Sound insulation

Sound insulation is the term describing the reduction of sound that passes between two spaces separated by a dividing element. In transmitting between two spaces, the sound energy may pass through the dividing element (direct transmission) and through the surrounding structure (indirect or flanking transmission). When designing for optimum sound insulation, it’s important to consider both methods of transmission.

The walls or floors, which flank the dividing element, constitute the main paths for flanking transmission, but this can also occur at windows, doorways, heating or ventilation ducts, for example.

The acoustic environment of the room and/or the building, and the ability to reduce or eliminate air paths in the vicinity of the sound reducing element, these include doorsets, glazing, suspended ceiling cavities, ductwork, etc. will have a significant effect on its performance. For these reasons it is unlikely that figures quoted from laboratory test conditions will be achieved in practice. When the background noise is low, consideration may have to be given to a superior standard of sound insulation performance in conjunction with the adjoining flanking conditions.

British Gypsum sound insulating systems

British Gypsum offers a full range of lightweight partition and wall systems. Our systems are non-loadbearing and constructed using modern, drylining techniques. British Gypsum metal framed partitions and walls can be used in all types of new and existing buildings, including private and social housing, apartments, healthcare, educational facilities, recreational and industrial properties.

British Gypsum partition systems are constructed using lightweight materials, which can give rise to significant savings in structural design compared to masonry alternatives. Big benefits also include the speed of installation and reduction to overall build costs.


GypWall Classic in Hospital hallwayGypWall ROBUST is a highly impact-resistant partition system for use where a more durable solution is required. All GypWall ROBUST systems utilise Gyproc DuraLine board to give enhanced levels of resistance to damage from everyday occurrences, such as school bags being knocked against corridor walls as pupils move from one lesson to the next. As a result, the system provides a lightweight, non-loadbearing partition ideal for all types of commercial, healthcare and educational buildings that experience high levels of human traffic.

GypWall ROBUST systems are designed to meet the key sound insulation performances outlined in Building Bulletin 93 and Health Technical Memorandum 08-01. System options (such as adding an additional board layer, using Gypframe AcouStuds or Saint Gobain insulation) allow for these performance levels to be exceeded for the creation of acoustic environments that offer exceptional comfort for occupiers.


GypWall ClassicGypWall CLASSIC is the industry’s original lightweight non-loadbearing drywall partition system, providing cost-effective, multi-purpose solutions suitable for all types of buildings.

GypWall CLASSIC systems can be specified to meet the key sound insulation performances outlined in Building Bulletin 93 and Health Technical Memorandum 08-01. GypWall CLASSIC has diverse system options available; replacing Gyproc WallBoard with Gyproc SoundBloc, for example, will enhance acoustic performance by at least 3 RwdB, upgrading to Gypframe AcouStuds or adding various types of Saint Gobain insulation. This allows for the ultimate flexibility in design and specification letting even higher acoustic performance levels to be achieved.


GypWall Extreme in school hallGypWall EXTREME is our ultimate impact resistant partition, incorporating Rigidur H reinforced gypsum board with its extremely high levels of impact and abrasion resistance, in combination with high-strength Gypframe components, results in a range of partition systems with durability that will exceed expectations.

The GypWall EXTREME family of partitions have been tested to the extreme, comfortably surpassing all requirements of a full Severe Duty Rating in accordance with BS 5234: Part 2: 1992.

GypWall EXTREME systems are designed to meet the key sound insulation performances outlined in Building Bulletin 93 and Health Technical Memorandum 08-01. System options (such as adding an additional plasterboard layer, upgrading to Gypframe AcouStuds or Saint Gobain insulation) allow for these performance levels to be exceeded for the creation of acoustic environments that offer exceptional comfort for occupiers.

GypWall Partition systems

A simple way to provide single rooms within the healthcare sector.

Overwhelmingly the design intervention that positively affects the largest number of outcomes in a hospital setting is the provision of single-bed patient rooms (3.6). Reported benefits in studies carried out over double or multi-bed wards include improved infection control, reduction in noise, increased privacy and better for family support. These benefits promote a healing environment and lead to increased patient satisfaction (6).

    Studies have shown that...

    Studies have shown that noise in hospitals has several effects on patient health and recovery including disturbed sleep, although the percentage slightly varies, it has generally been shown that roughly 11% to 20% of arousals and awakenings are due to noise (2 & 27). Sleep is fundamental to human health in general and critical to patient recovery. Alertness, mood, behaviour, coping abilities, respiratory muscle function, ventilatory control, healing time, and length of stay are just a few of the potential impacts of patient sleep disturbance or deprivation (4). In addition to worsening sleep quality, noise elevates psychological and physiological stress in patients, as indicated by negative feelings such as anxiety and annoyance, and detrimental physiological changes such as elevated heart rate and blood pressure (7). There is some evidence that noise may even contribute to increased lengths of hospital stay.

    By closing the door to single rooms, much of the ward/unit background noise can also be reduced. In a study by Chaudhury et al, nurses rated single rooms as effective in reducing noise levels. The results of surveys administered to 77 nurses regarding their perceptions of single rooms demonstrated that nurses believed single rooms provided a more restful environment with less noise and overall disturbance, which could contribute to improved recovery rates (4 & 28).


    (1) Berglund B, Lindvall T, editors. Guidelines for community noise. Geneva: World Health Organization; 1999

    (2) T Hsu, E Ryherd, K Persson Waye, and J Ackerman. Noise pollution in hospitals - Impact on patients. JCOM Vol 19, No 7 July 2012 Pg 301-309

    (3) Busch-Vishniac IJ, West JE, Barnhill C, et al. Noise levels in Johns Hopkins Hospital. J Acoust Soc Am 2005;118:3629–45

    (4) Ampt A, Harris P and Maxwell M. The health impacts of the design of hospital facilities on patient recovery and wellbeing: A review of the literature. 2008 Centre for Primary Healthcare and Equity, University of New South Wales, Sydney

    (5) Ulrich R. and X. Quan. The Role of the Physical Environment in the Hospital of the 21st century: A Once-in-a-Lifetime Opportunity. Designing the 21st Century Hospital Project, The Center for Health Design. 2004

    (6) Ulrich R. Evidence Based Design for better buildings. Welsh Health Estates and IHEEM Conference, Cardiff, 2006

    (7) Ulrich R, Zimring C, Xuemei Zhu,  DuBose J, Hyun-Bo Seo, Young-Seon Choi, Xiaobo Quan, and Anjali Joseph. A Review of the Research Literature on Evidence based Healthcare Design. Health Environments Research & Design, 1(3), 2008.

    (8) H Salonen , L Morawska. Physical characteristics of the indoor environment that affect health and wellbeing in healthcare facilities: A review. Intelligent Buildings International, 2013

    (9) Bayo, M.V., Garcia, A.M. and Garcia, A., 1995, 'Noise levels in an urban hospital and workers’ subjective responses', Archives of Environmental Health, 50 247-251.

    (10) Beyea, S.C., 2007, 'Noise: a distraction, interruption, and safety hazard. AORN Journal.

    (11) Biley, F.C., 1994, 'Effects of noise in hospitals', British Journal of Community Nursing, 3 (3), 110-113.

    (12) Joseph, A., 2010, 'Hospitals that heal’. Hospital design for the 21st century. Asian hospital and healthcare management.

    (13) Hagerman I., Rasmanis G., Blomkvist V., Ulrich R., Eriksen C. A. ,& Theorell T. (2005). Influence of intensive coronary care acoustics on the quality of care and physiological state of patients. International Journal of Cardiology, 98 (2), 267–270.

    (14) Devlin, A.S. and Arneill, A.B., 2003, 'Health care environments and patient outcomes: A review of the literature', Environment and Behaviour, 35 (5), 665- 694.

    (15) Shield B. M & Dockrell J. E. Acoustical barriers in classrooms: the impact of noise on performance in the classroom. British Educational Research Journel. Volume 32, issue 3, 2006

    (16) Nelson P B & Soli S. Acoustical Barriers to Learning: Children at Risk in Every Classroom. Language, Speech & Hearing Services in Schools. Oct 2000, 31, 4

    (17)Shield B. M. & Dockrell J. E. External and internal noise surveys of London primary schools, Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 2004, 115(2), 730-738.

    (18) Acoustics at work. Noise in Office Environments: Its effects and Means to Reduce and Control it. 2011

    (19) Abbot, D. Calming the office cacophony. The Safety and Health Practitioner, 2004, 22 (1), 34-36.

    (20) Sykes D M. Productivity: How Acoustics Affect Workers’ Performance In Offices & Open Areas. 2004.

    (21) Barach, P. (2008). "Strategies to reduce patient harm: understanding the role of design and the built environment." Studies in Health Technology and Informatics 132: 14-22.

    (22) White, R. D. (2006). "Recommended standards for newborn ICU design." Journal of Perinatology 26(SUPPL. 3).

    (23) Altimier, L. B. (2004). "Healing environments: for patients and providers." Newborn & Infant Nursing Reviews 4(2): 89-92.

    (24) Reiling, J. G., B. L. Knutzen, et al. (2004). "Enhancing the traditional hospital design process: a focus on patient safety." Joint Commission Journal on Quality & Safety 30(3): 115-124.

    (25) Brown, P. and L. T. Taquino (2001). "Designing and Delivering Neonatal Care in Single Rooms." Journal of Perinatal and Neonatal Nursing 15(1): 68-83.

    (26) Medibank. The Health of Australia’s Workforce. 2005

    (27) Aurell J, Elmqvist D. Sleep in the surgical intensive care unit: continuous polygraphic recording in nine patients receiving postoperative care. Br Med J 1985; 290:1029–32

    (28) Chaudhury, H., A. Mahmood, et al. (2006). "Nurses' perception of single-occupancy versus multi-occupancy rooms in acute care environments: an exploratory comparative assessment." Applied Nursing Research 19(3): 118-125.

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