How to improve acoustic and sound comfort ?

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How to improve acoustic and sound comfort ?

Category: Acoustic Tutorial, Professional

Acoustics is a major issue today. Numerous studies have demonstrated the harmful effects of noise problems. Notably, more than a quarter of people have tinnitus problems.

It is therefore legitimate to wonder about the solutions to this problem. Thus in this article, we will answer the following question: how to improve acoustic and sound comfort?

Definition of acoustic comfort

Acoustic comfort consists in not being disturbed by noise.

It can concern the improvement of acoustic treatment or sound insulation. It can, therefore, concern :

  • Sound improvement within a room (echo problem, …)
  • The transmission of external noise to a room (neighbourhood noise, …)

The aim of acoustic comfort is therefore to have a quiet room, without external noise pollution.

The basics of hearing and sound comfort

In order to better understand this notion of hearing and sound comfort, a few basics should be presented. Here are some important definitions.

  • Sound is a variation in ambient air pressure that can be characterized by its intensity (dB) and frequency (Hz).
  • Noise is an undesirable sound. It consists of many sounds with different frequencies and intensities.
  • Decibels (dB) express the sound level by defining its intensity.
  • Hertz (Hz) expresses the frequency which is characterized by the number of vibrations per second and defines whether a sound is high or low. Noise consists of different frequencies.

To improve sound comfort, we will therefore play with these different elements.

Acoustic comfort in architecture and building

Acoustic comfort is, today, an important factor and considered by many building functions with attention (architects, project managers, …).

This for 2 main reasons:

  1. Today’s spaces tend to be “open” (open space type), which inevitably leads to acoustical problems.
  2. Studies are beginning to demonstrate the health and productivity benefits of acoustics.

Thus many products exist today to deal with these problems:

The problem of acoustics can be considered upstream of construction. Obviously, the materials and the shape of the room will influence it. It is therefore important to think about this before the room is even created. An acoustic design office can intervene in this context.

In addition, it should be noted that an acoustic treatment can influence the air quality. This is particularly the main problem with glass wool or rock wool, which emit fine particles. Their use is mainly recommended for sound insulation, and much less for acoustic treatment.

Improvement of acoustic and sound comfort with acoustic panels

Acoustic comfort of a dwelling

The acoustic question also arises for housing.

The current fashion is to privilege open spaces (“loft” type ), the acoustic problems are thus present.

Here again, we find the same ins and outs as for the acoustic comfort of a building.

Why is acoustic comfort important?

As mentioned in the preamble of this article, noise creates many problems. Numerous studies have demonstrated this. For example, we know that noise:

  • Is responsible for many illnesses (fatigue, hearing loss, …)
  • Night to creativity and productivity
  • Night at the concentration
  • Causes problems in terms of image (especially for restaurants)

Many researchers and organizations have quantified these problems:

  • A quarter of all people experience tinnitus problems…
  • On average, it takes 20 minutes to regain concentration after an interruption due to noise.
  • Cognitive performance can drop by 66% when exposed to background noise.
  • 80% of consumers have already left a restaurant because of the noise.

Conclusion on acoustic comfort

In conclusion, it is advisable to call upon a professional to ensure the acoustic quality of a building or dwelling.

He will determine the acoustics of your building precisely. You will therefore have a better understanding of how and why your room behaves acoustically.

In the same way, if you are a professional, you should know that standards exist.