Acoustical engineers may be concerned with limiting unwanted sound or noise or you may focus on maximizing the clarity and quality of desired sound.
As an acoustical engineer, you'll be concerned with the management and application of sound-producing vibrations in real-world situations. Many acoustical engineers work with architects to help design buildings in order to control sound diffraction, refraction, absorption and reverberation. You may be focused on creating sound-proof environments, such as recording studios, or on developing the high-quality acoustics of auditoriums, concert halls or public meeting areas. You could also be concerned with noise control or noise reduction, which could be necessary in a factory or other industrial setting.
According to the Acoustical Society of America (ASA), there are a number different acoustical engineering specialties in the field of acoustics. Below are a few of these specialties and descriptions:
Architectural acoustics - This specialty is directed toward the architectural design of not only areas such as concert halls and churches but also class rooms, offices, factories and homes. It's intended to deal with the effective distribution of wanted sounds as well as the exclusion of undesirable or extraneous sounds.
Noise control - This discipline deals with the growing problem of noise pollution. Acoustical engineering technology can focus on the source of the noise, controlling the path noise may take, or it may focus on precautions and safety measures that listeners can employ.
Physical acoustics - Entering into the realm of physics, this specialty deals with the way sound travels through and reacts with media such as solids, liquids and gasses. Focusing on frequencies of sound waves, researchers observe the behavior of sound in varied environments at varied temperatures.
Vibration and structural acoustics - Buildings can be toppled and bridges crumbled by the sound vibrations caused by natural phenomena such as earthquakes and storms. By helping to design structures that can withstand such assaults, a specialist in structural acoustics and vibration seeks to minimize the chances of such disasters. In addition, vibrations caused by a system's machinery can disrupt other sensitive components of the same system. Researchers look for ways to lessen, alter or muffle the vibrations or to isolate system parts without jeopardizing the operation of the entire system.
Underwater acoustics - Acoustical engineers in this specialization concentrate their efforts on sonar, which stands for 'sound navigation and ranging'. In addition to being used on military watercraft for guidance and the detection of underwater obstacles, sonar also has commercial use in locating fishing grounds and mapping the ocean floor.
Typically, you'll be qualified for a job as an acoustical engineer after completing a bachelor's degree. Acoustical engineering programs may not be available at the undergraduate level, but relevant majors can include physics, mechanical engineering, mathematics or electrical engineering.
Median Salary 2019
According to payscale.com, the median salary of an Acoustical Engineer in 2019 was $69,966.
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Learning Path: Acoustical Engineer
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