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The design of a home or building has traditionally focused on aesthetics. However, today’s occupants expect more from their spaces: sound is just as important as sight. Acoustic designs and acoustic doors can help create quieter, more tranquil indoor spaces through noise protection, making them an important element in the growing health and wellness trend.

Our digital, always-on lifestyles make it hard to unplug our devices and recharge our mental and emotional batteries. Three in 10 U.S. adults say they are “almost constantly” online, and this digital addiction is making us depressed, anxious, lonely and isolated. The American Psychiatric Association found Americans’ national anxiety score rose five points between 2017 to 2018.

This increasing awareness for mental health has spurred a movement toward wellness and self-care tools and products. For example, self-care was Apple’s 2018 App Trend of the Year.

As a result, mindful wellness is becoming more important in today’s home and building designs. A study conducted by Interior Design magazine found 69% of clients are “extremely” or “very” willing to invest in a wellness-promoting space. Emerging standards, like the WELL Building Standard, accredit buildings based on how well they improve occupants’ comfort, health and wellness.

The level of noise within a space plays a key part in overall wellness. Excessive noise elevates levels of stress hormones and numerous studies have linked unwanted ambient sound to increased anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke – even in small amounts.

To create quieter indoor spaces, builders, architects and remodelers can opt for acoustically rated doors. Acoustical doors have been used in loud environments like manufacturing facilities and music studios for decades; now, they’re becoming increasingly popular in office buildings, hotels, schools and even homes.

Hanley Wood University provides the following guidance when it comes to specifying acoustical doors:

  • Acoustical doors meet most building Sound Transmission Class performance requirements for a multitude of projects and applications, including schools, universities, government buildings, private offices, auditoriums, theatres, and libraries.
  • STC ratings vary depending upon the manufacturer, and specific construction and acoustical door thicknesses may range from 1 ¾” to 2 ¼”.
  • Lite kits must be installed at the factory for STC rating.
  • Specify acoustical doors that have been laboratory tested per the most recent version of ASTM E-90, Standard Method for Laboratory Measurement of Airborne Sound Transmission.
  • Testing of the entire opening system is conducted, which includes the door in combination with properly installed gasket seal systems (frame gaskets and door sweeps), accupads, and frames.
  • These tests should only be performed in an operable state to accurately simulate on-site performance.

With the new push toward incorporating wellness into residential and commercial buildings, and a greater understanding of how noise plays into our mental health, architects, builders and remodelers can help customers improve their overall well-being by choosing acoustical doors.

This article incorporates research conducted by Masonite Architectural, a Division of Masonite International and VT Industries.

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