Healing soundscape: hospital acoustics 2.0

Regular paper

Evert De Ruiter

Peutz bv

Wednesday 3 june, 2015, 14:00 - 14:20

0.6 Madrid (49)

In environmental noise control a more sophisticated approach has emerged in recent years: soundscape regards the complex sound environment, embracing positive sounds as well as annoyance. This approach is very well suited for use indoors too, for example in hospitals. Many sounds are annoying, disturbing, disquieting; literature abounds with alarming figures of high sound levels. But other sounds are pleasant, reassuring, relaxing, even necessary, like exchange of information between patients and staff. It is proposed not to focus too much on the physical -and psycho-acoustical- properties of the mix of audible sounds as such (spectrum, levels, time history, roughness, sharpness), but to take the information content of the composite sounds into consideration as well, and in particular their meaning to people, and their impact on them. This approach combines the properties of the building -sound production of HVAC, sound reduction of partitions, sound absorption of building elements- and the specific sound sources of the users, staff, visitors and patients. Many items of the total ‘choir’ of sound sources can be manipulated to some extent, thus enabling designers to enhance positive impacts and to reduce unwanted sounds. This will be illustrated for different types of hospital rooms.

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