Plenary Lecture: The Acoustics of Places for Social Gatherings
Wednesday 3 june, 2015, 12:00 - 12:50
Auditorium 2 (592)
A well-known but also very complicated problem in room acoustics is the ambient noise when many people are gathered for a reception or in a restaurant, a bar, a canteen or a similar place. In such social gatherings people want to speak with each other, but for the same reason the place can be very noisy, and verbal communication can be difficult or even impossible, especially for people with reduced hearing capacity. A general observation says that the noise depends on at least the following parameters; the volume, the reverberation time, the number of people, and the type gathering. Other parameters to consider include background music, and consumption of alcohol. The talk will give an overview of the problem and cover the following parts: - Vocal effort and speech spectrum as a function of the ambient noise. A statistical prediction model that includes the Lombard effect. - Verbal communication in a noisy environment and introduction of the concept ‘Acoustic Capacity’ in order to avoid insufficient quality of verbal communication. - The influence of noise level on the consumption of alcohol and on the taste of food. - The influence of background music on the quality of verbal communication and a suggested maximum limit of background music in restaurants. - How to estimate the average noise level from speech and the acoustic capacity in complicated environments like coupled volumes by using dynamic sound sources in room acoustic simulation tools. The new concept, the acoustic capacity of a room, has proven to be well understood by architects and other non-acousticians – much better than the reverberation time or the sound pressure level. However, in order to avoid poor acoustics in restaurants and similar places, it is necessary to design with bigger volume and more absorption material than usual in current practice.
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