Musical vibrations can be emotionally uplifting, but similar sound waves have been used as an instrument of torture. Noises that are considered acceptable to some people may totally overwhelm others, but nearly all listeners agree that excess reverberation, distortion, and other common acoustic issues should not exist inside a finished building. Acoustical consultants in New Orleans use science in combination with experience to solve these common problems.
It takes more than a discriminating ear to become a consultant. Most have completed graduate work in acoustics, physics, engineering, or related study areas. They know how to operate sound and vibration measuring equipment, and are familiar with software used for digital sound analysis. They use these tools to gauge the strength and discover the sources of unwanted vibrations, and many have several years of related experience.
While churches and schools provide many opportunities for sound consulting, technicians are not limited to those venues. They also work closely with all groups involved in new construction efforts, including contractors, builders, architects and designers, and municipal officials. Although their job is primarily concerned with solving acoustical issues before they become costly and annoying, each project provides unique challenges.
New construction provides an opportunity to eliminate many issues before they become built-in drawbacks. Consultants work with building creators to ensure that rooms are shaped properly for audiences, that construction methods employ sound-absorption materials when needed, and that acoustic-friendly wall and floor finishes are installed when needed. Sound-pattern testing can be performed in existing buildings, or simulated by software.
Indoor reverberation and reflection can be mapped to show where room modifications are needed. In many older, larger buildings, internal noises generated by machinery is a serious problem, and can prove stressful for workers. Consulting technicians analyze the direction and source of the reflections, and can provide both internal and external solutions based on accurate digital information rather than guesswork.
Acoustic distortion and disturbance involve factors other than building size or shape. Most people learn to ignore the constant roar of engines and tires on nearby freeways, or tune out the roar and vibrations of jets taking off and landing, creating decibel levels that become dangerously high. Even loud urban club music can make life miserable for nearby residents. Consultants accurately measure those levels, create an impact report, and make recommendations for mitigation.
In older manufacturing facilities, machine noise can reach the pain threshold. Acoustical experts gauge the impact of that noise on nearby workers, and provide solutions that may include baffles or interior enclosures. In some buildings, the heating and air conditioning not only provides comfort, but is the source of thumps, groans, whooshing noises and roaring. Consultants help isolate the sound sources, and recommend solutions.
While a great deal of consulting work stems from problems common to schools or churches, consultants are also hired to provide forensic analysis of sound patterns pertinent in an ongoing trial, or to provide expert testimony. They can provide an accurate analysis of construction noise that may become the focus of legal action, and are even able to predict how much random noise a future project may generate.
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Author: Jocelyn DavidsonThis author has published 349 articles so far.