind, water, birds, crowds, office noises, traffic, etc.

Flanking noise: The ability of sound to find the path of least resistance, passing around heavy, insulated areas into the adjacent rooms. For example, noise reaching the room above your meeting room from some route other than through your ceiling.

Impact noise: The sound produced by the collision of two solid objects. Typical sources are footsteps, dropped objects, etc., on an interior surface (wall, floor, ceiling). Construction jackhammer, a ball bouncing on the floor above you or water sloshing through your pipes, is an example of impact noises.

Impulse noise: A sharp sound pressure peak occurring in a short interval of time. Examples of impulse noises are backup alarms, whistles, horns, bells, sirens, fireworks, gunfire, blasting, pile-driving, riveting, hammering, stamping, rail car coupling, sonic booms, aircraft flyovers, and dogs barking.

Masking noise: A noise that is intense enough to render inaudible or unintelligible another sound that is also present. For instance, a psychiatrist does not want those in the waiting room to overhear a private conversation with a patient, so sound masking is used in the waiting area: not in the psychiatrist’s office.

Pink noise: Noise with constant energy per octave bandwidth; for example, waves crashing on a beach, leaves rustling in the trees, and rain falling, is classed as pink noise.

Random noise: The noise generated by activities in the environment where seismic acquisition work occurs. A truck, vehicles, and people working in a survey area, wind, electrical power lines, and animal movement are all examples of random noise.

Structural borne noise: The noise created by impact or by vibration.  For example, the noise of footsteps across an upper floor audible in the room below is a structure-borne sound.

White noise: Noise with energy is uniform over a wide range of frequencies, analogous in spectrum characteristics to white light – whirring fan. Radio or television static. hissing radiator

Depending on the location of your office, you may experience any combination of the above noises. That is where engaging an acoustic expert such as Avenue Interior Systems will benefit your business. Our absorptive panels are excellent acoustic solutions – they can reduce echoes, reverberation, and other airborne noise to manageable levels.