Achieving Effective Acoustics in Hospitals – Block Noise and Cover Noise WITH Acoustical products and materials

Achieving Effective Acoustics in Hospitals – Block Noise and Cover Noise

Block Noise

Traditionally walls are used for blocking noise. While completely they will not prevent transfer of noise from a side to another, walls will lessen its volume when it passes through. The Sound Transmission Class (STC) rating of the wall denotes how well it lessens airborne noise. The rating of this must be “real-world” instead of lab-tested. The interior windows and doors STC rating must at least comply with the wall standard.

But, blocking includes more than walls since not only does noise travel via air; also it can pass via, over, around, and under obstructions, and through ways of penetrations. Structural elements, like ventilation ducts, should be properly located and treated for preventing cross-talk from one room to another. To the doors addition of sweeps or gasket material can be done based on the speech privacy level required while they are closed.

Also blocking of noise transmission can be done via a layout well-planned. Make sure machines (e.g. ice dispensers or medication) and areas of high-activity are alienated from areas needing quiet, like patient rooms.

Cover Noise

Majority of people know at least few factors of these initial two strategies and suppose they will attain the preferred levels of noise control and speech privacy if they just build “adequate” walls or provide “sufficient” absorption. This viewpoint is typically connected with the opinion that efficient acoustics can only be attained when in the space the general volume is low to the maximum extent possible.

But, similar to other ergonomic factors like temperature and lighting, actually there is a zone of comfort for the sound volume. This zone of comfort can be attained by regulating the noise floor. This is the level of constant background sound characterizing the space. If this floor is low it is easier to hear noises and conversations, also those that are comparatively less in volume or emerge at a significant distance from the hearer.

Providing a more consistent and higher baseline level of volume can effortlessly be attained by installing a system of sound-masking in the space. This is the least understood or known method of noise control, though extensively it has been used for decades, mainly in commercial offices.

A system of sound-masking comprises of loudspeakers in series, installed in a pattern like a grid over the ceiling, and a process of controlling their output and zoning. The sound distributed by the loudspeakers is unobtrusive and continuous, preserving the noise floor at a proper volume. When correctly implemented, it is very effective at concealing speech. Any noises lower than the masking sound level is also covered up. Besides, it lessens the impact of boisterous noises by decreasing the extent of change of volumes from baseline to peak.

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Smart homes that are smarter than ordinary homes!

After reading the title, you must have been wondering what a smart home is and how is it different from any ordinary home. Smart homes are homes where you can perform various tasks with just one touch of your finger. You know how smart phones are more than just a phone, in the case that they provide you with more features and services than a normal phone and even senses some of your actions to perform tasks. Interior of smart homes are designed to operate in a similar way. They are more than ordinary homes in the kind of services they provide the residents. There are also things a smart home can do on its own by analyzing activities of humans and surroundings.

The brains of any automated system are microprocessors. Microprocessors are processors that incorporates all the functions of CPU (Central Processing Unit) on a single or a few ICs (Integrated circuit). It can be programmed to perform multiple tasks according to the instructions received. Microprocessors were invented in 1970 and the first automated system was designed in 1975 but it weighed a lot. Due to rapid advancements in technology, light weight, high efficiency automation systems are available.

A simple example of an automated system is an air conditioner. We can set the temperature to a desired level and the air conditioner will work accordingly maintaining the temperature throughout the duration of its usage. Your home will have at least one of the common automated systems. The truth is, you were familiar with home automation even before clicking on this article but simply didn’t realize that it was automated to suit your needs.

In a smart home concept, terms such as “Home Automation”, “Internet of Things” and “Connected Devices” are used interchangeably but they are different from one another.

  • Home automation is where electrical devices of a home are connected to central unit that automates them based on input.

  • Internet of Things (IoT), connects devices to a network, thus enabling them to communicate with each other and carry out tasks without having to input data.

  • Connected devices that are connected to sensors and internet and are able to assume what a user needs and perform accordingly. They are ‘intelligent’ devices that are programmed first but later learns and adapts and eventually interact with the user.

When you combine these three, you get a smart home. In the modern world, smart homes can be controlled using a phone or a laptop. Home automated devices probably seem expensive at first, but the perks that come along with it are worth the money. An actual smart home will know who you are, what you want and act accordingly without you having to tell it.

Smart homes also help you save money in a way. HVAC systems and lightings may be connected to sensors and when you leave the room, they will turn off automatically. Imagine, while you are at work, you realized that you had left the garage door open or a light on, would you prefer to leave it like that, go back to your home to turn it off, or turn it off by simply clicking on your phone?

Despite the cost, it is the services that it offers that attracts consumers to smart homes. While interior designing your home, you can include sensors and other devices for home automation without affecting the interior aesthetics. While redecorating your home, you can add acoustic ceiling tiles or acoustic panels to cover up the wirings that drags down the appearance of your interiors.