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Proposed Criteria for the Balance Between Direct Speech Communication and Ambient Noise in Restaurants and Cafeterias

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In rooms with social or recreational character, such as restaurants and cafeterias, people accept higher background noise levels than those encountered in a more formal environment. In this case, the acoustical sensation is usually accompanied by visual cues and, therefore, the intelligibility problems are less critical. Assuming a typical tape configuration, seating density criteria are proposed as a function of the "reverberation" (room) radius. Comparative experimental results concerning the subjective disturbance of speech and continuous noises (such as those produced by masking noise and HVAC systems) are presented to support the proposed criteria.

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