Acoustic comfort : Definition

29 January 2024
1 min

A definition of acoustic comfort

Acoustic comfort is the state of well-being experienced in an appropriate sound environment, where noise is controlled and managed. This comfort goes far beyond a simple decibel measurement: it encompasses the quality of sound and its impact on our concentration, communication, rest and health. Reverberation, for example, plays a key role in acoustic comfort. A reverberation time that is too long or too short can significantly alter the clarity of sounds and conversations. Acoustic discomfort can be caused by noise that is too loud, by continuous noise of lesser intensity, or by irregular noise, even if it is infrequent during the day (passing aircraft, for example).

What are the consequences of noise?

Noise is a major disrupter of the body it has direct effects on the nervous system. It is a significant stress factor that affects our physical and mental well-being. Noise levels that do not directly affect hearing can, especially if they are frequent or prolonged, lead to fatigue, sleep disturbance and reduced cognitive performance. In workshops and outdoors, workers and craftsmen wear hearing protection.

But in their homes or offices, people are more vulnerable. On average, it takes around twenty minutes to regain full concentration after a break in the noise. Cognitive performance can drop by half when an individual is exposed to background noise. The phenomenon is all the more worrying with the spread of open spaces and shared offices, where silence is impossible to maintain. Over the long term, this can lead to psychological problems. Prolonged exposure to noise over 90 decibels can also cause permanent damage to the hearing system.

One in four French people suffers from tinnitus. Noise is also detrimental to certain activities and businesses. In public spaces such as restaurants, poor acoustics can affect the image of the establishment and lead to a drop in footfall.

Regulations governing acoustics in buildings

There are acoustic regulations for new buildings, covering the insulation requirements for premises:

- Airborne noise.

- Noise from building equipment.

- Impact noise

- There are also sound absorption requirements for "common areas", i.e. noise transmitted through the building and amplified by reverberation.

In residential buildings, regulations are more strict. Since 2013 in France building owners have been required to provide a certificate attesting that they have taken acoustic regulations into account, based on precise, verified measurements.

How do you ensure optimum acoustic comfort in a building?

The initial design of the building and the materials used in its construction must take acoustic comfort into account, as these are the key factors in ensuring that rooms are properly soundproofed.

Insulation from the outside depends on the openings (double- or triple-glazed windows, insulating materials, etc.). As for the inside of the building, to ensure that each space is acoustically comfortable for everyone, several factors will contribute:

- The shape of the room.

- Insulating ceiling tiles.

- Soundproofing foam.

- Acoustic panels.

- Floor coverings, etc.

The architecture of the space, particularly in open-plan offices, must be designed to minimise noise pollution.

The IoT is an effective solution for improving acoustic comfort in buildings

Intelligent sensors based on IoT technologies, such as LoRaWAN technology, can be installed in the rooms of a building to measure the average sound volume and enable precise monitoring of acoustic conditions.

The advantage of these sensors, combined with software solutions such as Wattsense that centralise all the data, is that they can analyse noise levels at all levels of the building, identify any problems by setting up alarms, and quickly remedy them to guarantee an excellent level of acoustic comfort.

Open the doors to intelligent building management with the Wattsense solution!

Our connectivity solution enables you to optimise the performance of your buildings effectively while keeping costs under control. By allowing you to take back control of the technical equipment in your buildings, whatever their size, condition or use, you can rapidly improve energy efficiency, maintenance and occupant comfort. Ask for a demonstration to find out more.

Keep reading

Electrical sub-meter

The electrical sub-meter, also known as a sub-division meter, is a device associated with the general electrical meter.

Read more


ESG refers to the Environmental, Social and Governance criteria taken into account in the extra-financial analysis of companies, to measure...

Read more