Your questions answered: Acoustic design for occupant well-being, health and productivity

During the September 9 webcast, attendees were introduced to inspiring case studies demonstrating the successful integration of sound masking solutions in real–life projects.

By Consulting-Specifying Engineer November 9, 2023
Image courtesy: Brett Sayles

Building designers and engineers will learn how sound masking can create comfortable, functional and aesthetically appealing spaces in various settings, such as offices, educational institutions, health care facilities and public spaces. The webinar commences with an overview of the connection between acoustics and wellbeing, emphasizing the significant influence of sound on human health, cognitive performance andoverall satisfaction. Examples of cuttingedge sound masking technologies and strategies will be shared, illustrating their potential to revolutionize the design and experience of modern spaces.

During the September 9, 2023, webcast, attendees were introduced to inspiring case studies demonstrating the successful integration of sound masking solutions in real-life projects. These examples showcased the adaptability and transformative power of sound masking in catering to diverse occupant needs and preferences while addressing common acoustic challenges.

Register for the on-demand version of the “Acoustic design for occupant well-being, health and productivity” webcast here.

Additional questions are answered by William Nattress, Director of Consultant Relations at Biamp.

Question: One other question about pressure waves. Think of the buffeting you hear when back window is down. I think air handling equipment sometimes does the same.

Answer: Yes, turbulence in ductwork does occur. This is an acoustics coordination effort between the HVAC design/install and the acoustician to rectify. An excellent example of building generated noise.

Question: Many worker use earphones with music etc. Are these distractions?

Answer: Actually no, they are indicators of environmental distractions though. Not uncommon to see fans running or the personal waterfalls on desks. All examples of sound masking or distraction avoidance.

Question: What is the difference between white noise and pink noise?

Answer: White noise is all frequencies at equal level. It is used as the source for a sound masking solution once processed through equalization to achieve the target curve. Pink noise is all frequencies but they decrease by 3dB at each octave. Pink noise sounds more natural to the human ear.

Question: Is there any evaluation/comparative data regarding the hexagonal ceiling treatment (e.g., objectives, before/after measurements, etc.)?

Answer: The case study with the hexagonal ceiling panels did not have any comparative measurements taken prior to installation of the panels. The acoustician was looking to provide absorption within the space and the interior designer looked to a visually appealing element to support it.

Question: Did you say consonants are heard better and high or low frequencies?

Answer: Consonants are audible in the higher frequencies of human speech.

Question: Are the sound emitter curves on revit/are they able to be modeled in revit or another modeling program?

Answer: BIM solutions have yet to generate active acoustical response data. This is only done in softare like EASE. All of Biamps products are available in BIM families that do have some active properties within to show coverage patterns.

Question: Any idea if these systems help with or add to tinnitus?

Answer: Studies do show that sound masking solutions do aid individuals that suffer from tinnitus. It works in much the same way as the sound masking signal is slightly louder than the tinnitus tones providing relief to some individuals when they are in very quiet environments.

Question: Looking for docs, books and white papers for a deep understanding of sound masking techniques?

Answer: Acoustical Society of America is an excellent resource for white papers and standards. The Well V2 also cites many reference articles.