Modern commercial banking locations are key examples of multi-use spaces requiring sound mitigation. Typically a lobby with hard walls and flooring welcomes customers, while executive offices or open desk areas are adjacent to the retail operations of the main banking area. The office partition walls are often thinly constructed and replete with single-pane glass – very poor for sound isolation.
Furthermore, unlike many office spaces where poor acoustical design merely creates annoyances, acoustic issues in banking and financial offices causes potential loss of critical, private information. Much like the unique sound requirements for healthcare facilities (including HIPAA), there are significant privacy concerns when financial and personal data is being shared.
Acoustic Solution for Banks and Financial Offices
The solution here is twofold. The decibel levels in the lobby area must be reduced, while the STC (sound transmission class) of the office partitions must be raised. As a post-install solution, it is quick and cost-effective to implement a sound masking system in the private offices, effectively raising the STC of the partition by raising the ambient decibel level in the offices. Sound masking speakers emit finely tuned “pink noise”—a soothing improvement over white noise that is catered to human speech frequencies.
Secondly, with its hard surface design, noise is amplified greatly in the lobby area due to its high reverb time. By reducing this “echo”, the perceived decibel levels in the lobby are reduced by 4-6dBA—a significant reduction to the human ear.
We now have a substantial reduction in “dynamic range”—the difference between the loudest noise levels and the ambient noise levels that we’re exposed to. Installing the two sound masking and sound absorption systems in combination is the difference between having full speech privacy and clearly hearing nearby conversations.