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The Power of Acoustic Treatment in Hotels

The Power of Acoustic Treatment in Hotels

What could be better than spending a glorious week in a beautiful hotel surrounded by all the luxurious amenities a traveler’s heart could desire? From the plush bedding to breathtaking views to the delectable dining at the hotel restaurant, a great hotel can feel very much like a prime tourist destination all on its own.

There are some things that can spoil even the most well-appointed accommodations. Cramped, noisy, crowded spaces with long lines or dirty rooms.

However, perhaps the greatest liability of them all is also one that typically receives little notice: it’s a poor sound environment. Far too often, a hotel’s soundscape is perceived as an unchangeable reality.

The truth, though, is that a hotel’s sound environment is neither permanent nor accidental. It’s often the product of the built space, combined with the materials and furnishings installed there, and that means that the sound environment is something very much within a designer's or manager’s control. That’s great news if you want to provide guests, visitors, and employees alike with the best possible experience, an experience that will keep them coming back.

Why the Hotel Sound Environment Matters

Given the significant and far-reaching impact the sound environment has been shown to have on humans’ physical, emotional, and mental health (1, 2, 3, 4), it may come as something of a surprise that the issue of the soundscape has historically not received a great amount of attention in the hotel industry. There is mounting evidence, for example, that exposure to noise pollution has an immediate and long-lasting impact on the autonomic nervous system, triggering a physiological stress response that detrimentally affects biological functions, undermines cognitive performance, increases anxiety and depression, decreases mood, and disrupts sleep. None of that is conducive to a positive guest experience or a healthy and productive work environment for hotel workers.

Unfortunately, though, noise pollution is common in hotel environments simply due to the function of the space. Hotels are designed to accommodate scores, even hundreds, of guests at once. Many hotels also regularly host large events, from wedding receptions and private celebrations to corporate events and professional conferences. That’s a lot of different kinds of sounds emanating from many different kinds of sources, all at once.

Then, of course, there is the external environment. The majority of hotels are built in heavily populated areas. They’re often located in close proximity to major transportation hubs or popular tourist attractions. That means you’re likely to get a tremendous amount of human, traffic, train, and aircraft noise, at all hours.

The effects of such a soundscape on physical and emotional health can be devastating. In a study of the human body’s physiological responses to airport noise during sleep, for example, Evrard et al. (2017) found that night-time exposure to aircraft noise significantly increases the risk for hypertension and heart disease among men (5). Similarly, Nassur et al. (2019) found that residents living near airports experienced a significant spike in heart rate when exposed to aircraft noise during sleep (6).

In addition to the physiological impacts of noise pollution, however, there is also mounting evidence that the soundscape of an environment strongly shapes both perception and emotion. Positive soundscapes, for example, are linked to positive emotions, including a greater sense of peace, comfort, and well-being (7, 8, 9, 10). Not surprisingly, negative soundscapes, and, more specifically, those overflowing with aggravating and unwanted noise, have the opposite effect–producing a feeling of unease, unhappiness, discomfort, and disquiet.

Cultivating Positive Soundscapes in Hotels

As suggested above, creating a positive soundscape in a hotel space isn’t just a luxury, a happy amenity to be pursued after other essential criteria are met. Rather, if you want to provide guests with a positive experience and employees with a healthy work environment, then attention to the soundscape is imperative.

The good news, though, is that creating a positive sound environment in your hotel design project isn’t all that difficult for someone who knows what they’re doing and has the proper materials. The key is to understand the basic mechanics of sound waves and the impact the built environment has on them.

In general, hard, flat surfaces and wide open spaces with high ceilings amplify sound by reflecting sound waves back into the area, producing echoes and reverberations. The result is a cacophony of background noise and a sharp decline in speech intelligibility. On the other hand, soft, porous materials and curved surfaces improve sound absorption. The result is less sound pollution and better acoustics, enabling the creation of discrete “zones” of sound to align with the various functions of a space.

For example, this might include the use of acoustic panels and clouds to support speech intelligibility in a hotel’s conference rooms or presentation spaces. Likewise, baffles and clouds may be deployed in mixed-use spaces, such as at the front desk and in hotel lobbies, to enable private conversations to occur easily without overflow. Similarly, in hotel restaurants and lounge areas, acoustic installations can cut down on ambient noise, from the clanking of dishware, the whir of kitchen appliances, and the hum of simultaneous background conversations, allowing dinner table talk to be both intelligible and private, allowing guests to socialize and relax.

FSorb’s Customizable Solutions

FSorb has long been an industry leader in the creation of innovative, eco-friendly, and highly customizable acoustic solutions for every need and purpose, offering panels, tiles, clouds, buffers, and related products, each available in decorative colors and shapes to complement every aesthetic. Below is a brief sample of the many invaluable ways FSorb’s customizable product lines can help you create a hotel soundscape and guest experience that is second to none:

  • Guest rooms and suites: FSorb’s decorative wall and ceiling panels may be used to create ideal voice absorption and soften the hard surfaces in the space. Ceiling treatments also help absorb sound between floors.

  • Common areas: FSorb’s wall panels, acoustic separators, baffles, and clouds are all highly effective in absorbing sound waves from unwanted sources, whether the clicking of shoes, voices, the screech of trolley wheels, or the scratch of furniture. At the same time, custom-shaped panels and clouds can facilitate speech intelligibility in high-traffic areas by creating separate zones of sound while reducing spillover.

  • Event spaces and lounge areas: FSorb’s customizable solutions can optimize the acoustics in even the largest and most challenging of event spaces, from ballrooms to conference areas to presentation stages. We offer both fixed and temporary installations for multipurpose areas, enabling sound to be absorbed depending on the unique purposes and function of the space at any given time.

Not only can FSorb panels improve the sound environment, but they can also complement the ambiance of a space. Art and other customized designs can be printed directly onto FSorb, allowing it to blend into or enhance the hotel environment. Contact your local FSorb representative today to explore the wide range of customizable acoustic solutions and create the sound treatment plan that is perfect for your hotel spaces.



At FSorb, we are motivated by improving human health and do so by creating eco-friendly acoustic products. Our mission is to help designers build beautiful spaces that reduce excess ambient noise while calming the human nervous system. With over 25 years in the acoustic business we stand behind FSorb as a durable, environmentally friendly, and low-cost product. If you want an acoustic solution that is safe to human health at an affordable price, then we are your resource.

(844) 313-7672



  1. Thompson R, Smith RB, Bou Karim Y, Shen C, Drummond K, Teng C, Toledano MB. Noise pollution and human cognition: An updated systematic review and meta-analysis of recent evidence. Environ Int. 2022 Jan;158:106905. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2021.106905. Epub 2021 Oct 12. PMID: 34649047.

  2. Sears CG, Braun JM, Ryan PH, Xu Y, Werner EF, Lanphear BP, Wellenius GA. The association of traffic-related air and noise pollution with maternal blood pressure and hypertensive disorders of pregnancy in the HOME study cohort. Environ Int. 2018 Dec;121(Pt 1):574-581. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2018.09.049. Epub 2018 Oct 6. PMID: 30300815; PMCID: PMC6252254.

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  4. Wang SS, Glied S, Williams S, Will B, Muennig PA. Impact of aeroplane noise on mental and physical health: a quasi-experimental analysis. BMJ Open. 2022 May 2;12(5):e057209. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2021-057209. PMID: 35501087; PMCID: PMC9062823.

  5. Evrard AS, Lefèvre M, Champelovier P, Lambert J, Laumon B. Does aircraft noise exposure increase the risk of hypertension in the population living near airports in France? Occup Environ Med. 2017 Feb;74(2):123-129. doi: 10.1136/oemed-2016-103648. Epub 2016 Aug 1. PMID: 27481872.

  6. Nassur AM, Léger D, Lefèvre M, Elbaz M, Mietlicki F, Nguyen P, Ribeiro C, Sineau M, Laumon B, Evrard AS. Effects of Aircraft Noise Exposure on Heart Rate during Sleep in the Population Living Near Airports. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019 Jan 18;16(2):269. doi: 10.3390/ijerph16020269. PMID: 30669300; PMCID: PMC6352139.

  7. Mackrill J, Jennings P, Cain R. Exploring positive hospital ward soundscape interventions. Appl Ergon. 2014 Nov;45(6):1454-60. doi: 10.1016/j.apergo.2014.04.005. Epub 2014 Apr 24. PMID: 24768090.

  8. Li TY, Guo SY, Xue BX, Meng Q, Jiang B, Xu XX, Chang CC. Effects of Soundscape on Flow State during Diabolo Exercise. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022 Jun 30;19(13):8034. doi: 10.3390/ijerph19138034. PMID: 35805692; PMCID: PMC9265835.

  9. Herranz-Pascual K, Aspuru I, Iraurgi I, Santander Á, Eguiguren JL, García I. Going beyond Quietness: Determining the Emotionally Restorative Effect of Acoustic Environments in Urban Open Public Spaces. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019 Apr 10;16(7):1284. doi: 10.3390/ijerph16071284. PMID: 30974811; PMCID: PMC6479382.

  10. Herranz-Pascual K, Aspuru I, Iraurgi I, Santander Á, Eguiguren JL, García I. Going beyond Quietness: Determining the Emotionally Restorative Effect of Acoustic Environments in Urban Open Public Spaces. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019 Apr 10;16(7):1284. doi: 10.3390/ijerph16071284. PMID: 30974811; PMCID: PMC6479382.


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