Acoustical Consultants are crucial contributors to the development and design of the world we live in. They work across a wide range of fields: from the construction of restaurants, and entertainment venues like cinemas to hospitals, schools, homes, offices, and many other developments.
These experts also play an important role in the design of road networks and airports. But, their skills are not only needed to analyse and regulate sound levels; they’re also crucial for engineering quality sound in music venues and concert halls.
Why Do We Need to Regulate Sound?
It’s widely known that exposure to extremely loud noise can have a negative impact on hearing. However, prolonged exposure to extremely loud noise either at home or in the workplace can affect your overall well-being and health.
How is Hearing Affected?
Loud noise can damage or destroy the sensory cells deep inside the ear. This part of the ear, which is commonly referred to as the cochlea, is crucial for transforming sound vibrations into electric signals that are sent to the auditory cortex.
When the sensory cells of the cochlea become destroyed or damaged, it affects hearing, resulting in hearing loss and tinnitus. Hearing loss is an irreversible condition, so it’s important to limit your exposure to dangerous levels of noise as much as possible.
Hearing damage can occur at any age, and prolonged exposure at lower decibels can be as harmful as a sudden burst of loud noise. Research shows that exposure to sound levels of 85 dB (noisy train passing nearby, for instance) for an average of 8 hours every day is equivalent to a 15-minute blast of noise at 100 dB (loud motorcycle nearby or a jet flying overhead, for instance). As we get older, this cumulative damage can cause a gradual loss of hearing, which means that you won’t realize how much you have been affected until many years have passed.
The Effect on Mental Well-being and Health
It’s not only your hearing that is affected by exposure to unwanted and loud noise levels. Prolonged exposure to noise can also cause a wide range of mental and physical health issues. These include a poor immune system, stroke, cardiovascular disease, and coronary heart disease. Stress and sleep interruption can also cause a lot of psychological and mental problems. In fact, noise pollution is considered the second, (after air pollution) most polluting factor in the world. This shows the severe consequences excessive noise has on people.
This is especially the case when it comes to noise in the workplace. It is estimated that over 2 million people in the U.K. are exposed to dangerous levels of noise. It’s therefore important to optimize and control the auditory landscape that we work and live in, and this is where the services of an Acoustic Consultant come in.
What is the Work of an Acoustic Consultant?
Basically, acoustic experts specialize in the field of engineering that deals with vibrations and sound. Auricl, acoustic consultants control, analyse, and assess sound levels, making sure they remain compliant with stipulated guidelines and regulations.
This legislation imposes specific rules for employers – when they need to do a risk evaluation and at what point (sound levels) do they need to do something to prevent noise pollution? Staying compliant with noise regulations is paramount for many companies, especially in the construction business.
The Work of an Acoustic Consultant
Acoustic consultants analyse, quantify and measure sound. Their job entails:
- Collecting data using advanced equipment to capture sound levels
- Identifying the source of noise
- Knowing government and local guidelines regarding regulatory codes, permits, and noise pollution
- Understanding how environmental factors affect sound levels