According to a study undertaken by KTH, one of the most prestigious polytechnic schools in Sweden, the benefits of acoustic panels in the educational system is proven.

As the subject of their thesis, Petra Lagerberg and Sebastian Holm researched the benefits of acoustic panels by studying the behaviour of a small sample of primary students. They studied behaviour with and without the presence of suspended ceiling panels. The benefits of this technology were proven very quickly.

Before and after installation, the teacher calculated repeatedly and under the same conditions, the average time between the moment their students entered the classroom and the moment they were settled and ready to start the lesson.

The results are remarkable! There was a 1-minute difference between both experiments! Without acoustic panels, the class needed 2 minutes and 18 seconds to settle down whereas after acoustic panels were installed, settling down to work took only 1 minute and 17 seconds. As the students enter the classroom to work 3 times a day over 5 days, this represents a time saving of 15 minutes each week! We leave you to calculate the time saved over the school year…

Several factors were considered for this study to be undertaken successfully:

  • Time it took to settle down to work
  • Hagerman sentence test: this is an oral comprehension test consisting of several nonsense phrases pronounced with fairly high background noise
  • Speech transmission index
  • Reverberation time
  • Clarity of the sound
  • Level of background noise
  • Satisfaction survey

A quick return on cost

The study rapidly revealed the benefits, both acoustic and monetary. In this particular case, the cost of installing the suspended ceiling panels was €8,500; admittedly this is approximately three times as much as a traditional ceiling… But when we consider that the annual cost per student in Sweden is also €8,500, this price seems instantly more affordable. In fact, it is enough for the acoustic advantages of the ceiling to benefit at least one child, in that it means they do not repeat the academic year, for the cost of the ceiling panels to be paid for!

When we are aware that acoustic solutions reduce noise reverberation to create calmer surroundings that are favourable for work, acoustic panels soon become attractive solutions, especially in education.

As Sebastian Holm states, the benefits are considerable: “The pupils are calmer, less stressed and concentrate better. In my view, the biggest advantage of improving the acoustics is that this can result in a more harmonious atmosphere being created within the classroom.”

Approved acoustics

At the end of the experiment, a survey was carried out to calculate the students’ acoustic perception of the classroom before and after the installation. There again, the results demonstrated that the students’ experience was better in the classroom once the acoustic panels had been installed. The sound was clearer, less deafening, and the students felt more at ease. This feeling was shared by the teacher who noted a distinct improvement in the concentration levels of their students.

The acoustic panels play a role in our behaviour, explains Sebastian Holm: “The improvement was significant. I think that the Lombard effect influenced the results greatly. Noise creates noise. It is enough for only one person to raise their voice for their neighbour to do the same, and so forth. By reducing the reverberation time, we reduce the sound level.

Validating the benefits of acoustic panels in education!

In summary, bad acoustics in a school may result in significant time-wasting over the year and may disadvantage some students who experience attention deficit. Besides providing a sensation of wellness and improving the attention span, acoustic panels are also decorative, which means they are able to enliven work areas. A way of encouraging students to gain good grades!

Are you convinced? Discover our ranges of acoustic products and our acoustic panels myOpenspace.

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