Lately, we received a question from hairdresser Leonie with regards to the reverberation in her hair salon. She described the bad acoustics of her salon as a 'chicken coop'. Especially on the busier days, talking customers and blowing hairdryers were causing unintelligibility, or basically: noise. In order to explain Leonie what causes the chicken coop effect, we gave her the following explanation:
What causes reverberation?
Reverberation comes into existence between two (or more) surfaces that run parallel to each other, like walls that are facing each other, or between floor and ceiling. If these surfaces don't have any texture and they are made from hard materials, such as concrete or glass, they reflect sound and cause reverberation. Typically for hairdressing salons are a hard floor and at least one wall containing a lot of mirrors: the 'ideal' sound reflectors! Reverberation in a hair salon comes about in an imaginary triangle: between the wall with mirrors, the ceiling and the wall facing the one with mirrors. In the worst case, the sound is additionally reflected by the floor. This type of reverberation comes close to an echo and can take about 2,5 sec. (depending on the size of the hairdressing salon).
How to improve the acoustics of a hairdressing salon?
Fortunately, the solution is not too complicated. Often, the reverberation already diminishes by abundantly equipping one of the surfaces from the imaginary triangle with absorption panels. In most cases, there is plenty of space against the ceiling to install the sound absorbing panels. Do you also have space at (one of) the walls? If so, it is advisable to equip them with panels as well.
Which products should I apply, and in what amount?
According to a theoretical rule of thumb, the acoustics should be reasonable once the amount of absorption material installed equals about 50% of the floor space. So, in theory, a room of 100 m² requires 50 m² of absorption surfaces. In practice, on the other hand, an amount of 35% already results in a significant improvement. However, not every hairdressing salon is the same in terms of dimensions and design, so the desired end result will also depend per situation. For this reason, we recommend solving the problem in stages.
Tips for choosing the right product
Establish a budget, assuming that you will need to apply an amount of absorption material that equals 50% of the floor space. In case the aforementioned 35% won't be sufficient, you will still have enough budget to solve the problem in a second phase. Choose a product that suits the way you decorated the interior, but again, make sure it fits your budget as well.
Choose a product with a thickness of at least 25, but rather 40 mm. The thicker the absorption material, the higher the absorption values. This doesn't necessarily means that you need less squared metres. The advantage of a thicker material is mainly that it can also absorb sounds with lower frequencies. The amount of squared metres will cause a balance between reflection and absorption surfaces, resulting in proper acoustics in your room.
Uit de praktijk
On the pictures below, you can see Leonie's hairdressing room with white Akotherm SF plates installed against the ceiling.
In this example, aborption material was installed against the ceiling in an amount that equals 50% of the floor space. The process was carried out in two stages, as Leonie explained in this e-mail that she sent to us:
After working several months in a bigger building with more colleagues, we noticed that we didn't like the acoustics. It was almost like a chicken coop, with all the customers, hairdressers, and blowing hairdryers! After some research on Google we ended up at the website of the Acousticshop, with plenty of materials to choose from. Since I didn't exactly know what would be the best option for us, I called the company and was told to make use of Akotherm SF plates. The first time, we ordered 15 pieces and we directly noticed the difference! As we were attaching the plates to the ceiling, we could hear that talking started to sound differently. After a year, we still decided to order another 10 plates, so that we could spread the plates even better across the room. Because we installed them against the ceiling, they don't undermine the sleek interior, so they don't bother us! It is an ideal solution to prevent the salon from turning into a chicken coop and we are very excited about it! Qualitative and fast service, and good advice! Greetings, Leonie
Akotherm SF with a 50/50 distribution glued to the ceiling
Do you have any questions or remarks concerning this topic? Please feel free to contact us. We are happy to answer your questions as soon as possible. You are also very welcome to visit our shop. Tip: bring some pictures from your hairdressing room.