The importance of acoustics
Poor acoustics affect people’s health and well-being.
Ambient noise levels affect people’s health by increasing general stress levels. Continued exposure does not lead to habituation; in fact, the effects worsen (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health).
Sound pressure levels in health care have risen significantly and consistently since 1960 (Study by Busch-Vishniac et al, 2005). Especially night time noise pollution is one of the main complaints of patients in hospitals.
Classrooms in the United States typically have speech intelligibility ratings of 75% or less, meaning every fourth spoken word is not understood (Seep, Glosemeyer, Hulce, Linn, & Aytar, 2000).
Loud or reverberant classrooms may cause teachers to raise their voices, leading to increased teacher stress and fatigue (Tiesler & Oberdörster, 2008).
After surveying 65,000 people over the past decade in North America, Europe, Africa and Australia, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, report that more than half of office workers are dissatisfied with the level of “speech privacy”, making it the leading complaint in offices everywhere (NY Times, May 2012). There is a close relationship between occupational noise exposure and all-cause mortality with industrial workers (CORDIS study, Melamed et al., 1999).