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THUrsday - 21/05/2015 17:03

The Whispering Gallery in St Paul’s Cathedral attracts around 50,000 tourists a year, many of whom visit to hear their hushed voices travel from one side of the 111m high dome to be heard clearly around the other side. This acoustic effect was not an intentional feature of the dome’s design but has become an entertaining tourist attraction.

But not all acoustic effects in buildings are entertaining. In office buildings background noise can have a negative impact on staff performance. In schools the situation is even more critical, where poor acoustics can have a detrimental effect on student concentration, behaviour and academic achievement. So how do you control unwanted noise and effects of sound when designing a new building or refurbishing an existing space?

When endeavouring to design a good acoustic environment there are two main factors to be aware of: the ambient noise within the room and the reverberation time of the space.

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