Ewart A. Wetherill
Paoletti Assoc., Inc., 40 Gold St., San Francisco, CA 94133
A review of scientific and general writing on dwelling places confirms that disturbance of residents by both exterior and interior noises has been a major concern of urban living for more than 2000 years. Empirical experiments in reduction of intruding noise appear to have developed into traditional planning and building methods, such as separation of ``active'' from sleeping rooms and filling of floor joist cavities to enhance noise isolation. From a handful of references in the 19th century, the rate of publication of theoretical and experimental studies as well as nontechnical writing covering all aspects of acoustical intrusion increased dramatically in the early decades of the 20th century. These have led to international standardization of acceptability and measurement, and to regulation of acoustical performance in dwellings. Concurrent with this, however, the increase in types and locations of noise source---together with ways of reducing construction costs---have resulted in living environments in which both outdoor and neighbor noise may be worse than at any time in history.