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What types of devices do acoustical consultants use to measure sound?

In my specific case I am looking to measure train noise inside and outside the home. I suspect a decibel meter at the simplest level but do they also measure the frequency and also multiple directions? What does a professional use?

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Well I'm not a consultant but what you are probably looking for is a dB meter and I would guess there's not really any reason to measure frequencies other than curiosity. If you are considering measuring frequency because you know that human ears are less sensitive to certain frequencies then consider using a meter with an A-weighted option.

A Weighting

The most common weighting that is used in noise measurement is A-Weighting. Like the human ear, this effectively cuts off the lower and higher frequencies that the average person cannot hear.

Also, you may want to consider using a Noise Dosimeter that will keep track of noise exposure throughout a period of time.

  • Thanks, the frequency matters because if one is measuring to block noise from entering or exiting a space then certain materials block certain frequencies better than others. – Elijah Lynn Sep 9 '18 at 17:50
  • It certainly does - whilst you can probably block the highs with double-glazing &/or thicker curtains ;) to really block the lows of a train passing 10m away you would need several thousand tonnes of concrete floated on something akin to a Japanese earthquake protection structure; inflated rubber "tyres" which totally decouple the building from the ground. – Tetsujin Sep 10 '18 at 8:13
  • There are materials that absorb and reflect higher and lower frequencies better but there’s no need to analyze the entire spectrum to see if you hear high or low frequencies you can determine that by listening. Typically train noise in the home will be mostly from the vibrating of the ground rattling the walls and windows of the house so like tetsujin said you’d need to keep it off the ground. But in your case I can’t say for sure and I know you’re a smart guy so I hope you find the best solution – Timinycricket Sep 11 '18 at 1:08

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