What is an Acoustic Consultant?
Acoustic Consultants are sound professionals who specialise in noise and vibration issues.
Acoustic Consultants may provide knowledge, develop noise-reducing treatments, coordinate sound investigations, and collaborate with stakeholders to identify problems and build innovative noise pollution solutions.
Acoustic Consultants may choose to specialise in a variety of fields, including:
- Audio engineering
- Product sound and noise control
- Architectural acoustics
- Speech and hearing
- Noise in the environment
- Underwater acoustics
- Acoustics in music
As numerous researches have shown, unwanted noise has a detrimental influence on health, wellness, attention, and learning. This has resulted in the fact that more people are becoming aware of the need for acoustically intelligent places, resulting in an increased and diverse demand for acoustic consulting services.
Acoustic Consultants are usually practical and innovative problem solvers. They must have a thorough understanding of the topic, as well as knowledge of regulations and standards, and will typically possess a relevant degree-level certificate as well as a diploma or postgraduate qualification in acoustics.
Your responsibilities as an Acoustic Consultant may vary but will commonly include the following tasks:
- Using advanced technology to precisely measure sound levels
- Modelling data for visual presentations
- Identifying the physical source of the noise in question
- Creating summaries of the concerns with mitigation solutions
- Customising solutions for the location while keeping aesthetic appeal in mind
- Organising proposals and data to apply for grants and prospective jobs
- Translating design needs and technical aspects in a clear manner
- Understanding the effects of sound on the environment, humans, animals, and equipment
- Identifying critical design needs to reduce unwanted sound and comply with building codes
- Making use of their extensive expertise in sound-absorbing techniques.
- Creating 3D renderings and models using engineering tools and CAD design applications.
- Recognising how environmental elements influence sound levels.
- Using noise-absorbing materials in systems rather than outdated sound-reflecting technology.
- Conducting research and holding conferences to provide the most up-to-date facts and therapies.
The salary for Acoustic Consultants in the UK ranges from £22,000 for entry level positions to £35,000 for more experienced positions.
Working hours and work location
The great majority of Acoustic Consultants work as salaried employees of small acoustical consulting firms, while freelancers who have identified a lucrative market or speciality may do well. The majority of the work is done from an office during business hours, however, projects that regularly demand on-site work might disrupt this.
While working on a project, Acoustic Consultants may split their time between their office and wherever their project is located. In rare situations, they can uproot completely and work in close proximity to the project. This might include short trips or extended stays away from home.
What to expect
Acoustic Consultants generally examine the influence of sound at specific places by conducting numerous tests that isolate and locate all noise sources contributing to the site’s coverage. They analyse the results of these tests to evaluate if a particular noise source, such as a transportation hub, electrical substation, or roadway, is in compliance with local ordinances or producing excessive sound levels.
Acoustic Consultants operate as part of a large team of professionals to tackle difficult noise issues, frequently working as mentors to younger acousticians training under them in order to preserve the discipline’s high standards.
Acoustic Consultants assist build or change physical spaces and occasionally sound systems to meet the aural demands of their customers by combining architectural drafting abilities with a comprehensive understanding of applied acoustics, a branch of physics that focuses on sound.
The services provided by Acoustic Consultants can be divided into three categories:
- Design—creating plans for an acoustically oriented space alone or in collaboration with dedicated architects
- Optimisation—improving the way sound travels through an existing space to ensure clean, controllable, and flexible acoustics
- Soundproofing—making an existing interior space acoustically isolated so that outside sound does not come in and inside sound does not escape
The majority of new Acoustic Consultants will have a bachelor’s degree in maths, physics, or engineering, or a master’s degree in acoustical and/or audio engineering. After studying courses like music technology or environmental science, you may be able to apply, but you’ll almost certainly need to pursue postgraduate studies, such as the Institute of Acoustics (IOA) Diploma in Acoustics and Noise Control or an MSc in Acoustics.
Many businesses need a bachelor’s degree in acoustics or a related field, as well as a postgraduate diploma in acoustics and noise control, such as the Diploma in Acoustics and Noise Control. They generally also require IOA associate or corporate membership (depending on the level of the role)
It’s also feasible to enter into the field by combining paid jobs and part-time education by enrolling in a level 4 acoustics technician apprenticeship. You might then pursue more education to become an Acoustic Consultant.
Related fields of study for Acoustic Consultants include:
- Computer science or IT
- Speech and hearing
- Language studies
In order to become a successful Acoustic Consultant you will have to possess or acquire the following skills:
must have skills:
- Knowledge of Acoustics (and, more broadly, physics)
- Mathematics skills
- Knowledge of architecture
- Knowledge of live sound systems and hardware
- Knowledge of recording systems and hardware
- Knowledge of electroacoustics
- Time management skills
- Communication skills, both written and spoken
- Knowledge of local building inspection standards, permits, and laws.
Graduate companies place a great priority on work experience, and you'll almost always need it to secure a position as a junior or graduate Acoustic Consultant. At least two years of relevant job experience is required of consultants.
Music festivals may provide a valuable professional experience. Students are hired on a shift basis by Acoustic Consultants to collect sound measurements at events. Local governments may also offer work experience, usually in the form of night surveys. There may also be opportunities to work as an Acoustic Consultant for an environmental firm.
As previously mentioned, the IOA’s being the leading UK body for acoustics offers student memberships that are also beneficial, especially for networking possibilities at their meetings and activities.
Hands-on experience can also be gained through various acoustics related internships.
Working with an acoustical consulting firm or architectural consulting group is the most secure career path, especially for beginning Acoustic Consultants. These opportunities are typically listed on traditional job-search platforms.
However, there are prospects for independent Acoustic Consultants, who must network and be visible in order to get employment. As the heart and soul of the consulting sector, both freelancers and full-time workers must be capable of developing close connections with clients.
Many Acoustic Consultants start their careers after receiving a bachelor’s degree in a related discipline, while others pursue a master’s degree in acoustical engineering or architecture. The great majority of Acoustic Consultants work for acoustical consulting firms early in their careers, either as full-time employees or as contract freelancers.
Those who appreciate working with amplifiers and other gear to address audio difficulties in contexts such as performance spaces and event halls may pursue a career as a live sound systems engineer, whereas those who want to construct recording studios may pursue a career as a studio designer.
The most well recognised and successful Acoustic Consultants, for example, study architecture further and incorporate it into their work, allowing them to take on more challenging, long, and lucrative projects, such as developing the designs for a new music hall.
If you believe that acoustic engineering is the career for you, you may take the following steps to become an acoustic engineer.
- Complete a bachelor’s degree.
A large number of acoustic engineers have a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering degree.
Consider a similar field, such as electrical engineering or environmental engineering, as a possible entry point into acoustic engineering.
- Finish postgraduate studies.
After completing their undergraduate degrees, the majority of acoustic engineers opt to specialise in acoustic engineering.
Postgraduate degrees in acoustic and audio engineering are offered, which may help you to refine your talents in working with sound and vibrations.
- Accumulate appropriate experience.
You can obtain experience by working in entry-level roles or internships while still in school, possibly over the summer.
- Find employment after graduation
After you graduate, search for entry-level employment that will allow you to learn from experienced acoustic engineers.
- Join a professional organisation.
Membership in professional organisations such as the Institute of Acoustics UK may assist you to acquire work as well as give chances for training and skill development.
The University of the West of Scotland teaches this program at their London Campus, so you’ll be studying at the heart of the UK’s industry. This one-year, full-time curriculum is for students who have no prior expertise with computers or information technology. The course will help you learn much-needed IT expertise to help you prepare for a job in acoustic consultancy.