Making every hair appointment a sound experience

Photo credit: Dmitry Zvolskiy

by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition

At the May 2024 meeting of the Acoustical Society of America in Ottawa, Canada, held in conjunction with the Canadian Acoustical Association, a paper was presented about reducing noise levels in a hair salon. Media relations staff at the American Institute of Physics, the parent organization of the ASA, thought the paper was interesting enough to feature it in a press release.

As the release notes, hair salons are often noisy places with hard surfaces like mirrors, noise from hair dryers and HVAC systems, and background music played at high levels. These acoustic problems were present at the Image Creators salon in Maryland, where owner Silvia Campana had ear pain and tinnitus after a day’s work. She and other staff also had difficulty communicating with each other and with customers. Campana retained acoustical consultant Donna Ellis, who found high ambient noise levels and a long reverberation time. After they instituted sound-absorbing acoustical treatments, both staff and customers noticed a difference.

“By balancing the listening environment, our findings can be applied to other salons, restaurants, stores, and conference centers, to name a few,” Ellis said. “The solutions would support clear verbal communication in enclosed spaces, and protect the occupational safety of the employees and customers.”

We agree. Hair salons and other retail service spaces tend to be too noisy. Making these spaces quieter will protect the auditory health of employees and patrons alike. Most often, the simplest acoustic modification costs absolutely nothing: turn down the volume of the background music, which is often turned up to rock concert sound levels. Sound absorbing materials, including wall hangings that reduce sound reflection, can be both visually and acoustically pleasing.

A quieter world will be a better and healthier world for all.

Share this article:

Article Categories

Search Articles