It’s easy to overlook how much acoustics impacts a control room, and more importantly the operators within it. Not only is it distracting and the potential cause of miscommunication, but ambient noise over a long period can lead to decreased operator health, headaches, and noise complaints. Here are three ways to mitigate these harmful, but often necessary control room sounds…
Know Thy Space
Learning how sound behaves with your operations center will help determine if you need room acoustic controls put in place. Is your room larger than most? Do you have high ceilings? Do you rely on video/audio communication, and often have human chatter? Do your operators often have to talk loudly over equipment to communicate with others? Do operators monitor an audible alarms or radio channels? These are all important questions to ask yourself to determine the control room acoustic solutions you may need.
The Right Stuff
Proper room acoustics mitigate any sound distractions, ensuring your operators are more productive and healthier. Different items, materials, and textures can all affect how sound works and bounces throughout a space. Any flat, uniform surface can reflect sound, so ensuring the walls, ceiling, and floors are constructed from or covered in diffusing materials like carpet, foam or acoustic panels can prevent reflected and bounced audio.
Controlling the Sounds
While control rooms have many necessary sounds, from alarms to operators discussing current conditions, the ability to control them is paramount to ensuring a healthy environment. In the industry, items called “diffusers” spread out the frequencies of sound disrupting sound paths. They are placed strategically around the room to be effective. Sound showers can also be used to isolate and direct sounds to their sole recipient without adding to the overall noise of the environment.