An experimental study on speech interference in public leisure spaces
Physical comfort requirements of users in the non-acoustical spaces, leisure space, and usability of the space in long-term period should be taken into consideration in terms of sustainability of the space. The aim of this study is to investigate the speech interference of users' in an openplaned public leisure space. Bilkent Rollhouse was chosen as a leisure space because of its variance of activities in an open-plan like bowling, dart, billiards, play station and dining area. In this respect, a questionnaire was prepared to check the perception of sound of different user types in the area. The questionnaires were applied at the most crowded day of the week that is Friday and in between 18:00 to 21:00. The results of the survey were evaluated statistically. In addition to this, the equivalent continuous noise level, Leq, of the leisure space were taken in parallel to the questionnaire application to the users. Measuring of speech intelligibility via articulation index (AI) subjectively was the second phase of this study. Via application of the word list to the normal hearing users, the AI contours were prepared. Finally, objective and subjective measurements were analyzed in terms of speech interference during leisure activity in the space. As a leisure space, the relation between noise annoyance ratings and Leq did not show any significant difference in dart, billiards and play stations activities. However, in bowling activity and dining area, it was found that there is a significant relation between noise annoyance and Leq. This study reveals that users submit ambient noise of the space during leisure activity, they get in a common behaviour psychologically, they adjust their vocal noise that they create and finally these issues lead controlling of ambient noise by them. It means that users give up loudly speaking, they accept repeating or silence, focus on meal and they do not like getting in uncomfortable situation since their main activity is dining. For further study, the number of the samples in not only different leisure spaces, but also measurement points and sampling times should be increased to make clear hypothesis given above, since the study reveals completely different behaviour that is introduced in literature like cocktail party effect phenomenon.