Science for Silence: The Quest for a Quiet Cabin

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Although airplane cabin noise does no long-term harm to your hearing, you probably feel as though it does short-term harm to your mental state. It’s not just your imagination: A study has shown that aircraft noise can impair a passenger’s cognition as much as being drunk.

Defeating ambient noise is a complicated problem. The loudness comes from the wind, the aircraft’s vibrations and the background noise of the cabin itself. While the big-picture trend has been towards quieter aircraft thanks to better engine and body design, the passenger experience is still one of low, sustained roars.

However, as Mr. McGuire told Ben Braddock in The Graduate, “There’s a great future in plastics. Think about it.” So let’s look at a few different approaches to solving the cabin-noise conundrum.

Paper, Planes
Sekisui SPI showed off its Infused Imaging technology at the 2015 Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, telling Runway Girl Network contributing editor John Walton that its new way of molding elements of an aircraft’s interior surfaces means that everything from seat design to branding elements will become bespoke. Aside from being softer to the touch, this material is quite good at deadening ambient noise. Sekisui president and COO, Ronn Cort, told Walton that its new material was inspired by…

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