Office Acoustics (05-09-18)

Acoustical issues complicate workplace design. Yadav and colleagues have learned that “international standard, ISO 3382-3[-based] solutions aren't always effective for the short conversational distances in open-plan offices . . . ‘The local acoustic treatment we've studied so far includes the use of high-back chairs -- with or without sound absorption near the head -- and 'retroreflective ceilings' that reflect sound back in the direction of the source, which allows you to hear your own voice reflected back to your ears much louder than is possible with flat or other types of hard ceiling surfaces or absorptive ceilings," Yadav [Manuj Yadav, a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Sydney] said. People tend to ‘simply put, lower their voices when they receive some support in the form of reflections from the room and nearby surfaces,’ Yadav said. . . . Yadav and colleagues have found that their local acoustic treatment ‘can, in many cases, provide substantial enhancement for speech communication at short distances and reduce the disturbance due to ambient noise when you're trying to concentrate.’”

“Can ‘Local Acoustic Treatment’ Reduce Speech Distraction Within Open-Plan Offices?”  2018.  Press release, Acoustical Society of America,