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Major Northeastern University

The Issue

A Major Northeastern University attains speech privacy by installing a system of materials to block sound through their ceiling plenum. The university was having sound transference issues between classrooms and administrative areas, potentially compromising confidential information. Acknowledging the need for a first-rate solution, the facilities management team contacted Acoustical Solutions.

The Challenge

Many offices, schools, and mixed-use spaces often share space that connects to other common areas. Because of this shared space, a full classroom or students passing by in the hallway could often overhear private conversations. The university had several classrooms and offices experiencing this problem. The only structures separating these rooms from one another were an open corridor and partition walls. Since the partition walls do not extend to the roof deck, they do very little to protect speech privacy. In this case, sound permeates through the ceiling tiles and hops right over the wall.

The Solution

Through conversations with facilities management and professors, we were able to rule out the walls as the weak point. We then knew their plenum ceiling was allowing sound to travel through the plenum space and into other areas. Our team knew the correct products to recommend for this situation. However, the products would need meet the approval of the professors and the facilities managers. A Class A fire rating and superior STC ratings (in order to achieve speech privacy) were equally important. Finally, the materials must be budget-friendly.

Our PrivacyShield® Ceiling Tile Barriers, Light Hoods and Plenum Return Silencers G2 all fit the criteria. The products work together perfectly in existing drop tile suspended ceiling systems. Now that we selected the products, we needed to determine the number of ceiling tiles, lights and plenum air returns. For this project, we placed treatments over twelve offices, two classrooms and any open-air return grilles.


A major northeastern university installed a series of PrivacyShield products to ensure speech privacy is maintained for students, administrators and professors.

A major northeastern university installed a series of PrivacyShield® products to ensure speech privacy is maintained for students, administrators and professors. Light Hood and Ceiling Tile Barrier are pictured here.

The Result

The PrivacyShield® system blocked the sound without changing the aesthetics of the space. The materials remain hidden, out of site and above the ceiling grid. Professors, teachers and students now have confidential, private spaces for conversations. Likewise, students will have a focused learning environment, free from distracting noises from other spaces. They will now be able to concentrate on their lab work, lectures and curriculum.

To learn more about how Acoustical Solutions can solve your noise control problems, use our contact form, call one of our Acoustical Sales Consultants at (800) 782-5742, or visit us on the web at acousticalsolutions.com.