Noise Monitoring (part 2)
Environmental noise collection, background noise and also conversations among many other activities may affect the intelligibility of the process of sound measurement (Bodin et. al., 2012). This is usually common especially when the background noise level is within a close range with the level of the noise source of interest.
Noise propagation through the air is complex and hence it is very difficult to model accurately. The general feature well known about sound is that it moves. This means that the source is continually in movement and hence noise movement itself is very difficult to predict (Bodin et. al., 2012). The noise levels are always varying. For example, noise levels may increase gradually as a student approaches, and decrease gradually after he has passed.
How can the hidden majority of people who do not participate in local organizations but have the urge to use such technology for their personal purposes be motivated to go public? In this context whereby noise pollution is eminent, the best way to go about it is to not put pressure on them, but instead allow the users to choose whether they want to share their measurement or not. The simplicity, affordability and also the benefits it has to the environment will motivate the users to make use of the data collecting system.
Another important challenge faced when designing the sensing application for the mobile phone was the power consumption. It resulted to more power usage than usual. The application also covered a lot of memory space. This application requires enough storage for the data logging and this may be a challenge since the mobile phones are also expected to have space for the storage of other materials.
To help reduce the effects of noise pollution to the environment, it is important that some steps be taken. First of all, the noise needs to be reduced in hospitals since these people have already been affected by the noise to the point that their health has deteriorated (Bodin et. al., 2012). All the sources of noise in the hospital need to be changed and replaced with more quiet equipment. The overhead staff paging systems needs to be replaced with wireless headsets. The latter features a light, and more effective equipment, which will not be tiresome to wear. It will also result to a more quiet and comfortable environment for patients as they will not be awoken by the sudden noise from overhead paging systems. The frequency and intensity of medical alarms need to be reduced and avoided as much as possible. Although these alarms are important as they alert the medical staff of an incoming emergency, it is also essential that the patients are not disturbed at the expense of this.
The hospital should install ambient white noise machines to help improve the environment. For the case of those sounds which cannot be avoided, the rooms of admitted patients should be fixed with sound absorbing tiles and carpets to help reduce the noise to as little as possible (Bodin et. al., 2012). The lights need to be dimmed in the evening as opposed to living them on all day and night. The patients may also be given a few hours of sleep and rest by designating specific hours during which there will be no routine checks unless in the few cases where it is necessary. The patients should also be provided with their own “quiet kit” which should include sleep masks, earplugs and also crossword puzzles.
The hospital staff needs to be asked to talk quietly so as to avoid causing disturbance for the recuperating patients. The patients who are capable of moving around can be given the advantage of placing “Do Not Disturb” posters outside their doors when they close them to get some rest. The hospitals should also consider installing noise monitors which will enable the staff to know when the noise is too much. Television sets are a common thing in most hospitals. They also result to too much disturbing noise for patients. Therefore, they need to be controlled such that only soothing sounds and images are shown. The hospitals should also hire professionals who will help them develop strategies to help reduce noise.
The noise in school environments also need to be reduced. This can be done by reducing the number of students in each class. The fewer the number of students the less the noise produced. Applying the use of classroom acoustics as well as classroom design and layout will enable the students to understand better the lessons being tutored as it will discourage distractions (Bodin et. al., 2012). By adding acoustical wall panels and acoustical ceiling tiles in the classrooms, the management will be able to break the monotony by creating an acoustic environment for learning.
Proposed standards for general classroom acoustics are being developed. The work group of Acoustical Society of America (ASA), in conjunction with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), has recommended that all classrooms need not have a noise exceeding 35 decibels (Bodin et. al., 2012). Most of the American classrooms today can feature noise of up to 50 decibels. This is not good since for effective communication to take place, the speech needs to be 15 decibels higher than the background noise. The same group also recommends that the reverberation time should not exceed 0.6 seconds (Bodin et. al., 2012).
Another environment well known for being noisy is the cafeteria. An internet search on “cafeteria noise” will result to over 200 entries while search on “quiet cafeteria” results to around 40 (Bodin et. al., 2012). This difference shows that the cafeteria is indeed known for being noisy. The school cafeterias are the noisiest of them all. Most Parent Teacher Associations (PTA’s) and others seek the help of acoustical consultants for this problem. Some of the school cafeterias even exceed the OSHA noise level of 85 dBA and hence the cafeteria begins the accumulation of the noise dose.
Have you at one time noticed how loud your car radio was only after you stop driving on the high way? Or have you ever realized how relieving it feels once the air conditioner shuts down? This is because mostly, background noise is not noticed, however it is still responsible for what we are able to hear and understand. Background noise is always critical whenever someone wants to rest or listen and understand what someone else is saying. During a lecture session or sermon, any audible sound not made by the speaker is called noise. During a performance, any other sound becomes noise. There are many aspects to excellent acoustical design, however in any area where listening is the main intention, the strict control of noise is rather fundamental (Bodin et. al., 2012). These areas can be called “critical listening spaces”.
The office is also another one of the many places affected by noise. The office needs to be a quiet environment so that employees are not affected by the noise. Noise may lower their productivity and hence the firm may not yield high results. To help reduce this noise, it is essential that the office be built by sound absorbing materials so that any noise heard from the streets or from traffic may not be so high within the office. The office equipment used is also a major cause of office noise. The typing noise from a desk mate may be so annoying. Such may be reduced with the help of rubber mats being used under the computer, printer and typewriter. The rubber mat will absorb this noise.
High ceilings often result to a lot of echoing within a room. This magnifies the noise being experienced. The best way to go about this is by lowering the ceilings to a reasonable height. The ventilation systems fixed in offices should be a type which does not produce sounds when functioning. The mounting of anti-vibration machines is also important as this will avoid the noise experienced from vibrating objects. If an individual needs a private office, it needs to be small so as to reduce the surface area for echoing. The public offices need to feature enclosed workrooms which will in turn protect other workers from noise caused by specific individuals.
Homes may also be exposed to a lot noise. Since these are the areas where individuals go to when they retire for the day, it is essential that the environment becomes quiet and peaceful enough to encourage good sleep. Therefore, to ensure that the home is not noisy, buy a home which is in an environment that is noise free. The house should be far from public roads and airports since these are the main sources of noise pollution (Bodin et al., 2012). Whenever there is a construction in the residential area, a noise control program and mitigation strategy must be implemented so as to protect the people residing in the area nearby. This should include a clear establishment of lot-line and equipment emission noise criteria limits just so they cannot go beyond the expected. It should define operational and equipment restrictions. The submission of a suitable acoustical engineer is required as these professional will help in the creation of a strategy which will help reduce the amount of noise produced. They will help in the creation of noise control and monitoring plans. The services also feature the collection of baseline and compliance noise data which may be used to better describe the situation. It will also guarantee the submission of an equipment noise certification test and design of noise mitigation processes.
The professional may also perform special noise studies along with project change impact analyses. Examples of these may include; evaluating the consequences of noise with the help of measurements and predictive modeling. They may be willing to shut down any mitigating noisy work at night including the use of urban equipment for construction and also vacuum cleaners and washing machines.
The NFC technology should be used in future to automatically identify the location of data collected by any passing mobile. Near Field Communication (NFC), features a group of standards for smart phones, as well as other devices in the similar category, which establish radio communication with between itself and the devices through touching them together. It may also function by bringing them into close proximity of not more than just a few inches. Hence, the NoiseSpy Application can be improved by including the NFC technology. It will be the future work and will be included by placing chips on the areas whereby the noise will be recorded from. Its application will thereafter be activated on the mobile device. With this in place, the mobile device will be activated once it passes within range, and the place (room or building type) will be identified from the data base.
Noise can be disturbing to anyone who does not need to hear it. This is why the above recommendations need to be considered so as to help make the environment a better place to reside in since the health and comfort of many will not be compromised.
Bodin, T., Björk, J., Öhrström, E., Ardö, J., & Albin, M. (2012). Survey context and question wording affects self-reported annoyance due to road traffic noise: a comparison between two cross-sectional studies. Environmental Health: A Global Access Science Source, 11(1), 1-9.