Noise Level in Indoor Sports Facilities and Factors Affecting the Acoustic Environment

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Sähkötekniikan korkeakoulu | Master's thesis
Acoustics and Audio Technology
Degree programme
CCIS - Master’s Programme in Computer, Communication and Information Sciences (TS2013)
Poor acoustic environments coupled with excessive noise levels in indoor sports facilities can lead to annoyance and miscommunication between occupants or can potentially cause negative long-term effects on auditory health. In this thesis, 18 sports halls across 14 different facilities in the Helsinki metro area were measured with respect to three acoustic parameters (reverberation time, Speech Transmission Index (STI), and weighted noise level) in order to determine the quality of their respective acoustic environments, and whether adherence to current regulation was maintained. The work is part of the broader LIIKU project, which investigates the indoor air environment in the selected facilities. Regulations currently use reverberation time almost exclusively as the parameter determining the quality of an acoustic environment. Measurements were split into empty room impulse response measurements and occupied room noise level measurements. Procedures were kept as similar as possible to minimize the amount of variables affecting results. The results showed that less than half of the halls meet current regulation limit values. However, certain halls that do not meet limits exhibit better STI results that some halls that do, indicating potentially acceptable acoustic environments. Noise level measurements were heavily affected by the Covid-19 pandemic due to restrictions on the capacity of indoor facilities. These results are therefore not representative of an everyday situation. Current Finnish regulations have been shown to not be adequate in determining a good acoustic environment, as reverberation time is not the sole factor. STI should be also included in new regulations, multiple sets of limit values should be established to account for the wide variety of sports hall types, and steps should be taken to improve the acoustic qualities of the halls that vastly exceed the limit values.
Salonen, Heidi
Thesis advisor
Lokki, Tapio
acoustics, noise, reverberation, indoor environment quality, acoustic quality, STI
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