According to diners, noise is the second most reported problem in restaurants
The importance of acoustics in the built environment was underscored at the Smart Building Summit, a key vertical of Light + Intelligent Building Middle East, with restaurants, the office environment, schools, and residential property all being significantly impacted due to poor acoustics, resulting in disturbed sleep, adverse cardiovascular and psychophysiological effects, reduced performance and increased irritation and changes in social behaviour.
According to insights from WSP during the Acoustic Comfort and Noise Reduction session, noise is the second most reported problem cited by diners in restaurants, behind poor service. In the office environment, it takes 15 minutes to regain concentration after being distracted from a complex task by unwanted noise. From an education perspective, 80% of teachers reported vocal strain, with the issue being compounded when trying to overcome poor acoustics.
In the home, the insights revealed children who lived on the lower floor of an apartment complex, which exposed them to nearby traffic noise, had poorer reading scores than children living in the same complex but on higher floors.
Ali Aurangzeb, Principal Consultant at WSP Middle East, said: “By leveraging technology in smart buildings, we can address many of these problems. Sound masking, for example, is essentially the introduction of sound in a space to mask disruptive noise. This is not just white noise being played out of speakers. The spectrum is shaped in a way that focuses on human speech frequencies. What this does is, when walking into an extremely quiet office space for example, a small amount of background noise is added to raise the noise floor.
“This, in turn, creates a level of speech privacy and a level of noise in the background so you don’t feel like you have to whisper in the office. This can also be used in banks, libraries, and other spaces where privacy is required.”
In addition to sound masking, other technologies utilised to create good acoustics include soundscapes, where a sound or combination of sounds that form or arise from a surrounding environment. These can be used as an effective tool to induce a certain mood in a space for an immersive experience, while also masking unwanted noise in a space, such as a lobby, gallery or exhibition space.
Active Room Acoustics can vary the reverberation time of a space by introducing sound reflections back into the space. This is particularly pertinent in spaces which are flexible in their use, such as Dubai Opera.
“Design philosophy should not be limited to the look of certain things; we also need to design for our ears”, concluded Aurangzeb.
Thursday, 18 January, marks the final day of the 2024 edition of Light + Intelligent Building Middle East, with the concluding sessions taking place across the Thinklight conference, InSpotLight and the Smart Building Summit. The Summit also hosted an exclusive workshop by KNX on smart home and building solutions.
Last Updated on 1 month by Middle East News 247