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If you are shopping for a sound dampening solution for your business or home, make sure you know the basic vernacular.

ACOUSTICS: The branch of science or physics which studies sound.

ACOUSTICAL ANALYSIS: An analysis of the space in a room or building to determine its acoustical properties, and how they might be improved.

ACOUSTICAL CONSULTANT: An engineer or other professional who deals with acoustical qualities of spaces.

ACOUSTICAL ENVIRONMENT: The characteristics of a space or room pertaining to it’s acoustical properties.

AIRBORNE NOISE: A noise traveling through air, rather than materials or water.

AIRBORNE SOUND: A sound traveling through air, rather than materials or water.

ARCHITECTURAL ACOUSTICS: Study and application of the understanding of architecture and its effects on acoustics in the interior space it creates.

ARTICULATION CLASS: Rating that is given to a space and it’s materials for the level of acoustical privacy it provides. 

ARTICULATION INDEX (AI): A measure of how distorted or clear speech becomes at a distance, based on the acoustical qualities of a space. 

ABSORPTION: How effective a material is at absorbing sound (converting it to heat).

AREA EFFECT: The increased ability of acoustical materials to absorb sound when they are spaced from one another rather than touching.

ATTENUATION: The dissipation of sound at it travels over a distance. 

A WEIGHTING: A filter which allows acoustical meters to ignore low frequency sound.

AMBIENT NOISE: The noise level that is constant, from all sources, for instance HVAC or highway noise. 

BACKGROUND NOISE: All noise that goes on in the background, including things like crowd chatter, sound of cutlery in a kitchen, or typing and clicking in an office environment.

BAFFLE: A sound-absorbing structure that is suspended in a space vertically. 

BARRIER: Anything which interferes with the ability to hear in a space.

BEL: A sound intensity measurement; more commonly referenced decibels are 1/10th of a bel.

BOOMINESS: Reflections of sound from surfaces specifically at low frequency.

CLOUD: A sound absorbing element in a room, hanging in similar fashion to a baffle, but horizontally.

COCKTAIL PARTY EFFECT: Background noise generated by numerous simultaneous conversations.

COCHLEA: An inner-ear resonator shaped like a snail shell, critical to hearing.

CYCLE: The oscillation above and below ambient air pressure in a space in the transmission of sound waves.

CYCLES PER SECOND: How many oscillations of sound waves per second in a sound.

DAMPING: Sound’s dissipation as it travels through materials, rather than air.

DECIBEL (dB): A measure of sound, 1/10 of a bel. 

DEFLECTION: A distance usually measured in millimeters of the movement of an elastic object subject to a dynamic or static force. 

DIFFUSION: Scattering of sound from an uneven surface.

ECHO: A reflected sound which accurately mimics the sound first generated, which it’s an echo of.

ECHO FLUTTER: A series of short echoes produced when a sound echoes from multiple surfaces successively, which can sometimes accumulate into distortion.