Environmental Noise Monitoring
Environmental noise is a major issue in most countries, especially in heavily populated or industrialised areas. Its sources and adverse effects on our wellbeing are varied and can range from sleep disturbances to increased stress levels, potentially leading to more major problems such as heart disease. In order for environmental noise monitoring to be effective you will, therefore, need to take into account a number of diverse issues by monitoring noise levels for longer periods and in a variety of different ways.
Industrial noise monitoring, for example, is a much more exact science as it involves the assessment of specific noise levels and the decision as to corresponding legislative and/or action levels. Environmental noise is very different because the level of annoyance or nuisance can be highly subjective and will elicit diverse reactions from different people.
Typical sources of environmental noise include:
- Industrial sites
- Power stations
- Construction work
- Road traffic
- Animals (e.g. dogs barking)
- Aircraft noise
- Entertainment venues
Environmental noise can also have a range of characteristics:
- Extraction fans, compressors etc.
- Road traffic
- Industrial processes
- Industrial processes
Broadband noise (that which has a fairly even tone content and is generally less annoying)
Tonal noise (that which has dominant tone(s), which can be very annoying):
- ‘Whining’ machinery
- Low frequency noise that causes vibration within surrounding buildings etc.
- Wind turbines
Types of Environmental Noise Monitoring
1. Basic noise level checks or ‘spot checks’
Often you need to make quick decisions and understand if there are likely to be any environmental noise issues. The Pulsar Model 14 is a cost effective, compact and intuitive digital noise meter that can be easily transported, allowing you to make a quick judgement regarding noise levels. This is particularly useful in cases where a more expensive instrument would be too cumbersome and prone to the risk of damage or misuse. Models 41 and 42 from the Pulsar Nova range are also ideal for performing basic noise level assessments.
The Model 14 is supplied with a carrying pouch, shoulder strap and windshield as standard to protect the microphone capsule. It has two selectable ranges to allow you to switch between industrial and environmental noise monitoring quickly and easily. The instrument is compliant with IEC 61672 and can be supplied with an acoustic calibrator so that you can verify your measurements, as is required by the noise regulations.
2. Single but more detailed measurements
Environmental noise monitoring requirements and legislation vary based on your country, locality and specific circumstances.
Often, a hand-held integrating averaging sound level meter such as the Pulsar Nova Model 45 (Class 1) or 46 (class 2) is mounted on a tripod at a boundary position and, for example, a 15-minute measurement taken. It is usually necessary to make a series of similar, fixed-duration environmental noise measurements and store these into the instrument’s memory for subsequent analysis. The Pulsar Model 33 Real Time Analyzer is ideal for this. The usual stored information may consist of the ‘A’ Weighted Leq, LN values, SPL values and perhaps 1:3 Octave Band information for tonal analysis.
3. Longer term environmental noise monitoring programmes
Sometimes there is a need to carry out environmental noise monitoring on an ongoing basis. This involves taking measurements over a longer period of time and sub-dividing these by shorter measurement durations such as 5 minutes, 15 minutes or an hour. You can then look at, for example, a 24 hour period and find the average, background and maximum noise levels for every 15 minute period throughout the day. This gives us a much clearer picture of environmental noise patterns and how they can be controlled to minimise their impact on the wider community.
Pulsar has a number of instruments that are suitable for this use such as the Nova premium sound level meters 45 and 46 or Models 95 (Class 1) and 96 (Class 2) from the Quantifier range, which feature 1:1 & 1:3 octave band filters.
Often, lower noise limits will be set during the late evening and night time to account for the extra impact of any noise. Pulsar Nova Models 45 and 46 both have a removable preamp, which allows them to be used in conjunction with microphone extension cables. These outdoor measurement kits transform the Nova sound meters into a long term, outdoor environmental noise monitoring system that can be set to carry out measurements overnight.
There are many engineering solutions available to reduce environmental noise levels, and by performing a 1:3 Octave Band Analysis before and after this work, you can determine and report the effectiveness of such improvements. Our Quantifier range of sound level meters is ideal for this purpose.
Our Model 33 Real Time Analyzer is a high performance, yet user-friendly instrument. They are ideal for short-term or long term measurement of environmental noise measuring.