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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

How to soundproof a hotel

Hotel noise control
Soundproofing blocks sound waves from travelling
By Harry Price 

Anyone who has stayed in a hotel where noise has been a problem is sure to sympathise with the distress unwanted sound can cause. Car alarms, other guests, jet noise, or excited late night revellers are just a few of the unwanted noise hazards of a hotel stay. The fact that noise disturbance is the number one complaint of hotel guests the world over, then, is hardly a surprise.

In response, hotels are upping their acoustics game. Technology is being utilised with gadgets such as noise masking systems, triple glazed windows and extra thick walls being incorporated into hotels. All of which adds a valuable selling point to hotels in any price bracket.

So for effectively soundproofing a hotel, read on for a guide to your options – and they don’t include handing out earplugs.

General soundproofing

Sound is far more intrusive and difficult to control than light, but there are ways of overcoming noise issues. There are basically four ways of addressing the problem. It can either be reduced at the source (often impossible), blocking it using walls, windows or doors, absorbing sound, or covering it with sound masking. Each method is valid, but when controlling the source is difficult, then only the final three should be recommended for the best results. Construction materials such as acoustic plaster, wall lining, acoustic panels and even spray can be used for effective sound absorption, along with measures such as flooring underlay. Retrofits are also entirely possible, as old buildings are especially vulnerable to noise pollution. For acoustic testing or soundproofing installation use one of the numerous soundproofing companies able to provide noise control for the leisure and hotel industry.


Hotels with rooms overlooking busy streets, next to railways or beneath flight paths means that extra sound protection should be considered. To combat external noise, triple glazing is recommended. Triple Glazed windows are constructed using a third pane of glass, which results in the window featuring an additional cavity filled with argon gas which inhibits the flow of noise dampening sound from outside.


Doors are one of the biggest problems because sound can easily ‘leak’ between seals and through thin poor quality doors. Install solid core high performance doors or those with acoustic control. Doors should also be professionally fitted using fire proof and sound proof seals. Always use a specialist door installation contractor for proper fitting using the correct components for high performance sound reduction.

Sound masking

Sound masking systems are a step further forward in tackling noise. More effective and less intrusive than traditional white noise systems, sound masking provides a gentle background ambience to blot out other sounds. The way sound masking works is through electronic noise control technology which allows a comfortable background sound into the room. It sounds very much like a soft airflow, and is highly effective in covering many types of noise. Many hotels are installing these systems which give guests the choice of use, similar to heating or lighting systems.

About the author: Harry Price is a freelance writer from the south coast, who lives in a small fishing village with his wife and 3 dogs.  He loves to run marathons in his free time.

Images: 1. Marekich, " Graphical Depiction of Active Noise Reduction", CC BY-SA 3.0; 2. Author owned and licensed