What is environmental sound, and how can it be measured?
From the buzz of industrial facilities to the roar of rooftop mechanical equipment, to the hum of nearby roadway or airport traffic, excessive noise is increasingly being considered an environmental pollutant. It can severely impact the health and well-being of both humans and animals. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA), continued exposure to noise levels above 85dB(adjusted) can result in hearing loss. Workplace noise can interfere with communication, resulting in accidents as well as contribute to reduced productivity.
Noise Pollution (sometimes called ambient noise) is the background sound pressure level at a given location relative to an established reference level before the offending noise source was introduced. Unlike other pollutants, Noise pollution must be measured at the moment at which it occurs, since it leaves no residue or characteristics.
Environmental noise testing specialists provide long and short term measurements using sophisticated sound level meters that record day and night sound conditions. They then analyze the data based on context, expectations, and circumstances and provide expert-level noise reduction recommendations based on federal or state-required environmental impact studies (EIS).
Situations which often require Noise Level testing and assessment include:
- Noise impact studies in planning new or existing highways, housing developments, commercial developments, industrial plants, construction sites, and airports.
- Workplace hearing, conservation, and noise control programs.
- Investigating ground and structure-borne vibration assessments, including HVAC vibration noise.
- Short and long-term environmental noise monitoring.
- Environmental acoustics, including the design of noise barriers and noise enclosures.