Hospitality noise is becoming more and more of an issue for bar, restaurant, and venue owners and managers. Good acoustics have the result of making the space subconsciously much more pleasant to be in. If you find your self in the position of wanting to improve and address acoustic in you hospitality space, here’s three tips for you.
Gain full control over your speaker systems. If you can manage the noise levels from the speakers, be it from live or commercial music, you are most of the way there. Sometimes when we are called to investigate a noise issue in a premises, it is surprising that most staff and managers do not know how to operate the audio system, who operate a ‘turn it on and leave it’ approach to venue music. The audio system should be easy to use, equipped with full volume control. A selection of key staff should be fully trained in the use of the system, and in the event that things are getting too loud, the music levels can be controlled without hesitation. Visiting DJ’s/Bands should not be given free-reign over the audio system as they are unlikely to have a complete understanding of the premises, and the sensitivities of nearby commercial or residential properties.
Develop a noise policy. A noise policy specifies exactly how
the premises deals with noise levels, which might include a maximum decibel level or procedures to be followed in the event of a noise compliant. At the very least, a noise policy will have the effect of generating an awareness to noise amongst staff, and to demonstrate to the local authority that your business is fully intent on complying with statutory noise regulations.
Address the acoustics of the room. When a sound is generated in a room, it propagates outward from the source and eventually reaches the room boundaries such as walls or floors. Hard, reflective surfaces will reflect sound waves back into the room, while soft, absorptive finishes and furnishing will absorb much the incident sound wave. Multiple reflective surfaces can cause an uncomfortable buildup of sound within an enclosed space, which raises the background sound level to such an extent that normal conversation become difficult to comprehend. Reflections can also interfere with speech intelligibility, meaning some words get lost in translation. Above a level of 65 dB(A), people begin to speak in a raised voice, when everybody does this the background noise level in the room goes up, then everybody begins to speak louder, then suddenly nobody can hear the music so it gets turned up… pretty soon, a very loud and potentially dangerous sound field develops which is compounded by poor room acoustics. If unaddressed, this never ending cycle can result in everybody going home with a ‘ringing’ in their ears.
As we like to tell people, the acoustics of your premises does not have to be ‘bad’ in order to address it; improving the acoustics of your premises can allow you to gain significant commercial advantages by making it a better and safer place to work, and a more comfortable venue for customers.
iAcoustics have a wealth of experience in dealing with noise issues in the hospitality industry, and have developed noise policies for some of the country’s most well-known indoor & outdoor venues. We offer noise measurement services, including noise limit-setting & occupational noise exposure assessments, and can perform room acoustic modelling to determine what materials you need to control reverberation.
We also prepare Noise Impact Assessments in response to queries from the Planning Authority.
We would be more than happy to discuss, please contact email@example.com to get the ball rolling.