Noise Measurement Frequently Asked Questions

Noise is continuous and happens all around us. No matter where it originates, it can create concerns for communities and adjacent neighbors. You measure noise to find out how loud sound is and what that measurement means.

What is the difference between noise and sound?

There is no physical difference between “noise” and “sound”. What makes a difference, is the subjective response of the listener to these sounds. Noise is simply any sound that you don’t want to hear. Mining, construction or manufacturing operations often must deal with noise issues to demonstrate compliance local ordinances and maintain favorable public relations with neighbors.

What equipment is used to measure noise?

A specific type of sound level monitor is required to accurately and correctly monitor sound. GeoSonics/Vibra-Tech uses type 1 integrating sound level meters that meet the American National Standards Institute, Inc. (ANSI) and the Acoustical Society of America (ASA) standards for noise level monitoring. Our hand-held meters provide short term monitoring solutions or permanent long term monitoring stations to measure and analyze sound.

How is noise measured?

The first step in conducting noise level monitoring for your project is to identify the correct and applicable noise limit or criteria. In some cases, noise criteria may be set by local zoning codes or contained within municipal regulations. In other cases, specific criteria and guidelines set by federal agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or Housing and Urban Development (HUD) may apply. In the aggregate industry, sound level limits may be set by the city, community or township where the aggregate operation is located as part of their operating permit requirements. Construction projects usually have a set noise limit identified in their project specifications based on the city, community or township where the construction activity is taking place. If there is no limit, you can compare noise to existing general noise guidelines. In some cases, an ambient noise study may be required to compare the ambient noise levels to operational noise levels. This can be helpful to document how much noise, above the ambient or natural occurring noise, your project may produce or produces.

Why is the level of ambient noise important?

An ambient noise study documents the existing noise in that environment on a regular basis. Ambient noise level can be the basis for determining noise level impact.

Can you predict how much noise your construction or operation will produce?

Based on the number and type of noise sources, the distance to receptor locations, and any existing topography or planned berms or barriers, GeoSonics/Vibra-Tech can predict and project noise levels over a specified geographic area. This type of prediction is especially helpful in permitting requests for new or expanding operations, and for construction projects. Noise projection modeling is often required for the permitting process or when noise level predictions are required prior to the start of a project. Noise modeling allows you to predict noise from different points and sources to produce projection maps taking into account existing topography and elevation.

Can you decrease the amount of noise produced?

Noise projection analysis can help identify if mitigation like a barrier wall or a noise curtain is needed. Project analysis can also be reviewed to see how mitigation efforts impact projected noise levels.

Learn more about noise monitoring and noise projection modeling. Contact GeoSonics/Vibra-Tech for a customized noise monitoring and control plan for your project today.