Whether you are in the inner city or small town community, noise pollution is almost impossible to avoid. Excessive noise becomes a potentially harmful byproduct and sound attenuation becomes increasingly important.
Why is Sound Dampening Important?
According to research at the University of Michigan, prolonged exposure to high levels of noise can be disastrous for the human body. Noise pollution has been linked to other health problems including heart disease, mental illness, insomnia, and stress. Prolonged exposure over time to noise and these side effects can cause long-term damage.
The Environmental Protection Agency states “noise below an average of 70 decibels over 24 hours is safe and won’t cause hearing loss”. In many urban areas, densely populated cities, and traffic hubs, the outdoor noise levels can go well above those safety standards.
What Are the Standards for Accurate Acoustic Performance Ratings
Sound-dampening acoustic windows are one of the ways to reduce noise levels. Acoustic Performance Rating Standards are key to understanding and providing an accurate performance comparison.
Richard Rinka, the technical manager for standards and industry affairs for the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA), wrote a review for Door & Window Market Magazine (page 6) on sound measurement. Rinka weighs in on performance rating standards:
The process of specifying sound-dampening products requires accurate testing and rating protocols, including key measurements for transmission loss (TL), sound transmission class (STC) and outdoor-indoor transmission class (OITC).
To enable fair and consistent measurement and comparison of those characteristics, AAMA has published its Voluntary Specification for the Acoustical Rating of Windows, Doors and Glazed Wall Sections (AAMA 1801-13), a procedure that references the use of sound transmission loss test data obtained per ASTM E1425, Standard Practice for Determining the Acoustical Performance of Exterior Windows and Doors, to calculate STC and OITC ratings.
The test specimen size, prescribed test methods and sequence of tests is also in accordance with ASTM E1425, along with air infiltration, operating force and latching force, as integral elements of acoustical performance (which AAMA 1801 also requires concurrent testing for).
In the process, reports conforming to AAMA 1801 include the transmission loss data across the entire sound spectrum for each product. OITC ratings are expressed as described in ASTM 1332, Standard Classification Rating for Outdoor-Indoor Sound Attenuation.”
Rinka goes on to discuss how acoustic performance rating standards continue to evolve and undergoing review, with task groups specifically looking at the substitution of glass and framing elements in acoustic-rated windows.
Effective use of acoustic windows has become essential to keeping urban noise out and creating quiet interior spaces. Look for STC and OITC ratings to find the optimal levels of noise mitigation. Our acoustic window experts at St. Cloud Window can help you find the best window for your acoustic needs – request a quote today for more information.
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