Are Phone Booths Sound Proof?

phone booth adding privacy and quietness for calls


One of the most common questions people ask when they’re thinking about purchasing a phone booth for their office, commercial, or residential space is whether they are completely soundproof and can really keep ambient noises away. To answer this question, it is important to first establish the main characteristics of the modern office phone booth.

Key attributes of Phone Booths

Phone booths are generally speaking rooms within other rooms, fully enclosed units with three walls, a door, a ceiling, and often a carpeted floor; they’re specifically designed to provide private and quiet spaces for people to make phone or video calls or engage in quick work. To achieve this, phone booths are often equipped with light and ventilation systems, worktops, and sometimes stools. They also need to be made of solid materials that can stand the test of time while also having an attractive look to compliment the office decor. Similarly, because the main purpose of a phone booth is to provide a space where to make calls away from the hustle and bustle of open-plan offices, it is imperative that they have some sort of acoustic property.


What are Acoustic Phone Booths?

While no phone booth can provide 100% soundproofness, there are levels of protection, and some models will provide a higher level of sound absorption than others. These levels are qualified according to set acoustic parameters, measured in decibels. To explain this further, it is important to understand the way noise travels. it is transferred to us in the form of sound waves, and each of these sound waves will have a particular frequency or pitch. A single sound wave has multiple sound waves or differing frequencies, ranging from low to high, and each of these frequencies has its own set of sound waves that pass through walls, ceilings, or floors. While most walls serve as a soundproofing tool, acoustic phone booths are further enhanced by the use of acoustic materials, which help fight the wide range of sound frequencies that come through their walls. Acoustic Phone Booths incorporate soundproof panels that make their walls thicker, which helps block sound waves. The energy produced by these waves is absorbed in the walls and prevents resonance and reverberation. These acoustic panels are usually made of compressed mineral wool or foam that absorbs sound waves to dampen general noise, clarify speech, and limit reverberation, the kinetic energy created by the sound cannot be contained, so it dissipates, leaving no sound waves and, as a result, no noise.

How can you measure the sound proofness of Phone Booths?

The rating given to acoustic materials can be better explained on the below chart. Normal speech is generally measured at 50–60 dB, so a rating of 28 dB would indicate a barrier to about half of the sound waves, which in theory, when applied to phone booths, would make a normal conversation outside the acoustic phone booth nearer to a noise level between a whisper and a rustling leaf.


Chart explaining acoustic ratings

In conclusion, though no phone booth can be completely soundproof,  acoustic phone booths do provide a high level of sound absorption thanks to the quality of materials used in their walls, be it through upholstered acoustic panels and/or toughened glass. Acoustic phone booths absorb most speech so that conversations inside can remain private and confidential, while noises from the outside can also stay there. If you are seeking to add private and quiet spaces for a quick phone call or to engage in some concentrative work, acoustic phone booths are the perfect solution, and with the wide variety of options available, there is the right phone booth for every space.