Studying acoustical capacity and quality of verbal communication in occupied restaurants



Sound level data and occupancy data has been logged in five restaurants by the research team at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. Sound levels and Occupancy at 10 second intervals were documented over time periods of two to four hours during active business hours. Noise levels were logged with dosimeters distributed throughout each restaurant, and occupancy was obtained from images recorded by infrared cameras. Previous analyses of this data have focused on average sound levels and statistical metrics, such as L10 and L90 values. This presentation focuses on each restaurant’s Acoustical Capacity and Quality of Verbal Communication, as introduced by Rindel (2012). Acoustical Capacity is a metric describing the maximum number of persons for reasonable communication in a space, calculated from the unoccupied reverberation time and the volume of the space. Quality of Verbal Communication is a metric describing the ease with which persons in the space can communicate at a singular point in time, depending on the reverberation time, the volume of the space, and the number of occupants in the space.