As sound hits a hard surface, it reflects back out into the room; this is reverberation. Without controlling this, sound will continue to reflect around the room. If you have several sound sources producing noise, this can be incredibly disrupting to staff. The effectiveness of acoustic panels is measured using an NRC (Noise Reduction Coefficient) number. The NRC is an average rating of how much sound an acoustic product can absorb; for example, an NRC of 0 means that the product absorbs no sound, whereas an NRC of 1 means that the product absorbs all sound. The higher the NRC, the better the product is at soaking up the sound.
Studies have shown that an empty room, measuring 3m x 4m x H2m, will have a reverberation time of 1.0 second (reverberation time is the length of time required for sound to decay 60 decibels from its initial level). Covering 60% of the room’s walls in 40mm-thick acoustic wall panels (with a NRC of 0.55) reduces the reverberation time to 0.5 seconds, for a 50% reduction. Installing 64mm-thick acoustic wall panels (with a NRC of 0.90) across 60% of the room’s walls will reduce the reverberation time to 0.3 seconds - this is a 70% reduction.