TED talk: Buildings must also be designed for ears

Architects are more interested in how a building looks than how it sounds. And poor acoustics are a major problem for health, productivity and our social lives.

These were key points by sound consultant Julian Treasure from the Sound Agency in Britain in an inspiring TED talk. He also provides examples of what is required to achieve better acoustics.  



When noise levels rise, so do heart rates. And when the acoustics are bad, listeners sitting in the fourth row can easily miss 50 per cent of the words spoken by the presenter or teacher.

These are two of the examples sound consultant Julian Treasure from the Sound Agency mentions in his TED talk on the importance of incorporating good acoustic solutions into architecture. Watch the 10-minute video above.

Julian Treasure mentions offices, hospitals and educational buildings as examples of places where acoustics are often bad, even though the function of the building demands good acoustics.

Health risks

Julian Treasure highlights a study carried out by Dr. Markus Oberdörster and Dr. Gerhart Tiesler at Bremen University in Germany. The study shows that the heart rate of teachers rises in step with the decibel level in a classroom.

According to the study, the average sound level in a classroom is 65 dB. And 65 dB is the noise level at which exposure over time leads to a higher risk of heart attack.

The Sound Agency, located in the outskirts of London, advises companies on good sound.

See also: Julian Treasure's tips for designing buildings with a good sound environment