Plants have long been used to reduce noise from busy roads. More recently, research has shown another benefit: interior plants can help to reduce background noise levels inside buildings, too. Using plants that have large leaves, stems, and trunks have more surface area to help reduce noise.
Do Plants Help to Absorb Sound?
There’s quite a bit of research on the subject, but the short answer is yes. The flexible and porous nature of indoor house plants acts as natural sound reducers.
How Plants Reduce Indoor Noise Levels?
As I mentioned above, plants reduce noise levels through three different methods: deflection, absorption, and refraction.
- Deflection – Sound waves tend to bounce around off hard surfaces. That’s where all that added noise comes from. Walls are rigid and will amplify sound, while plants are flexible and help to deaden the sound by breaking up the sound waves into other forms of energy.
- Absorption – Plants are great at absorbing sound because of the leaves, branches, and wood. Wood is a great sound absorber. Have you ever walked through a forest and been amazed at the silence? That’s because the trees are absorbing all the ambient noise.
- Refraction – Refraction is taking away the echoes of the sound bouncing off the hard surfaces. Plants will help to refract this noise and eliminate the echoes which are responsible for much of the added noise in your home or office.
Depending on how many, variety and their placement plants can absorb up to 50% of the sound energy being produced in your home or office. That’s quite a reduction.
2019 by BetterSoundproofing.com
Research by an international team in 2014 showed that people who worked in offices with leafy green plants concentrated better and were 15 percent more productive than those who went about their day in spartan offices without them.
1School of Psychology, Cardiff University.
2School of Psychology, University of Exeter.
3Faculty of Behavioral and Social Sciences, University of Groningen.
4School of Psychology, University of Queensland.