Lecture Hall Sound Treatment

lecture hall in need of sound absorption

Lecture halls are a staple on almost every college campus. These multifunctional rooms are used regularly as classrooms but often play host to additional events such as guest speakers and presentations.

Though lecture hall uses may vary, speech remains the constant factor across events. In order for speakers to successfully communicate with an audience, there must be high speech intelligibility and low background noise. To achieve this type of listening environment, consider the tips below when providing sound treatment for a lecture hall.


This one may sound obvious, but keeping as short of a distance as possible between the last row of audience seating and the speaker is essential. Not only will this make listening easier for the entire audience, it will also create better sight lines so that everyone in the room can both see and hear the speaker.

Mechanical Systems

Mechanical systems are often the main source of intrusive noise in classrooms and lecture halls. HVAC and other mechanical systems are needed to keep the building running, but can often create a lot of noise

For new buildings, you can minimize noise by locating machinery away from walls to avoid additional structure-borne noise from vibrations. You can also use buffer zones, like storage facilities, to build distance between noise-sensitive rooms and machinery.

If working on an existing building where machinery cannot be relocated, treat the parts with sound-absorbing material to reduce noise at the source.

Sound-Absorbing Panels

Decreasing reverberations times will help reduce background noise, which will make listening easier. To achieve lower reverberation times, side walls should be treated with sound-absorbing material. Acoustic-absorption panels are one of the most popular choices for this type of treatment.

Sound Reinforcement

For smaller rooms, the speaker’s voice is typically loud enough on its own to suffice. With larger rooms, or speakers with weak voices, a sound reinforcement system complete with speakers and microphones may be required.

Creating the ideal listening environment for speech-heavy locations is simple with these tips. Have other questions about lecture hall sound treatment? Leave them in the comments below!

Emily Silverman