The Effects of Poor Acoustics in Educational Facilities and what to do.


Very few things in anyone’s life are more irritating than excessive noise resulting in a person’s inability to hear. This is particularly so in a school where the need to hear clearly, with a minimum of interference and distraction is mandatory for learning. Excessive noise results in a student’s inability to concentrate, creates an uncomfortable learning environment, inhibits focus and encourages stress. Teacher-student communication is interfered with the student typically “tuning out”. Teachers and often students find the need to “speak louder”


In a typical classroom, four types of sounds (or “noise”) are present.


Architects using “proven” acoustical design assemblies that are  verified by published manufacturer’s ASTM test results are the primary sources of information for products considered for use in all building design. The standard of acoustical integrity most relied upon is STC as determined by ASTM E-90. It is important therefore that the tests as presented by manufacturer’s  be reliable, complete, verifiable and unambiguous. If a student is unable to learn, if a teacher is unable to teach, if an environment is acoustically unacceptable due to noise then it is not a stretch to suggest that an entire life and career may be negatively affected. As a manufacturer of acoustic operable wall systems that are used to divide teaching and meeting areas in schools we take this responsibility seriously.


But times have changed with some manufacturers  now pursuing a higher laboratory STC number rather than an STC that illustrates the acoustic integrity of their partition. This pursuit of a higher number is based on the belief or premise that all specifiers look at is the number – the higher the better – and do not read the body of the test which describes how the number was obtained. They are doing what they have to do just to get a higher number. For example






Moderco’s position is simple. We believe that all sound tests should as a minimum be conducted be in an accredited laboratory on a 14’ X 9’ specimen, 4 panels including all standard components with the test description including all ASTM E-90 mandated topics.


When selecting an operable wall product especially one  for an educational facility where acoustics is critical for a proper teaching-learning environment and process, where literally the future of the students may be at stake, it is imperative that specifiers choose carefully. Do more than read the “number”: read the test! Moderco pledges to be upfront and honest, to openly provide complete and accurate information when it comes to the acoustic quality of our products.


Please call if you have questions.