Question about acceptable noise/vibration levels in workplace (Daniel Levitin )

Subject: Question about acceptable noise/vibration levels in workplace
From:    Daniel Levitin  <levitin(at)CCRMA.STANFORD.EDU>
Date:    Fri, 23 Jun 2006 04:05:43 -0700

Dear list, Al Bregman and I are experiencing problems with vibration and noise in our building at McGill. The problems have arisen gradually, and appear to be the result of damaged damping and isolating systems on ventilation machinery that is on the floor directly above our workspaces. We have been asked to supply our Facilities maintenance people with exact figures on what we consider acceptable levels based on "industry norms" and "standard practice." We took the following readings with a hand-held, relatively inexpensive decibel meter: Location A-weighting B-weighting C-weighting Bregman's office 52 62 74 Bregman's lab 51 62 70 Levitin's office 46 57 68 Subjectively, these workspaces seem to us to be too loud for comfort. In comparison, a room that seems more comfortable, our department mail room, reads as follows: Psych dept mail room < 40 48 60 In addition to this measurable (and audible) noise, there is a serious vibration problem that we are not capturing on our decibel meter, I suspect because the small diaphragm size of the microphone on the meter doesn't accurately capture low frequencies. But a 6 oz. glass of water on my desk shows the vibration with "waves" inside the glass with an oscillatory frequency of roughly 25 Hz. Naturally, we can tolerate slightly more noise and vibration in our offices than in the lab where we do experiments and prepare stimuli for psychoacoustic experiments. Can anyone provide data (and a citation) on industry standards for noise and vibration in a typical office space and a typical acoustical lab? Would any of you be willing to take measurements in your offices and labs and let us know what they are as a first step toward understanding what is reasonable and normal? Thank you very much, Dan levitin ========================================== Daniel J. Levitin Phone: (514) 398-8263 Assistant Professor FAX: (514) 398-4896 Department of Psychology Associate Member of the Faculty of Music Mailing Address: McGill University Stewart Biology Building 1205 Ave. Dr. Penfield Montreal, PQ H3A 1B1 CANADA email: levitin(at) ==========================================

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