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Application of a Prediction Model for Ambient Noise Levels and Acoustical Capacity for Living Rooms in Nursing Homes Hosting Older People with Dementia

Devos, P; Aletta, F; Thomas, P; Vander Mynsbrugge, T; Petrovic, M; Van de Velde, D; De Vriendt, P; (2020) Application of a Prediction Model for Ambient Noise Levels and Acoustical Capacity for Living Rooms in Nursing Homes Hosting Older People with Dementia. Applied Sciences , 10 (12) , Article 4205. 10.3390/app10124205. Green open access

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Abstract

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.

Type: Article
Title: Application of a Prediction Model for Ambient Noise Levels and Acoustical Capacity for Living Rooms in Nursing Homes Hosting Older People with Dementia
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.3390/app10124205
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.3390/app10124205
Language: English
Additional information: © 2020 by the Authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Keywords: acoustical capacity; nursing homes; indoor soundscape; verbal communication; BPSD
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Bartlett School Env, Energy and Resources
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10101918
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