The United States Department of Health and Human Services mandated that health care providers offer confidentiality to patients so they can discuss matters in private. Interior designers are beholden by law to provide a reasonable acoustical environment. In other environments like offices, banks, etc., acoustic privacy is also needed. By anticipating problems that may occur while going through the design process, the designer can limit impact sound as much as possible. For example, to prevent echoes a designer can choose materials that absorb or break up sound. Baffles and banners can also be placed on the ceiling for additional limitations. Researching materials like natural cork, acoustic tiles, or materials that have been specifically engineered for reduced noise, can help with transmission. Speech intelligibility can be addressed by calculating the privacy index. Only a PI of 95% or higher results in confidentiality. Conscious designers take these aspects into consideration when making material selections.
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