by Neil Bauman, Ph.D.
A lady explained:
Our condo has high ceilings and a wood and tile floor. The reverberation makes it really difficult to hear. Do you have any ideas for improving this situation?
Reverberation is caused by all the hard surfaces in your condo. The obvious solution to dampen such reverberations is to soften the surfaces. You can do this by using throw and area rugs on the wooden floors, use sound deadening draperies, use lots of upholstered (cloth-covered, not plastic or leather) furniture. All these things will break up and deaden reverberations so you can converse better with people.
If you own your own place, you could use acoustic tile on your ceilings to absorb sounds and prevent reverberation.
In addition to doing the above things to lessen reverberation you need to practice effective hearing loss coping strategies. One of these is to get close to the person you are talking to. Reverberation becomes more and more noticeable the greater the distance you are from the person you are trying to hear.
Another effective strategy for hearing your TV, radio or stereo when reverberation is a problem is to use assistive technology. For example, use a room loop or an FM system to pipe the sound from your TV right to your ears, totally bypassing the reverberation in the room.
To learn more about the wonders of room loop systems read “Loop Systems—The Best-Kept Secret in Town“.