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  • The Benefits of Acoustic Treatment in Schools

    Despite the prevalence of environmental noise pollution in schools and the profound, wide-ranging, and long-term harms chronic exposure can inflict on children and adults alike, there is hope. The evidence suggests that acoustic treatment can be highly effective in preventing excessive environmental noise and its associated physical, academic, and psychosocial harms. Studies have shown that classroom refurbishments, which include environmental sound mitigation, have contributed to significant improvements in students’ listening and attentional capacities, in teachers’ voice ergonomics, and in the overall sense of physical and mental well-being in both students and teachers (1, 2). It is for this reason that classroom acoustics are becoming a key priority in the design and construction of new schools and the renovation and refurbishment of existing ones. In response to the growing demand for sound mitigation, agencies, such as the EPA, and environmental accrediting bodies, including LEED certification programs through the US Green Building Council, have established standards for ensuring healthy and safe sound environments for children and educators in school environments. For instance, the EPA has recommended ideal sound levels of 45 decibels or less on average for eight hours per every 24 hours in schools, hospitals, and private residences. Initiatives such as the Well Building Certification program and the Armstrong Living Building Challenge have also emerged to promote optimal learning environments through design and materials innovation, including supporting novel approaches to sound mitigation and acoustics optimization. Likewise, an array of state and local initiatives are emerging nationwide to support students’ and teachers’ health and performance on campus, including California’s Green Building Code, which has mandated acoustic treatment in all California public schools since 2011. Although standards have been created, and there are ongoing initiatives to improve learning environments, noise pollution is inherently part of most schoolhouse environments. We know noise pollution in the classroom inhibits academic performance while impairing the physical, emotional, and mental health of children and teachers alike (3, 4, 28, 29). With all of the remote learning over the last three years, our children and teens are more sensitive than ever to large group interactions with loud sounds. So what will it take to get effective acoustic treatment in school environments to remediate the diverse harms associated with ambient noise pollution? Re-envision the Classroom We understand how constrained designers are by budget and how value engineering often cuts things like acoustic treatments. However, optimal learning environments don’t happen accidentally. They must be created intentionally, and maintaining healthy noise levels requires sound mitigation and acoustics optimization. Below we are going to explore the many reasons acoustics need to be elevated as a priority for healthy nervous system development of the kids attending schools and those teaching them. When you are asked to envision the stereotypically noisy working environment, the first sites that probably spring to mind are industrial factories stuffed with heavy machinery or crowded airports with screaming jet engines perpetually overhead. Studies show, however, that when it comes to environmental noise pollution, nursery, primary, and secondary school classrooms rank near the top (2, 3, 5, 6). When a classroom is full of children playing or talking, levels can even reach up to 95 dBA, far beyond the recommended 45 dBA average and higher than the 90 dBA recommended maximum. This means that day in and day out, children and educators alike are being asked to perform in less than ideal conditions, to pursue developmental, cognitive, and academic milestones that may well establish the child’s entire life trajectory, in environments that are likely to not only inhibit their success but also to incite tangible harms. The Physical Effects of Classroom Noise Exposure If you’ve ever spent an extended amount of time in a noisy environment, you’re probably already quite familiar with the physical toll this can take. Environmental noise exposure has been associated with a host of negative physical impacts, including stress-induced spikes in blood pressure, respiration, heart rate, and muscle tension (7, 8, 9, 10). Long-term exposure to environmental noise has also been shown to increase the risk of tinnitus and hearing loss in both children and adults (11, 12, 13). Psychosocial Harms Unfortunately, the risks to children and teachers from long-term exposure to environmental noise extend far beyond the physical. There is mounting evidence that chronic noise exposure can have a devastating impact on mental health, increasing the risk of depression, anxiety, and sleep disorders in affected persons (14, 15, 16). For children, the research suggests, these harms can linger well into adulthood due to the functional and structural changes wrought by chronic noise exposure on the child’s developing brain (15, 16). But environmental noise doesn’t just affect children’s sense of happiness, peace, and well-being. It has also been shown to undermine their capacity for forming healthy relationships with adults and peers and may even contribute to the development of behavioral and cognitive disorders, including ADHD, emotional hyperreactivity, and poor impulse control (17, 18, 19, 20). Given the significant harm that prolonged noise exposure can have on children’s mood, behavior, and attention, it is perhaps no surprise that it should also be associated with steep declines in academic performance (4, 21, 22, 23). The research also indicates that these detrimental impacts are particularly acute for children with special needs and for second language learners (24). Perhaps no population is more vulnerable to the adverse effects of classroom noise, however, than students who are on the autism spectrum or who have sensory processing disorders (25, 26, 27). For these children, hypersensitivity to environmental stimuli means that environmental noise can quickly transform the classroom from a place of learning, support, and caring into a place of confusion, chaos, and even terror. An Acoustic Champion The long-term impacts of noise are subtle and difficult to understand since they are not direct or easy to trace. The good news is that science is elevating the importance of acoustic treatments and prioritizing sound absorptive materials. School projects also need an acoustic design champion, someone who understands the critical nature of a good acoustic design and presents the case studies to ensure it doesn't get cut from the project. How FSorb Can Help At FSorb, we offer a wide range of state-of-the-art, environmentally friendly acoustic solutions for use in residential, commercial, government facilities, and public and private schools. Our products include customizable wall and ceiling panels for exterior and interior sound mitigation to meet and exceed rigorous EPA, LEED, WELL, and State of California standards. Since our products are fully customizable, we are uniquely prepared to meet both your functional and your aesthetic needs. With FSorb, you have the freedom to choose from a wide array of colors, styles, and patterns to achieve the look you need. Whether you’re in the market for sleek elegance ideal for secondary and post-secondary school environments to fun-filled designs in primary colors for pre-kindergarten and elementary schools or day-care centers, we’ve got the products that are right for you! Contact your local FSorb representative today to explore our fine line of sound mitigation solutions and to discuss how our team can support you in designing the best school acoustic treatment strategy. 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. info@fsorb.com (844) 313-7672 f-sorb.com Sources: Pirilä S, Jokitulppo J, Niemitalo-Haapola E, Yliherva A, Rantala L. Teachers' and Children's Experiences after an Acoustic Intervention and a Noise-Controlling Workshop in Two Elementary Classrooms. Folia Phoniatr Logop. 2020;72(6):454-463. doi: 10.1159/000503231. Epub 2019 Oct 22. PMID: 31639814. Kristiansen J, Lund SP, Persson R, Challi R, Lindskov JM, Nielsen PM, Larsen PK, Toftum J. The effects of acoustical refurbishment of classrooms on teachers' perceived noise exposure and noise-related health symptoms. Int Arch Occup Environ Health. 2016 Feb;89(2):341-50. doi: 10.1007/s00420-015-1077-3. Epub 2015 Aug 11. PMID: 26259727. Eysel-Gosepath K, Daut T, Pinger A, Lehmacher W, Erren T. Effects of noise in primary schools on health facets in German teachers. Noise Health. 2012 May-Jun;14(58):129-34. doi: 10.4103/1463-1741.97258. PMID: 22718111. Shield BM, Dockrell JE. The effects of environmental and classroom noise on the academic attainments of primary school children. J Acoust Soc Am. 2008 Jan;123(1):133-44. doi: 10.1121/1.2812596. PMID: 18177145. Gokdogan O, Gokdogan C. Determination of the level of noise in nurseries and pre-schools and the teachers' level of annoyance. Noise Health. 2016 Sep-Oct;18(84):256-259. doi: 10.4103/1463-1741.192475. PMID: 27762254; PMCID: PMC5187653. Gebauer K, Scharf T, Baumann U, Groneberg DA, Bundschuh M. Noise Exposure of Teachers in Nursery Schools-Evaluation of Measures for Noise Reduction When Dropping DUPLO Toy Bricks into Storage Cases by Sound Analyses. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2016 Jul 4;13(7):677. doi: 10.3390/ijerph13070677. PMID: 27384575; PMCID: PMC4962218. Hahad, O., Kröller-Schön, S., Daiber, A., & Münzel, T. (2019). The Cardiovascular Effects of Noise. Deutsches Arzteblatt international, 116(14), 245–250. https://doi.org/10.3238/arztebl.2019.0245 Correia, A., Peters, J., Levy, J., et al. (2013). Residential exposure to aircraft noise and hospital admissions for cardiovascular disease: multi-airport retrospective study. The BMJ. doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f5561 Dangerous Decibels: Hospital Noise More Than a Nuisance. (n.d.) Retrieved September 4, 2022 from https://www.rn.com/nursing-news/hospital-noise-more-than-a-nuisance/ Jue, K., Nathan-Roberts, D. (2019). How Noise Affects Patients in Hospitals. SAGE Journals, 63(1), 1510-1514. doi:https://doi.org/10.1177/1071181319631325 Flores LS, Teixeira AR, Rosito LP, Seimetz BM, Dall'Igna C. Pitch and Loudness from Tinnitus in Individuals with Noise-induced Hearing Loss. Int Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2016 Jul;20(3):248-53. doi: 10.1055/s-0035-1562935. Epub 2015 Aug 24. PMID: 27413408; PMCID: PMC4942292. Rosing SN, Schmidt JH, Wedderkopp N, Baguley DM. Prevalence of tinnitus and hyperacusis in children and adolescents: a systematic review. BMJ Open. 2016 Jun 3;6(6):e010596. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2015-010596. PMID: 27259524; PMCID: PMC4893873. Ehlert K. Perceptions of public primary school teachers regarding noise-induced hearing loss in South Africa. S Afr J Commun Disord. 2017 Mar 28;64(1):e1-e12. doi: 10.4102/sajcd.v64i1.185. PMID: 28397520; PMCID: PMC5843150. Lim J, Kweon K, Kim HW, Cho SW, Park J, Sim CS. Negative impact of noise and noise sensitivity on mental health in childhood. Noise Health. 2018 Sep-Oct;20(96):199-211. doi: 10.4103/nah.NAH_9_18. PMID: 30516173; PMCID: PMC6301087. Clark C, Crumpler C, Notley AH. Evidence for Environmental Noise Effects on Health for the United Kingdom Policy Context: A Systematic Review of the Effects of Environmental Noise on Mental Health, Wellbeing, Quality of Life, Cancer, Dementia, Birth, Reproductive Outcomes, and Cognition. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Jan 7;17(2):393. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17020393. PMID: 31936110; PMCID: PMC7013411. Crombie R, Clark C, Stansfeld SA. Environmental noise exposure, early biological risk and mental health in nine to ten year old children: a cross-sectional field study. Environ Health. 2011 May 14;10:39. doi: 10.1186/1476-069X-10-39. PMID: 21569605; PMCID: PMC3117762. Poor Acoustics Inhibit Human Connection. (2017, July 19). Retrieved September 4, 2022 from https://www.f-sorb.com/post/poor-acoustics-inhibit-human-connection Zijlema WL, de Kluizenaar Y, van Kamp I, Hartman CA. Associations between road traffic noise exposure at home and school and ADHD in school-aged children: the TRAILS study. Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2021 Jan;30(1):155-167. doi: 10.1007/s00787-020-01521-8. Epub 2020 Apr 3. PMID: 32246274; PMCID: PMC7864841. Hjortebjerg D, Andersen AM, Christensen JS, Ketzel M, Raaschou-Nielsen O, Sunyer J, Julvez J, Forns J, Sørensen M. Exposure to Road Traffic Noise and Behavioral Problems in 7-Year-Old Children: A Cohort Study. Environ Health Perspect. 2016 Feb;124(2):228-34. doi: 10.1289/ehp.1409430. Epub 2015 Jun 30. PMID: 26126294; PMCID: PMC4749080. Hjortebjerg D, Andersen AM, Christensen JS, Ketzel M, Raaschou-Nielsen O, Sunyer J, Julvez J, Forns J, Sørensen M. Exposure to Road Traffic Noise and Behavioral Problems in 7-Year-Old Children: A Cohort Study. Environ Health Perspect. 2016 Feb;124(2):228-34. doi: 10.1289/ehp.1409430. Epub 2015 Jun 30. PMID: 26126294; PMCID: PMC4749080. Klatte, M., Bergstrom, K., Lachmann, T. (2013). Does noise affect learning? A short review on noise effects on cognitive performance in children. Frontiers in Psychology. doi: https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00578 Clark C, Sörqvist P. A 3 year update on the influence of noise on performance and behavior. Noise Health. 2012 Nov-Dec;14(61):292-6. doi: 10.4103/1463-1741.104896. PMID: 23257580. Sörqvist P. The role of working memory capacity in auditory distraction: a review. Noise Health. 2010 Oct-Dec;12(49):217-24. doi: 10.4103/1463-1741.70500. PMID: 20871176. Klatte M, Bergström K, Lachmann T. Does noise affect learning? A short review on noise effects on cognitive performance in children. Front Psychol. 2013 Aug 30;4:578. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00578. PMID: 24009598; PMCID: PMC3757288. Hernandez LM, Green SA, Lawrence KE, Inada M, Liu J, Bookheimer SY, Dapretto M. Social Attention in Autism: Neural Sensitivity to Speech Over Background Noise Predicts Encoding of Social Information. Front Psychiatry. 2020 Apr 24;11:343. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2020.00343. PMID: 32390890; PMCID: PMC7194032. Green SA, Hernandez LM, Bowman HC, Bookheimer SY, Dapretto M. Sensory over-responsivity and social cognition in ASD: Effects of aversive sensory stimuli and attentional modulation on neural responses to social cues. Dev Cogn Neurosci. 2018 Jan;29:127-139. doi: 10.1016/j.dcn.2017.02.005. Epub 2017 Feb 21. PMID: 28284787; PMCID: PMC5990012. Green SA, Rudie JD, Colich NL, Wood JJ, Shirinyan D, Hernandez L, Tottenham N, Dapretto M, Bookheimer SY. Overreactive brain responses to sensory stimuli in youth with autism spectrum disorders. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2013 Nov;52(11):1158-72. doi: 10.1016/j.jaac.2013.08.004. Epub 2013 Aug 24. PMID: 24157390; PMCID: PMC3820504. Eysel-Gosepath K, Daut T, Pinger A, Lehmacher W, Erren T. Sound levels and their effects on children in a German primary school. Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2012 Dec;269(12):2475-83. doi: 10.1007/s00405-011-1899-x. Epub 2011 Dec 29. PMID: 22205239. Eysel-Gosepath K, Pape HG, Erren T, Thinschmidt M, Lehmacher W, Piekarski C. Lärm in Kindertagesstätten [Sound levels in nursery schools]. HNO. 2010 Oct;58(10):1013-20. German. doi: 10.1007/s00106-010-2121-y. PMID: 20480127.

  • Selective Hearing or Acoustic Distraction

    Of all the human senses, the sense of hearing may be the most autonomous, the least controllable. After all, we can shut our eyes to sights we do not want to see. We can hold our breath, at least for a while, to block noxious odors. We can even recoil from the sensation of touch. But, short of walking around with ear plugs or our palms planted firmly over our ears, we can’t really turn off the sense of hearing. That doesn’t mean, though, that we’re entirely powerless against the sounds that surround us. Indeed, our bodies house some pretty sophisticated machinery for helping us to hear what we want to hear–and to shut out what we don’t. Yes, selective hearing is a real thing, and it often occurs without your even realizing it. But what is selective hearing, exactly, how does it work, what does it do for us, and what about when it doesn't work as it should? Selective Hearing Although there are some important overlaps, the mechanisms and the functions of selective hearing differ in significant ways from hearing filters and other auditory processing systems. For example, while auditory processing is principally a physiological occurrence, selective hearing results from the interplay of an array of factors, including the psychological, the motivational, and even the visual. In other words, selective hearing illuminates the reality that what we hear isn’t just determined by the environmental noises that encompass us. Rather, what we hear is often based largely on what we want to hear. Selective Hearing, ASD, ADHD, and Sensory Processing To be sure, selective hearing processes are informed largely by our feelings and our goals, but that does not mean that we have complete control over what we “select” to hear. This is particularly true for persons with neurocognitive disorders. In a study of “listening difficulties” among school-aged children, Dillon and Cameron (2021) have found that children experiencing difficulties in speech, learning, or behavior are often encountering an array of challenges relating to focused hearing, speech differentiation, noise filtering, attention, and memory (1). In other words, these children are unable to engage in healthy selective hearing processes. Such obstacles may relate to a host of neurocognitive conditions, from autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) to sensory processing disorder. A growing body of evidence suggests, for example, that multisensory processing disorders may well be a distinguishing feature of the autism spectrum (2, 3, 4). For persons who are neurodivergent, such as those who have sensory processing disorders or those on the autism spectrum, sensory stimuli don’t always help to organize, understand, and experience the world. All too often, auditory, visual, and tactile input can become an overwhelming, disorienting, and disturbing chaos of sensations. In such situations, selective hearing processes often rapidly shut down, and the person is subsumed by a sea of noise. This is an example of the critical importance of environmental sound mitigation. Whether in the healthcare, academic, or residential setting, noise reduction efforts can help neurodivergent persons be more comfortable, productive, and highly functioning, enabling them to enjoy a higher quality of life overall. A Baby’s Cry Perhaps the most significant illustration of the reality of both hearing filters (physiology) and selective hearing can be found in humans’ responses to infants’ cries. Research studies demonstrating the exceptional capacity of adult humans, and particularly women, to recognize and automatically respond to the sound of a crying baby are plentiful (5, 6, 7). These studies also indicate that important differences exist between men and women and between parents and nonparents in the capacity to recognize an infant’s cry, to differentiate their own child’s cry from the cries of another child, and to react in a positive manner (i.e. by picking up, feeding, or otherwise soothing) manner to the infant’s cry (6, 7, 8). Research into gender differences in infant cry responses has found that women are more likely than men to awaken from sleep or to experience disruptions in their train of thought when a child begins to cry. While the consistency with which differences in gender and parental status impact a person’s recognition of and response to an infant’s cries might seem to indicate purely biological mechanisms at work, some confounding evidence has also emerged. There is, indeed, substantial evidence that speaks to the role that psychological and motivational factors play in determining what, exactly, it is that we hear in the world around us. For example, in a study of young adults’ responses to infant cries, Kim et al. (2015) found that young persons who had been reared in poverty were less likely than the general population in the same age cohort to respond positively to a newborn’s cries and were more likely to feel annoyed and, therefore, less inclined to respond with caregiving to the child (9). Life experiences don’t just seem to shape what you hear and how you respond, but they may also inform how well we hear. Again, infant cry research is telling here. For instance, in a study of infant cry recognition and response in mothers who had previously received infertility treatment, Sampei and Fujiwara (2020) found that women who had been treated for infertility reported a higher frequency of crying than did new mothers who had not received infertility treatment (10). This suggests an amplified sensitivity to the sounds of their crying child, a sensitivity that cannot be explained purely by physiology but that probably has deep roots in emotion, experience, and motivation (i.e. in the domain of psychology). In other words, selective hearing has a great deal to do with your life experiences, how you feel, what you want, and what you’re trying to do. If one is young and poor and trying to figure out how to buy food for the week, they may not hear their child’s cries at all. If they have maltreatment in their own childhood or if their own distress cries had gone neglected or unheard, the same negative selective hearing response may occur with their own children (11). On the other hand, if you have had to struggle to conceive a child, if your capacity to ever become a parent has been in doubt, then the research suggests that you are likely to be particularly alert and responsive to your child’s cries. The Eyes (and the Ears) Have It As important a role as emotions, experience, and motivation all play in selective hearing, these are not the only factors at work. Indeed, when it comes to determining what and how you hear, your eyes may be every bit as important as your ears. In fact, the connection between vision and hearing seems to be so profound that researchers and clinicians in the field of audiology are developing technologies to integrate visual cues into hearing technologies for persons with and without hearing loss (12, 13, 14). Specifically, researchers have found that hearing aids that incorporate eye gaze technologies provide significant benefit to typically hearing and hard of hearing persons in regard to speech recognition and voice differentiation in crowded, noisy environments with multiple, overlapping, and simultaneous conversations occurring. The benefits persisted even when the speaking subject was in motion, provided that the hearer was able to visually track the speaker, even in low light conditions. In essence, even the most minute and subtle of visual cues will affect what and how we hear because the world around us is not fixed. Rather, it is the construction of our consciousness, and that derives from the interaction of our physiology, our psychology, our life histories, and our senses. However, because it is not always possible to effectively visually track the source of the sound you are trying to selectively hear, persons who are hard of hearing do not always benefit from the nexus between hearing and sight. Once again, this is why the listening environment is so critical. Particularly in conditions of overlapping sound, persons with hearing loss can find it difficult or impossible to filter out background noise and gain sound clarity from the subject at which they’re directing their attention. The good news, though, is that it’s possible to mitigate the effects of what researchers term the “cocktail party effect” through environmental noise mitigation, such as the use of noise reduction wall panels and ceiling tiles. As acoustic reverberations are absorbed and minimized, those with hearing challenges will be better able to fix their attention to the sources of the sounds they want to hear. This is true even where visual tracking isn’t feasible. In crowded office environments where multiple conversations are often occurring at once, for example, environmental sound mitigation can mean all the difference for employees, clients, and stakeholders with hearing challenges. How FSorb Can Help At FSorb, our innovative line of eco-friendly acoustic products can help you design the ideal sound environment to meet every need. Our custom panels are optimal for facilitating noise mitigation in schools, daycare centers, healthcare facilities, and office environments, spaces where the capacity to listen and hear what matters most is of the utmost importance. We offer products for those who seek to construct a quiet haven to incorporate a bit of peace and quiet in their lives. Contact your local F-Sorb representative today to discuss how our state-of-the-art technologies can help you meet and exceed your clients’ sound mitigation needs. 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. info@fsorb.com (844) 313-7672 f-sorb.com Sources: Dillon, H., & Cameron, S. (2021). Separating the Causes of Listening Difficulties in Children. Ear and hearing, 42(5), 1097–1108. https://doi.org/10.1097/AUD.0000000000001069 Siemann, J. K., Veenstra-VanderWeele, J., & Wallace, M. T. (2020). Approaches to Understanding Multisensory Dysfunction in Autism Spectrum Disorder. Autism research : official journal of the International Society for Autism Research, 13(9), 1430–1449. https://doi.org/10.1002/aur.2375 Bougeard, C., Picarel-Blanchot, F., Schmid, R., Campbell, R., & Buitelaar, J. (2021). Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder and Co-morbidities in Children and Adolescents: A Systematic Literature Review. Frontiers in psychiatry, 12, 744709. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2021.744709 Thye, M. D., Bednarz, H. M., Herringshaw, A. J., Sartin, E. B., & Kana, R. K. (2018). The impact of atypical sensory processing on social impairments in autism spectrum disorder. Developmental cognitive neuroscience, 29, 151–167. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dcn.2017.04.010 Witteman, J., Van IJzendoorn, M. H., Rilling, J. K., Bos, P. A., Schiller, N. O., & Bakermans-Kranenburg, M. J. (2019). Towards a neural model of infant cry perception. Neuroscience and biobehavioral reviews, 99, 23–32. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neubiorev.2019.01.026 De Pisapia, Nicolaa; Bornstein, Marc H.b; Rigo, Paolaa; Esposito, Gianlucac; De Falco, Simonaa; Venuti, Paolaa. Sex differences in directional brain responses to infant hunger cries. NeuroReport: February 13, 2013 - Volume 24 - Issue 3 - p 142-146 doi: 10.1097/WNR.0b013e32835df4fa Bornstein, M. H., Putnick, D. L., Rigo, P., Esposito, G., Swain, J. E., Suwalsky, J., Su, X., Du, X., Zhang, K., Cote, L. R., De Pisapia, N., & Venuti, P. (2017). Neurobiology of culturally common maternal responses to infant cry. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 114(45), E9465–E9473. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1712022114 Bouchet Hélène, Plat Aurélie, Levréro Florence, Reby David, Patural Hugues, and Mathevon Nicolas 2020 Baby cry recognition is independent of motherhood but improved by experience and exposureProc. R. Soc. B.2872019249920192499 http://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2019.2499 Kim, P., Ho, S. S., Evans, G. W., Liberzon, I., & Swain, J. E. (2015). Childhood social inequalities influence neural processes in young adult caregiving. Developmental psychobiology, 57(8), 948–960. https://doi.org/10.1002/dev.21325 Sampei, M., & Fujiwara, T. (2020). Association of Infertility Treatment with Perception of Infant Crying, Bonding Impairment and Abusive Behavior towards One's Infant: A Propensity-Score Matched Analysis. International journal of environmental research and public health, 17(17), 6099. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17176099 Verhees, M., van IJzendoorn, M. H., Alyousefi-van Dijk, K., Lotz, A. M., de Waal, N., & Bakermans-Kranenburg, M. J. (2021). Child maltreatment affects fathers' response to infant crying, not mediated by cortisol or testosterone. Comprehensive psychoneuroendocrinology, 8, 100083. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cpnec.2021.100083 Kidd G., Jr (2017). Enhancing Auditory Selective Attention Using a Visually Guided Hearing Aid. Journal of speech, language, and hearing research : JSLHR, 60(10), 3027–3038. https://doi.org/10.1044/2017_JSLHR-H-17-0071 Roverud, E., Best, V., Mason, C. R., Streeter, T., & Kidd, G., Jr (2018). Evaluating the Performance of a Visually Guided Hearing Aid Using a Dynamic Auditory-Visual Word Congruence Task. Ear and hearing, 39(4), 756–769. https://doi.org/10.1097/AUD.0000000000000532 Best, V., Roverud, E., Streeter, T., Mason, C. R., & Kidd, G., Jr (2017). The Benefit of a Visually Guided Beamformer in a Dynamic Speech Task. Trends in hearing, 21, 2331216517722304. https://doi.org/10.1177/2331216517722304

  • The Soundtrack of Life Around Us

    If your life had a soundtrack, what would it be? We’re not just talking about the music you love, the songs that seem to encapsulate a particularly memorable time in your life, though these are certainly important. What about the other sounds that permeate, shape, and define your world and your life’s experience? Would it be the peaceful sounds of wind in tree leaves and birds chirping, the restful sound of flowing water, or the joyful sounds of children’s laughter and energetic chatter? Or would it be the incessant rumble of traffic outside? Would it be the clickety-clack of keyboard keys? The shriek of industrial machinery? Perhaps you drown out the noise around you and create your own sound environment with your favorite music. The fact is, most of us pay little attention to the myriad and unceasing ambient noises that fill our daily lives. That’s a pity because the sounds that surround us don’t just characterize our environment, but they also exert a profound impact on our overall quality of life. It’s little wonder, then, that many of the world’s ancient religions perceive the universe and life as we know it to have originated not in physical matter but in sound. In Buddhism and Hinduism, everything that exists evolved from a single syllable: Om. Christianity and Judaism both teach that, in the beginning, was the Word. Indeed, the belief in the life-giving and life-sustaining power of sound is perhaps as old as human civilization itself. Modern science is increasingly able to confirm what the ancients knew: that certain sounds possess tremendous power. Nature’s Solace If you’re asked to identify the sounds that make you feel the happiest and most peaceful, the odds are that sounds derived from nature are going to populate your top ten list. Consider the rhythmic sound of ocean waves, the joyful tones of birdsong, the lulling sweep of the wind through the trees, and the soothing chips of summer crickets in the night. Our world is teeming with the sounds of life, and it’s perhaps little wonder that our physiological and psychological selves are designed to respond to them. Indeed, there is abundant evidence that exposure to natural sound can produce significant physical and mental health benefits (1, 2, 3, 4). The effects are so significant, in fact, that researchers have found that even simulated nature sounds can generate demonstrable improvements in cognitive functioning and overall mood. For example, in a study of the effect on university students of exposure to natural sounds via mobile phone application, Luc et al. (2021) found that daily use of the app substantially improved the subjects’ working memory, attention, and reaction times (5). The researchers also found that these students experienced an enhanced sense of well-being and optimism and a more positive affect overall (5). Similarly, Thoma et al. (2018) found that exposure to water sounds can substantially decrease cortisol levels, even in conditions of acute stress (6). In their study, the researchers subjected women with a history of somatic complaints, who were otherwise healthy, to a stressful psychosocial task. The experimental group, which was made to complete the exercise after a period of listening to simulated water sounds, performed significantly better and exhibited a substantially decreased physiological stress response than the control group, which was not exposed to water sounds (6). The benefits of nature sounds don’t end there, however. There is mounting evidence that the sounds of nature may act on both the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems in highly beneficial ways, even when the subject is not actively listening. Studies suggest, for example, that patients undergoing surgery or other invasive procedures fared better during and after the procedure when they were exposed to natural sound (7, 8, 9, 10). These results were consistent across patient populations, with enhanced healing demonstrated by patients exposed to nature sounds under both full and partial sedation. The Power to Soothe As profound as the physical and mental health benefits of nature sounds may be, these are far from the only categories of sound that can restore and revitalize your well-being. Indeed, the evidence in support of the positive impact of listening to music is vast and growing (11, 12, 13). Studies have shown that listening to certain types of music can substantially improve cardiovascular health, boost immunity, increase exercise adherence, enhance quality of life, and improve overall mental health (11, 12, 13, 14). Likewise, in a study of patients undergoing orthopedic surgery with spinal anesthesia, Azi et al. (2021) found that those who were exposed to music during the surgical procedure required less sedation, felt less anxiety, and had a more positive experience in general than the control group (15). Another recent and deeply exciting advancement in the effort to understand the mechanisms through which music aids health and healing is the discovery of so-called “human-auditory entrainment” (16). This term refers to new insights in the field of neurobiology into the impact of auditory processing on bodily systems. More specifically, researchers have found that the auditory processing of musical rhythms can have a significant therapeutic effect on the human motor system, particularly for those with neurological and motor disorders. Studies suggest that music listening therapy may significantly improve gross and fine motor function in patients with movement disorders, including those with conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, stroke, cerebral palsy, and traumatic brain injury (l6). With these new realizations, what would your soundtrack of choice be? We would like to hear from you, whether it's a specific song or particular sounds in nature, what helps you feel relaxed, calm, and at ease? How FSorb Can Help At FSorb, we specialize in providing innovative, eco-friendly sound mitigation solutions for commercial and public constructions. Our custom products include acoustic panels for walls and ceilings, as well as exterior solutions to facilitate noise reduction in outdoor spaces. Our products are ideal for a wide variety of purposes and environments, from industrial manufacturing workplaces to healthcare facilities to business offices. If you are designing a space that would benefit from noise mitigation, we have the solutions you need. Our products can enable you to create quiet rooms where you or your clients can retreat to enjoy the healing benefits of music without ambient noise pollution infiltrating your space. Similarly, our exterior acoustic panels can be installed in urban greenspaces, private and public parks, corporate campuses, and residential backyards and patios to help quiet noise and unleash the sounds of nature. Contact your local FSorb representative today to explore our product catalog and select the customized sound mitigation solutions you need for your next design project. 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. info@fsorb.com (844) 313-7672 f-sorb.com Sources: Franco, L. S., Shanahan, D. F., & Fuller, R. A. (2017). A Review of the Benefits of Nature Experiences: More Than Meets the Eye. International journal of environmental research and public health, 14(8), 864. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14080864 Buxton, R. T., Pearson, A. L., Allou, C., Fristrup, K., & Wittemyer, G. (2021). A synthesis of health benefits of natural sounds and their distribution in national parks. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 118(14), e2013097118. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2013097118 Ratcliffe E. (2021). Sound and Soundscape in Restorative Natural Environments: A Narrative Literature Review. Frontiers in psychology, 12, 570563. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.570563 Fisher, J. C., Irvine, K. N., Bicknell, J. E., Hayes, W. M., Fernandes, D., Mistry, J., & Davies, Z. G. (2021). Perceived biodiversity, sound, naturalness and safety enhance the restorative quality and wellbeing benefits of green and blue space in a neotropical city. The Science of the total environment, 755(Pt 2), 143095. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.143095 Luo, J., Wang, M., & Chen, L. (2021). The Effects of Using a Nature-Sound Mobile Application on Psychological Well-Being and Cognitive Performance Among University Students. Frontiers in psychology, 12, 699908. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.699908 Thoma, M. V., Mewes, R., & Nater, U. M. (2018). Preliminary evidence: the stress-reducing effect of listening to water sounds depends on somatic complaints: A randomized trial. Medicine, 97(8), e9851. https://doi.org/10.1097/MD.0000000000009851 Arai YC, Sakakibara S, Ito A, et al. Intra operative natural sound decreases salivary amylase activity of patients undergoing inguinal hernia repair under epidural anesthesia. Acta Anaesthesiol Scand 2008;52:987–90. Alvarsson JJ, Wiens S, Nilsson ME. Stress recovery during exposure to nature sound and environmental noise. Int J Environ Res Public Health 2010;7:1036–46. Annerstedt M, Jönsson P, Wallergård M, et al. Inducing physiological stress recovery with sounds of nature in a virtual reality forest—results from a pilot study. Physiol Behav 2013;118:240–50. Thoma MV, La Marca R, Bronnimann R, et al. The effect of music on the human stress response. PLoS One 2013;8:e70156 Williams, D., Hodge, V. J., & Wu, C. Y. (2020). On the use of AI for Generation of Functional Music to Improve Mental Health. Frontiers in artificial intelligence, 3, 497864. https://doi.org/10.3389/frai.2020.497864 Krause, A. E., Dimmock, J., Rebar, A. L., & Jackson, B. (2021). Music Listening Predicted Improved Life Satisfaction in University Students During Early Stages of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Frontiers in psychology, 11, 631033. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.631033 Rebecchini L. (2021). Music, mental health, and immunity. Brain, behavior, & immunity - health, 18, 100374. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbih.2021.100374 Chair, S. Y., Zou, H., & Cao, X. (2021). A systematic review of effects of recorded music listening during exercise on physical activity adherence and health outcomes in patients with coronary heart disease. Annals of physical and rehabilitation medicine, 64(2), 101447. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rehab.2020.09.011 Azi, L., Azi, M. L., Viana, M. M., Panont, A., Oliveira, R., Sadigursky, D., & Alencar, D. F. (2021). Benefits of intraoperative music on orthopedic surgeries under spinal anesthesia: A randomized clinical trial. Complementary therapies in medicine, 63, 102777. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ctim.2021.102777 Thaut M. H. (2015). The discovery of human auditory-motor entrainment and its role in the development of neurologic music therapy. Progress in brain research, 217, 253–266. https://doi.org/10.1016/bs.pbr.2014.11.030

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  • #1 Eco-Friendly Acoustic Panels | FSorb | Acoustic Panels | United States

    ACOUSTICS MADE HEALTHY Eco-friendly acoustic wall and ceiling panels THE FUTURE FOR SOUND ABSORPTION FSorb is an environmentally friendly acoustic product made from recycled polyester plastics (up to 81% post consumer). ​ Completely safe to human health, it is highly durable, and easy to work with. If you want the best price point on a healthy acoustic panel that won't fall apart, doesn't contain chemicals or fiberglass, and is easy to keep clean, we are your resource. Read more IMPRESSIVE STATS Ideal for retrofit and new space Install direct or suspended Smooth textured and easy to install Stocked in standard 4×8 panels Custom cut to any size or shape Contains no VOCs, or chemicals Hypoallergenic (no fiberglass) DIGITAL BROCHURE NRC 1.05 Sound Ratings > FIRE: CLASS 'A' Fire Test > 24 COLORS Selection > FSorb is the healthy building choice for top acoustic performance, durability, enhanced voice absorption, and thermal properties. WHAT OTHERS SAY “FSorb provided us a healthy acoustic product for our school at an economical price point we could not have received with any other product.” Westside School The sequencing of our construction required acoustic panels be installed before chilled beams in the exposed ceiling and before building enclosure. FSorb was moisture resistant, easy to clean, durable, and cheaper than the specified product Sellen Construction "When they first opened it was really loud and uncomfortable. After they installed FSorb it changed a lot and we can now talk and understand each other without shouting." Bottle & Bull Pub Patron NEWS & UPDATES Sep 8 Selective Hearing or Acoustic Distraction Of all the human senses, the sense of hearing may be the most autonomous, the least controllable. After all, we can shut our eyes to... 91 Aug 23 The Soundtrack of Life Around Us If your life had a soundtrack, what would it be? We’re not just talking about the music you love, the songs that seem to encapsulate a... 41 Aug 9 Solving the Mystery of Hearing vs Listening You don’t have to be a neuroscientist to know that the human brain is a pretty miraculous piece of machinery. Not only does it keep us... 177

  • Products | FSorb | Acoustic Panels

    TURNING TRASH INTO SOUND ABSORPTION We are inspired to work with the waste stream and reduce the consumption of our limited natural resources. We believe our acoustic product is one solution and we are currently working on more ways to deliver healthy acoustics. Made from plastic Antimicrobial - unlike cotton and fabric acoustic products that can attract mold and mildew ​ Durable - easy to wash, and does not ding or break like paper and fiber based products ​ Long lasting - ability to absorb sound and still look good for 50 years or more ​ Safe - no chemicals, or itchy airborne particles for building users to ever deal with ​ LEED & LBC product Declarations ENVIRONMENTAL DATA Extruded polyester No fiberglass, or adhesives. Our approach is simple, with only one material. FSorb is extruded, recycled content polyester, shaped and formed with heat. For more technical information, please click below. ​ Product installation and cleaning Paint and coating instructions Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) Safety Data Sheet (SDS) UL VOC testing results per 2010 CDPH Warranty TECHNICAL DATA Durable acoustic panels Wall and ceiling panel options: ​ 2" thickness , highest NRC: 1.05 1" thickness , most common product sold 1/2" thickness , for smaller applications Exterior, option for durability Acoustical core, for stretched fabric systems Minimize your waste during construction by using FSorb panels that are durable and easy to clean. PRODUCT CHOICES Customizable FSorb panels have endless customization options, depending on your designer and installer. It is easy to cut, shape, paint, screen print, and hang. We have a range of examples for ideas, yet don't be limited by what you see, contact us for samples to try out your own customization ideas to get the unique look you want. ​ 24 Colors - solid color polyester Shapes - unlimited potential, ask your installer Quietgrid​ Quietgrid​ 48 Silentline Silentline Dimensional Baffles Screen printing - fun endless options Fasteners - multiple ways to hang, install DESIGN SPECIFICATIONS Fire protection We do not want you or your customers to ever experience a fire, yet if you do, all FSorb products have the following fire rating: ​ ​ Class 'A' NFPA rating FIRE RATING Recyclable Our product is designed to be recycleable at its end of life. The primary goal was to create durable panels that last a long time. As we grow into other markets we are also working on expanding our recycling network. For markets in the Pacific Northwest please contact us for drop off locations. Our acoustic panel research and development is currently exploring new localized waste and organic materials to evolve into new product lines. DROP OFF SITE

  • Media | FSorb

    Media Upload First Name Last Name Company Email Project Name, Location, Photo Credit Enter Video or Photo URL Upload Image File 1 Upload Video File 1 Upload Image File 2 Upload Video File 2 Upload Image File 3 Upload Video File 3 Upload Document Upload Audio Submit Thanks for submitting!

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