Play it by Ear: Become an Acoustical Engineer

Think acoustics: what springs to mind? Opera houses, theatres, caves? Do you think of acoustical engineering? It’s unlikely. Not many people think of sound as complicated enough to require an engineer. Truth is, sound is fantastically complicated and makes for an enthralling career, especially for those with finely tuned ears.

According to Wikipedia, acoustical engineers specialise in sound and vibration with particular focus on manipulating and controlling sound in indoor and outdoor environments. They’re the people who ensure that the audience at the back of the theatre gets the full benefit of the soprano on the stage, and that couples in crowded restaurants can still hear what they are saying. They also look at how sound affects plants, people and animals. They’re the people who determine that classical music promotes crop growth and milk production in cows, while hard rock is not quite conducive to healthy agriculture.

But it’s ever so much more diverse than that.

acoustical engineer

Photo source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/fortrucker/5473874082/

Acoustical Specialities

Acoustical engineers play a vital role in architectural design. For example, they help choose materials and design spaces that will stop sound carrying from the office bathroom to the reception area but which will amplify sound in a large meeting room. They can also be brought into infrastructural planning, as they can design urban spaces that negate echoes and don’t allow sound to travel, and they can be brought in to devise noise reduction strategies for busy highways and at airports.

If you want to design a sound system that really gets the bass thumping, consult an acoustical engineer. TV and hi-fi manufacturers rely on acoustical engineering to ensure that their sound is crystal clear. You’ll also find acoustical specialists are called in to help refine the design of musical instruments and can apply their knowledge of musical instruments to technology that aims to synthesise the sounds.

Engineers play a role in designing and refining sonar systems for various underwater purposes, such as mapping the ocean floor and detecting and tracking shoals and schools of fish.

And then there is the role they play in medicine. For example, they study the impact that sound waves (ultrasound) has on human tissue and various diseases; the findings of which have been instrumental in replacing risky procedures that involve radiation.

If you’re fascinated by sound, from the way it’s heard to the way it moves, you should consider a career as an acoustical engineer. It is, by all accounts, a growth industry and the development of new technology means that new breakthroughs are being made all the time

This guest post was written by Sandy Cosser on behalf of Skilled Migrant Jobs, which is a specialist online job site that helps immigrants with their Australian job search in all industries, including engineering, healthcare and architecture.

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