A Look at Some Essential Terms Related to Sound Testing: What You Should Know


Everyone involved in the building and construction industry and almost everyone who has undertaken a building and construction project of their own will have heard of sound testing, which is also known as acoustic testing, soundproof testing, or sound insulation testing. The importance and relevance of such a test can’t be denied as it ensures that you follow building regulations set forth for England, Wales, and Scotland in your building project, and when the building undergoes the test and passes it, then you can proceed with your construction project without having to worry about compliance. But sound testing is a highly technical procedure and, as such, it comes with some terms which the average layman may not be entirely familiar with. Here’s a look at some important terms related to sound testing: what you should know.

As you may already know, sound can be easily transmitted through floors and walls by mere vibration. The vibration created can then generate or create sound waves with a decreased intensity in an adjacent area. The sound passing from one room or area to another area or room within the same structure or building is called sound transmission.

The Sound Reduction Index or Transmission loss, also called R dB, is the measurement of how effective a floor, wall, door, and other barriers can be when it comes to restricting sound passage. The transmission loss will vary depending on frequency, and the loss can also be greater when it is at a higher frequency. The unit of measurement for sound transmission loss is referred to as the dB or decibel. The higher a wall’s transmission loss, the better its barrier function to the passage of unwelcome noise.

There are also two kinds of sound insulation in a structure: impact and airborne.

  • Airborne sound testing

Airborne sound testing is done as part of an acoustic testing procedure to test the sound that is being transmitted or transferred through the air, mostly from conversations between individuals – in other words, through speech that travels through the air. The test is done with the use of a special omnidirectional speaker in a room that produces a high level of sound. This speaker is built to radiate the sound through all directions in a uniform manner, which then allows the testing personnel to achieve the proper measurements of insulation as well as reverberation time in the area.

  • Impact sound testing

Impact sound testing is done for flooring, and it tests the impact of sounds such as footsteps between two areas. The impact sound test is built and developed to test the effects of different kinds of impact on the floor. With this test, the experts make use of a calibrated tapping machine, and the machine is set up on the floor of an upper-storey room. The level of sound pressure is then recorded in the ‘receiver’ room or area, which is right below the flooring of the original room.

The compliance experts who do the testing for your building and construction project should be using British Standards when performing their tests, as the standard will properly identify their testing method and ensure that you are in compliance as well.

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