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Reducing the noise levels of hair salons to create a more relaxing experience and protect hearing

Making every hair appointment a sound experience #ASA186
Seeking to create a calming, luxurious environment, salon owner Silvia Campana consulted with Donna Ellis at Lines by Nature LLC to enhance its acoustical landscape. Credit: Virginia V. Ellis

Walking out of a hair salon can have customers feeling brand new, but the noisy environment may have negative effects at the cost of a new "do." At Image Creators salon in Maryland, owner Silvia Campana along with her employees and customers noticed they had to work hard to understand each other's words while in the salon, but they couldn't put their finger on exactly why.

In addition to difficulties understanding speech, Campana experienced increased ear pain and tinnitus after long-term exposure to high sound pressure levels while working at the salon. These challenges inspired some creative solutions.

Campana consulted with Donna Ellis at Lines by Nature LLC to enhance the acoustical landscape at the high-end beauty salon. Ellis experimented with noise reduction methods to contribute to the calming, luxurious environment desired by the clientele and employees. She presents her work Tuesday, May 14, at 3:00 p.m. EDT as part of a joint meeting of the Acoustical Society of America and the Canadian Acoustical Association, held May 13–17 at the Shaw Center located in downtown Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

"Many noisy environments can be fixed in reasonably fast, cost-effective ways to provide social environments where our hearing is protected, where we can relax, and where we can have meaningful conversations with our friends, business colleagues, and family," said Ellis.

Ellis collaborated with Campana to improve the salon's acoustics and reduce the noise levels for the customers and staff. The main noise sources came from long reverberation times, high background noise from the HVAC system, hair dryers, and multiple people talking.

The pair found great success by installing acoustically absorptive materials throughout the salon. Reducing noise levels noticeably improved the ability to converse easily. In addition, receptionists were able to actually answer the phones at the counter and staff reported reduced ear pain.

"After the acoustics were retrofit the customers sensed a difference," said Ellis. "When asked what changed, salon staff point up and it clicks. Customers often share their gratitude and surprise at the difference good acoustics make on their salon experience."

The safety upgrades created for the salon are transferable to other noisy locations. With healthy noise levels being the focus, Ellis has data to show how can be implemented within interior spaces.

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

Ellis collected from the occupants and emphasized the importance for communities and industries to support healthy human function as a whole.

More information: Technical program:

Citation: Reducing the noise levels of hair salons to create a more relaxing experience and protect hearing (2024, May 14) retrieved 22 May 2024 from
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