University of Edinburgh

Improving the Listening Environment for Deaf Children in Educational Settings

Presented on Tuesday 13 May 2010

Dr Laurent Galbrun
School of the Built Environment
Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh

Workshop 4 Measuring sound pressure levels

The aim of this workshop is to show delegates how to measure sound pressure level,
calibrate instruments, use the equipment and get a feel of the relation between noise and sound pressure levels measured. Delegates will also verify that adding two similar noise levels together increases the total noise level by 3 dB.

Using the equipment provided and following the guidance of the tutor, delegates will
calibrate the sound level meters and learn how to use them to carry out simple
measurements. They will then take the sound level meters and measure typical noise levels such as: conversation, background noise in classrooms, busy corridor, traffic noise etc. (use Table 4.1).

Measurements will be carried out in dBA.

Delegates will also measure the effect of combining noise levels. A volunteer is asked to talk continuously at a normal voice level which is then measured. A second volunteer is then asked to talk continuously and his/her voice level is measured. Finally, these two participants speak simultaneously and the total sound pressure level is measured. If the individual levels measured were similar, this should give an increase in 3 dB in the sound pressure level.

Table 4.1 Sound pressure levels measured for a variety of sound sources.

Sound source (event)
Sound Pressure Level