Acoustic comfort is the environmental and psychological situation of an individual in an environment in terms of noise levels and other parameters that may be detrimental to concentration, communication, rest or health.
One of the factors that can deteriorate acoustic comfort in a room is reverberation. Reverberation is a mismatch in the time that a sound remains in the environment compared to ideal for correctly hearing and understanding a message. Technically, reverberation time is defined as the time it takes for a sound to fall by 60 dB after the source of the sound emission stops.
When reverberation time is very long, the sound level diminishes slowly, resulting in words and sounds overlapping. This results in muddled messages and fuzzy music. On the other hand, when the reverberation time is too short, both conversation and music lose quality and nuances.
Acoustic conditioning is the technique used to correct reverberation time in order to ensure the acoustic comfort of a room. This is done by incorporating sound-absorbent acoustic panels that control reverberation time and keep it at optimum levels for the room’s intended use. Optimum Reverberation Time (ORT) calculators are used to determine the level of reverberation that a room should have based on wall and ceiling materials, furniture and occupancy level.
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