Noise is a subject that pervades most of the human existence and in no small way affects the quality of our lives and health. Under the normal definitions noise is “unwanted sound”. However it can simply be seen as “what your neighbour makes”. This for the last 30 years this has been a profession that I have been delighted to be part of and to assist clients in solving noise problems. These range from high mechanical plant noise, noise from waste pipes, floor impact noise in high rise buildings to speech intelligibility in large volume spaces and even noise in aircraft and marine vessels. In this process, I have observed how the human response to noise is a wide bell shaped curve. One person’s noise can be another person’s music. Some people will be acutely aware of a noise that another person simple does not hear.
Throughout my career, my work has regularly taken me into different cultures where I have been able to observe how the human responses to noise can also be assessed through levels of poverty. Generally, areas living in poverty will not complain about noise and but push instead for clean water, clean air and food. Noise is one of the last considerations in the improvement of societies.
The areas were we have found a requirement for low noise and good acoustics has been in developed countries and in buildings where the quality of sound is important (theatres, opera houses, cinemas, recording and TV studios). This work has been the focus of our professional services and an area where we have developed a high level of experience and expertise.Download PDF