The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Office of Mine Safety and Health Research (OMSHR) maintains a noise control program as part of its Hearing Loss Prevention Branch (HLPB). This program utilizes two large acoustic laboratories—a reverberation chamber
and a hemi-anechoic chamber—to assist OMSHR engineers with the development and evaluation of noise controls. This paper discusses the design, instrumentation, and use of the NIOSH acoustics laboratories and the important role they play in noise control development and evaluation. The
NIOSH reverberation chamber meets the absorption, reverberation time, and test room broadband qualification requirements specified in the ISO 3741/ANSI S12.51 acoustics standard for precision method sound power testing. As part of a qualification testing program, NIOSH conducted an uncertainty
estimate for sound power level testing in the chamber. For an overall sound power measurement, this uncertainty estimate was 0.4 dB. The NIOSH hemi-anechoic chamber, which uses Eckel Industries SuperSoft Panels on the walls and ceiling, is used primarily for noise source identification to
determine significant noise sources on equipment. Testing was completed to ensure that the chamber functions as a free-field. The SuperSoft panels met NIOSH requirements and the chamber was verified as a free-field per the test room qualification criteria set forth in ISO 3745.
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