10+ tips for designing classrooms, hospitals and offices that are kind on ears, from Julian Treasure

Architects really do need to use their ears in building design!

TED Blog

Architects design with their eyes rather than their ears — which means that spaces generally look great and sound terrible. At TEDGlobal 2012 University, sound consultant Julian Treasure warned that — even though we’re rarely conscious of sound — terrible acoustics can have very negative effects on our well-being.

“We’re designing environments that make us crazy,” says Treasure in this talk, which is a treat for the eardrums. “It’s not just our quality of life that suffers. It’s our health, our social behavior and our productivity as well.”

For example, Treasure notes that sound levels in hospitals have doubled in recent years. Sleep is absolutely crucial for patient recovery, and yet with the constant beeps, tones and shuffling, the body feels that it is under threat. Not to mention that staff errors increase the greater the level of distracting noise.

Classrooms generally have terrible soundscapes too. As Treasure explains…

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