By Butcher, Ken; Poebuck, Justin; Race, Gay Lawrence
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Airborne sound can also enter the room via a ventilation duct Airborne sound travels through the air via an open window or other route Figure 15: Airborne and structure-borne sound Sound travels through the structure as vibration The most effective and the most obvious way to reduce noise is to stop the noise at source; however this is often not feasible. Other ways to reduce noise depend on the method of sound transmission, as follows. Airborne noise reduction can be achieved by the use of mass to insulate from the noise, by stopping noise transmission routes, and by absorbing sound along a transfer route: — Mass: the greater the mass the larger the insulation provided as this effectively dampens the sound and stops it being transmitted.
People adapt to changed conditions in various ways, from involuntary mechanisms such as shivering or sweating to voluntary ones such as changing their activity or their clothing or closing a window blind. Obviously, in some situations such as at work, it is not always possible to take all potential actions to improve comfort due for example to constraints of work dress code or lack of control such as non-openable windows. The concept of adaptability, whilst very obvious to many, has only recently been included in comfort standards such as ASHRAE(6) and CIBSE(1).
Noise Noise can be defined simply as ‘unwanted sound’ Noise can affect people in different ways depending on its level, varying from simple annoyance to actual hearing damage. There are three main potential problems: — annoyance: where the noise is noticeable and can affect concentration — masking: where the noise effectively covers or masks another wanted sound, for example speech can become masked by road traffic or machinery noise causing interference to speech intelligibility — hearing damage: where the noise is loud enough to cause temporary or even permanent hearing damage.