Application of a prediction model for ambient noise levels and acoustical capacity for living rooms in nursing homes hosting older people with dementia

Paul Devos, Francesco Aletta, Pieter Thomas, Tara Vander Mynsbrugge, Mirko Petrovic, Dominique Van de Velde, Patricia De Vriendt, Dick Botteldooren

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Acoustic comfort is becoming an increasingly important dimension for practitioners in the context of design of care facilities for older adults, namely nursing homes. Defining the quality of these spaces based on room acoustics criteria alone might be challenging if aspects related to their functioning (e.g., speech-based activities) are not taken into account. The acoustical capacity concept has been previously proposed for eating establishments as a way to provide a quality assessment based on both physical characteristics of the space and the perceived quality of verbal communication. In this study, a revised version of a prediction model for ambient noise levels based on occupancy and an estimation of acoustical capacity are proposed for nursing homes hosting people with dementia, and the corresponding parameters of slope, group size and absorption per person are optimized for the specific application, using a Nursing Home in Flanders (Belgium) participating to the AcustiCare project as case study. Results show that, compared to normal eating establishments, lower absorption per person values and higher group size values should be used in nursing homes to reduce errors in ambient noise levels prediction. Furthermore, using a retrofit intervention carried out in the living room of the Nursing Home, the enhanced acoustical capacity of the space was analysed. Results, in this case, show that, prior to the retrofit intervention, the acoustical capacity was already exceeded with average occupancy (i.e., saturated in normal functioning conditions), while the reduction in reverberation time achieved with the retrofit increased considerably the acoustical capacity of the space, shifting the quality of verbal communication in the living room from insufficient to satisfactory.

Originele taal-2English
Artikelnummer4205
Pagina's (van-tot)1-13
Aantal pagina's13
TijdschriftApplied Sciences (Switzerland)
Volume10
Nummer van het tijdschrift12
DOI's
StatusPublished - 1 jun 2020

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