Reducing the sound exposure level in an orchestra pit by a set of tailored measures
* Presenting author
Risk mitigation of a noise-induced hearing loss for musicians of orchestras is generally based on a set of measures. Hearing protection, which is one of the most efficient means, is considered inadequate as the sole solution in orchestras. Technical and organizational measures are attractive because of their appropriateness to dovetail with the conditions of performance practice and architecture. This contribution presents an attempt to reduce the sound exposure level in the orchestra pit of the Deutsche Oper Berlin by a set of constructional measures. The current conditions and the requirements of the musicians were assessed with acoustical measurements and with a questionnaire, respectively. A hybrid simulation method was subsequently employed to simulate and optimize the sound field in the entire frequency range. Optimization focussed on an improvement of audibility between musicians and the equalization of the areal pattern of room modes. While the former objective is well-know for improving the ensemble play, the latter reduces the exposure as well as the masking of the fundamental frequencies of singers and instruments. This contribution concludes with a set of constructional measures, which are considered viable approaches for reducing the risk of noise-induced hearing loss in the orchestra pit.