Bild and colleagues studied responses to soundscapes in public spaces. They determined via data collected in Amsterdam that “solitary and socially interactive respondents [people in the public spaces investigated] evaluate their soundscapes differently. . . . The sounds of people were considered as the main source of both disruption and stimulation for both groups; while conversations and the sounds of others in general were referred to as stimulating, loud conversations and children crying were disrupting.
Zalejska-Jonsson investigated people’s acoustic experiences in their homes. She found that “experiencing noise from neighbours occurred relatively seldom; however, this factor has the strongest effect on satisfaction with acoustic quality.” Data were collected in multistory residential buildings.
Agnieszka Zalejska-Jonsson. 2019. “Perceived Acoustic Quality and Effect on Occupants’ Satisfaction in Green and Conventional Residential Buildings.” Buildings, vol. 9, no. 1, https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings9010024
Adhering to guidelines no guarantee of higher satisfaction
Managing background noise also vital
McDougall and colleagues investigated the best sorts of sounds to use as medical alarms. They conducted “two experiments, with nonclinical participants, alarm sets which relied on similarities to environmental sounds (concrete alarms, such as a heartbeat sound to indicate ‘check cardiovascular function’) were compared to alarms using abstract tones to represent functions on medical devices. The extent to which alarms were acoustically diverse was also examined: alarm sets were either acoustically different or acoustically similar within each set. . . .
A research team lead by Legendre found that we process significant amounts of sensory information while asleep, which has implications for the design of a range of spaces, from homes to healthcare facilities. The investigators report that “the sleeping brain continues generating neural responses to external events, revealing the preservation of cognitive processes ranging from the recognition of familiar stimuli to the formation of new memory representations.Why would sleepers continue processing external events and yet remain unresponsive?
Graziose and colleagues investigated how sound levels influence food consumed and their findings have implications, generally, for situations when designers want to encourage certain behaviors, particularly by children. The researchers report that “A digital photography method was used to assess FV [fruit and vegetable] consumption among [second and third grade] students across 40 days from 20 schools and environmental exposures, including the noise or sound pressure level of the cafeteria, were assessed during lunch. . . . .
Researchers at Boston University have developed a new system for soundproofing spaces. A press release from Boston University reports that Zhang, Ghaffarivardavagh, Anderson, and Nikolajczyk determined that “Although noise-mitigating barricades, called sound baffles, can help drown out the whoosh of rush hour traffic or contain the symphony of music within concert hall walls, they are a clunky approach not well suited to situations where airflow is also critical. . . .
Neuroscientists have evaluated the repercussions—cognitive and physical—of the sounds we hear. T
Soundscaping that enhances cognitive performance