Do noises in the swimming pool float, drown or splash?

14 May 2020

A swimming pool is used for different purposes, from education to recreation. The acoustics of a swimming pool influence the way we experience it. Swimming pool sounds can either create a peaceful ambience or build up waves of chaos.

Kids playing in swimming pool area with perfect acoustics

As daily life is demanding, we try to find relaxation in leisure centres, such as spas and sauna clubs. Swimming pools in these centres are popular as they provide both physical stimulation and mental calm. However, a lot of things make pools noisy: children playing, people diving into the pool, shouts of joy, lifeguards’ whistles and more. Poor swimming pool acoustics just adds to the nuisance and can easily ruin the pleasure for many.

To design an optimal pool environment, it is crucial to consider all the activities that could take place in that area: swimming lessons, play, aqua fitness, sport and wellness activities, infants swimming, etc. These situations give rise to a few challenges for optimal acoustics in a swimming pool area where noise can create discomfort, reduce safety and even increase the risk of permanent hearing loss. So let’s have a look at how we can avoid that.

Soundproofing is key

In a swimming pool, the level of noise depends on sound sources, insulation and absorbents. From a health and well-being point of view, it is important to maintain an optimal balance of these parameters. When the acoustic properties of swimming pool walls and ceilings are optimized it will automatically increase visitor numbers and improve staff satisfaction. Therefore, designing a pool with a sense of freedom, health and happiness is essential. Now that sounds right, doesn’t it?

Don’t let any shout for help be drowned out

Although a pool is a place for fun, there could be a serious incident at any moment. Therefore, it is vital for coaches and lifeguards to distinguish what could be a call for help. Constantly high levels of noise could lead to poor speech clarity. The hard-tiled surfaces provide minimal swimming pool noise absorption and cause sound to bounce around the pool area. As safety, instruction and fun are all crucial, prioritising acoustics in swimming pools is a must.

From sound waves to soundscapes

Swimming pools are humid areas with high temperatures and chlorine. It is important that building materials and indoor acoustics can deal with the humidity level. Products that can withstand high temperatures, are corrosion-resistant and anti-bacterial make a huge difference. Absorbents are frequently used to improve the acoustic environment in buildings, but due to the climate in swimming pools it isn’t always simple.

Your checklist for creating the perfect acoustic environment in a swimming pool area

  1. Reduce sound levels by having a wall-to-wall, sound-absorbing ceiling, and combine it with wall absorbers wherever possible
  2. Water, temperature, and humidity resistance all play key roles. Make sure to use solutions that are unaffected by water splash or high humidity and temperatures
  3. Always have mounting solutions installed that are resistant to corrosion
  4. If your pool area is used for sports activities and ball play, choose acoustic solutions which are impact-resistant
  5. Use solutions that are anti-bacterial and are not damaged by chlorine to create a safe and hygienic environment
  6. Depending on the mood and feel of the swimming pool, it might be an advantage to select an acoustic solution that increases light diffusion by enhancing outdoor light

Below, we highlight two of our swimming pool constructions in which the above parameters have been met. We build swimming pool areas where people can rest, play and enjoy life


Le Cap, Sartrouville – floating high with pride

Le Cap, Sartrouviile, an aquatic centre in France, is one of the shining jewels in Rockfon’s crown. Inspired by biomimicry, the architecture uses natural materials like stone and glass. To diffuse the reverberation of these materials, naturally curved shapes and porous materials are used to debilitate ambient sound. The acoustics in the swimming pool are designed keeping the overall ambience and style in mind. It reflects silence by diffusing noise, thanks to the Rockfon tiles 600X600.

Featured products: Rockfon® Tropic™, A, 600 X 600


Le Cap swimming pool fitness centre, Rockfon Color-all Charcoal, Ekla A-edge E-edge, leisure
“We created triangular-shaped islands – like origami, because they grab sounds in the angles and help stop echoes.”

Jean-Michel Ruols


Arts et Vie – beauty and bubbles

Arts et Vie is a stunning vacation resort in France with one indoor pool and three outdoor pools. Rockfon played a crucial role in its construction, from design and function to the acoustics and aesthetics of the pool. It was the first time this excellent, innovative ceiling design was used, specially created with the Rockfon Sonar. It not only draws families to the pool, but the silence and peace it creates means these families want to spend more time there.

Featured products: Rockfon Sonar, B, 600 X 600 (not available in the UK)

Centre de loisir Arts et Vie Plozevet, France, SONAR X-edge, B-edge, Chicago Metallic T24 Hook D850 ECR class D , 600 x 600, White, Philippe Gauthier, Arts et Vie, UBERAUM & Philippe Gauthier Architect
The visitors give really good feedback on the pool because even when there are children, there is no resonance.

Vincent Berthy