About this Research Topic
The acoustics of the environment in which we live influence our health, comfort, performance, and well-being. Optimizing acoustics is crucial in ensuring a comfortable environment and thus improving the quality of life. The sonic environment can be controlled using passive and active strategies applied to a breadth of elements both indoor and outdoor. Control of the sonic environment can span from an innovative building envelope to smart interior components, mechanical systems, or effective management of occupancy in the indoor environment. Control can also include mitigation of urban noise and the design of acoustically restorative areas in the outdoor environment. Furthermore, during the current COVID-19 pandemic, the control of acoustics in the built environment has changed. The restrictions on large gatherings have modified both indoor and outdoor acoustic environments; similarly, social distancing measures and the use of face masks have prompted the adoption of new (conscious or unconscious) communication habits that affect our quality of life.
Some examples of the environments in which acoustics affect occupants’ behavior and well-being include teaching and learning environments, offices, restaurants, social and gathering spaces, outdoor spaces, enclosed public transport premises, as well as shopping malls. Although many criteria and guidelines have been developed to acoustically condition the different sonic experiences, often they are based only on limited perceptual evidence. For instance, guidelines on classroom acoustics include few objective parameter ranges (e.g. reverberation time, speech transmission index) and lack a clear and quantitative outcome on children’s well-being and cognitive performance.
In this Research Topic, we would like to showcase that the quality of life can be changed and improved by the acoustics of the built environment. We would like to address the complexity of the interactions of the users and their sonic environments in a specified indoor or outdoor setting. Such a novel approach will offer a step forward in the efficacy of the available control strategies and will help to develop new ones, which together could lead to the enhancement of the users’ experience and quality of life.
This Research Topic aims to set a research background for the impact of the sonic environment on people. The Research Topic will bring together up-to-date reviews and original research on noise generation, transmission and control, and their influence on the users’ perception, well-being, and behavior.
We welcome contributions that include (but are not limited to) the following topics:
• Experimental and simulative campaigns on indoor and outdoor sound environments;
• Noise generation and perception, both indoor and outdoor;
• Architectural design solutions to improve acoustics in everyday life environments;
• Control of speech and noise generated by occupants;
• Innovative solutions for sound insulation and absorption;
• Assessment of the perceived acoustic comfort and well-being by occupant surveys and relationships with acoustical data;
• Influence of the sound environment on occupants’ health, cognitive abilities, performance, and productivity;
• Influence of other environmental aspects (e.g. thermal comfort, lighting) on noise generation and speech communication;
• Impact of the sound environment on the most vulnerable categories.
• Impact of the COVD19 pandemic on the soundscape.
Prof. Arianna Astolfi, Dr. Louena Shtrepi, and Dr. Giuseppina Emma Puglisi are members of PR.O.VOICE Srl, that is a startup company former incubated in I3P (Politecnico di Torino), that commercializes the device for voice monitoring Vocal Holter Med.
Prof Arianna Astolfi has received grants from Saint Gobain Italia, Rockwool Italia, and Radiotelevisione Italiana (RAI).
The other Topic Editors declare no competing interests with regard to the Research Topic subject.
Keywords: Soundscape, well-being, acoustic quality, COVID 19, sound environment
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.