The problem with noisy airports

Airports are very large, noisy places that – more often than not – have such terrible acoustics that they render PA systems useless and make communication near impossible. We have all stood at a crowded departure gate and struggled to hear the announcements advising a delay, change of gate or upgrade opportunity. And as important as these messages may be, what if we cannot not hear critical emergency evacuation instructions? The noise from thousands of passengers talking loudly to overcome the turbines from nearby jets, roller wheels from luggage being dragged along corridors, never-ceasing conveyer belts dispensing bags and constant reminders over the PA about safety or updated departures is mixed with the echo and reverberation from hard surfaces such as concrete, cement, metal, tile and glass. This creates a din of noise that self-perpetuates during peak hours that simply outstrips the effectiveness of the communication system.  In a ‘worse case’ emergency, the accumulation of sound energy mixed with mass panic elevates the noise to the point where it can lead to disaster and subsequent liability. Controlling ambient noise and assuring effective communication should be a top priority.

How can Primacoustic help you?

Since the primary concern is attenuating sound in the speech region, these frequencies can easily be controlled using 1″ thick Broadway™ acoustic panels. These are made from high-density 6lb glass wool and are designed to absorb echo and excessive reverberation by removing reflections in the critical voice range. In airports, effective acoustical performance is achieved by applying Broadway panels to between 12% to 17% of the available wall surface. Placement is not critical. If wall surfaces are unavailable, Cloud Paintables™ or Saturna™ baffles may be suspended from the ceiling using eyehooks and adjustable SlipNot™ aircraft cables. For areas equipped with T-bar ceilings, Primacoustic StratoTiles™ employ the same high-density glass wool construction and are direct replacements for ineffective low density ceiling tiles. Should controlling noise from either entering or exiting a particular zone or office be required, Primacoustic ThunderTiles™ combine the absorptive qualities of high-density  glass wool with a heavy gypsum backing board to stop noise. For example, noise from the baggage claim carousel may be transmitting through the ceiling into the plenum and polluting security screening areas or ticketing zones above. Once installed, reverberation time (RT) is significantly reduced, PA announcements are immediately clearer and the now calm room makes waiting times more enjoyable and less stressful for employees and travelers alike.

Executive Summary

  • Improves the intelligibility of the public address system
  • Delivers safety instructions or messaging with greater clarity
  • Lessens errors in a critical listening situation such as ticketing
  • Lowers noise transmission in target zones or offices
  • Reduces frustration and stress from unhappy travelers
  • Easy to install and needs no servicing or maintenance