Information and practical tips for improved room acoustics


Humans react to disruptive noise by releasing stress hormones, feeling uncomfortable and stressed. Concentration is lost, productivity drops and sometimes even headaches are the result. Good room acoustics are an important factor in determining whether we feel comfortable in a room. A large number of studies show that good acoustics in offices, schools or universities not only improve wellbeing, but also improve concentration, productivity and health. Find out more about acoustic ceilings, an important element in creating positive room acoustics.

The ceiling – a functional acoustic element

Today’s architecture uses many smooth elements, such as glass fronts, concrete walls or plastics, which mainly reflect sound, i.e. have very low sound absorption and lead to reverberation. The result is poor room acoustics. To improve room acoustics, the largest possible absorption surfaces are required. The ceiling is one of the largest surfaces in a room. The ceiling can therefore make a significant positive contribution to the acoustic environment. Ceiling absorbers in the form of an acoustic ceiling can significantly reduce reverberation and improve the acoustic comfort of a room.


What is an acoustic ceiling?

In construction, an acoustic ceiling is a structural element that is usually arranged horizontally. Acoustic ceilings have a high acoustic absorption capacity and reduce reverberation time. This makes them an essential component of structural measures to improve room acoustics. An acoustic ceiling, which is usually a non-load-bearing element, is attached to the load-bearing ceiling. It can be installed directly on the ceiling or suspended.


Types of acoustic ceilings and how they work

The systems available differ in construction, materials used and surface texture. Fire safety is an important consideration when designing an acoustic ceiling. Products are therefore classified into absorber classes A – E, with class A having the highest degree of absorption:

  • Canopies: Ceiling canopies are very flexible and also provide high levels of sound absorption. Various acoustically effective materials such as rock wool, glass wool, textiles, gypsum or polyester are used. The materials should reduce sound reflections in the room but still be light enough to be installed in the ceiling.
  • Acoustic support panels with BASWA’s fine marble sand acoustic plaster: The system can be seamlessly integrated into existing architecture and new buildings, as it is seamless, smooth and flexible in terms of colour. Since it is possible to produce the acoustic solution in a curved shape, the architecture is enhanced without compromise. Acoustic solutions from BASWA: The sound insulation you can hear but not see
  • Acoustic ceiling made of cement-bonded wood wool tiles: The tiles are coloured and available in different designs. The tiles are separated by joints.
  • Acoustic stretch ceilings: Textile materials are used which are stretched to create a jointless surface.
  • Acoustic baffles: Acoustic baffles are suspended in rows from the ceiling. Acoustic baffles are used when sound insulation is to be retrofitted in rooms. The material used is acoustic foam. Fabric covered versions are covered with a sound absorbing and fire resistant fabric. A wide range of finishes is available for customisation.
  • Acoustic cylinders: Cylindrical acoustic foam cylinders create better acoustics, especially in high spaces, due to their sound-absorbing effect.



The benefits of acoustic ceilings

The ceiling area of a room is an ideal place to achieve optimum sound insulation. As the ceiling is usually the largest contiguous surface in a room, appropriate measures can be taken to improve sound insulation in the required frequency ranges to create pleasant room acoustics. In particular, the large surface area of an acoustic ceiling can significantly reduce reverberation. One of the major challenges in the design of an acoustic ceiling is to ensure that the aesthetics of the space are not compromised and that the architectural character of the space is fully maintained.

Applications for acoustic ceilings

The applications for acoustic ceilings in the public and private sectors are almost limitless. A good acoustic ceiling solution is characterised by its versatility and flexibility, as well as its ability to blend discreetly into the existing architecture, satisfying the need for aesthetics and comfort through pleasant room acoustics.

Raum im Altersheim Engelburg mit der BASWA Phon Base Akustiklösung

Public area

Sophisticated and modern architectural designs are often characterised by large, smooth surfaces with high sound reflection, resulting in poor room acoustics. An acoustic ceiling that blends seamlessly into the architectural concept, and continues to enhance the architecture, can improve the sound quality of the space.

In public areas, the role of the acoustic solution is to reduce ambient noise and improve speech intelligibility. Good sound absorption and reduced reverberation time allow many people in a room to speak clearly at the same time, improving the listening experience.

Schulflur in Gossau mit BASWA Phon Fine Akustikdecken


Reducing reverberation in office spaces and providing sound insulation are the primary goals of an acoustic solution. Acoustic ceilings make a significant contribution to improving the room acoustics and indoor climate to create a productive working environment that encourages deliberate conversation and collaboration. Sound-absorbing acoustic surfaces also enable the creation of places of concentration and retreat to increase the well-being of employees and thus improve productivity.

Surgeries and waiting rooms

In medical practices, discretion is very important and privacy is an absolute priority. This applies to the reception area, the waiting room and the treatment rooms. Good soundproofing is essential in a doctor’s surgery because the doctor’s diagnosis and consultation in the reception area usually take place in conversation. Medical equipment is often a disturbing source of noise and requires appropriate sound insulation. Poor room acoustics are perceived as uncomfortable by patients and staff. Sound absorbers, such as an acoustic ceiling, dampen the sound and improve the acoustics in the practice. A professional acoustic solution reduces noise levels and promotes a comfortable atmosphere.

Schulflur in Gossau mit BASWA Phon Fine Akustikdecken


A number of studies show that good acoustics are one of the most important aspects of a productive learning and working environment in a classroom, library or lecture theatre. Good room acoustics attenuate the disturbance potential of a sound source and significantly reduce reverberation time and noise. The result is a clear positive effect on classroom learning and speech perception: essential for students and listeners to follow the teacher’s lecture with full concentration.


A positive dining experience is greatly influenced by the room’s acoustics. A good restaurant acoustic solution ensures that diners’ conversations are easily understood and that stimulating background noise is maintained. Excessive noise detracts from the overall experience. Acoustic ceilings significantly reduce the reverberation time and attenuate a disturbing sound source: So that nothing stands in the way of a culinary and acoustically pleasant restaurant experience.

Western Australia Museum with BASWA Phon Classic Fine acoustic ceilings

Museums and other cultural facilities

The architecture of modern museums is often characterised by smooth, hard surfaces and vaulted ceilings. Group tours or audio systems are used to convey the exhibits on display. Modern installations often use audio-visual techniques for artistic communication. The use of sound-absorbing acoustic ceilings and walls makes local sound intelligible and significantly reduces ambient noise without compromising the architectural design.

Innenraum eines Denkmalgeschützen Gebäudes mit BASWA Akustikdecken

Heritage and sacred buildings

In heritage buildings, maintaining the architectural integrity of historic spaces is paramount. Acoustic ceilings and walls that blend discreetly and invisibly into the existing structure, while improving acoustics, are a prerequisite for bringing historic spaces back into use. Aesthetic requirements for the acoustic solution are very high in heritage areas and require a seamless, virtually invisible design. This allows the existing architecture to be fully appreciated in all its original beauty and elegance.

Schwimmbecken im Sportzentrum Ovavera St. Moritz mit Akustikdecken von BASWA

Swimming pools and spas

An acoustic solution in high humidity environments must maintain its effectiveness over time. Acoustic ceilings and walls must not be water soluble. In wellness facilities, customers expect oases of tranquillity where they can relax and unwind. High quality acoustic ceiling systems create a feel-good atmosphere and, with seamless integration, provide a visual experience that is aesthetic and harmonious.

Entrance area of the Western Australia Museum

Airports, stations and transport centres

Good speech intelligibility is an essential feature of an arrival or departure hall or platform. To improve speech communication in the midst of busy groups of people, an acoustic solution with appropriate acoustic ceilings is required. Public announcements about delays or unexpected changes in travel connections are made audible in a reliable and understandable way.


Public buildings, concert halls, auditoriums

Concert and event halls in particular require acoustic solutions that meet the highest standards of room acoustics and blend in with the architecture. BASWA acoustic solutions ensure pleasant room acoustics in the offices and public rooms of the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg, for example.

BASWA acoustic ceiling systems

BASWA’s acoustic solutions reduce ambient noise in rooms of all types and sizes. This improves the intelligibility of speech communication, especially when many people are speaking, as is the case in restaurants, museums or educational institutions. All BASWA products are manufactured using only the highest quality materials.

With BASWA solutions, the sense of wellbeing is sustainably increased through an acoustic improvement of the premises, without interfering with the existing appearance of the architecture: discreet, unobtrusive, invisible. As with all BASWA acoustic solutions, the ceiling systems blend seamlessly into the existing design. The designs are available in all colours with matching finishes and are designed for sustainability. They provide acoustically comfortable spaces that are energy efficient and create an environment that promotes productivity, health and well-being. The thermally activated version can also be combined with cooling and heating systems.

BASWA’s systems are as diverse as the architectural design of the buildings they are used in. We have designed the technology of our BASWA acoustic solutions to fit seamlessly into the design process and become an integral part of the building project. For example, our products can be flexibly installed in vaults as well as over curves.

A characteristic feature of BASWA systems is the sustainable composition of the acoustic panel, made from recycled glass or natural fibres, and a microporous pre-coating of recycled glass granulate. The combination of the acoustic panel with the open-pore marble plaster significantly increases the absorption effect. In addition to the classic BASWA Phon system, BASWA Basic, a robust and quick to install system, and BASWA Natural, made from sustainable materials, are also available. As well as the thermal-acoustic systems BASWA Cool and BASWA Core. The products are non-combustible and have a low minimum installation height. The systems are moisture resistant and easy to clean.

Acoustic solutions from BASWA: The sound insulation you can hear but not see.

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