Miller Goodall, Independent Acoustics and Air Quality Consultants, Members of the Association of Noise Consultants
It’s varied, interesting and will take you to different parts of life. Even though it’s one subject, there are many specialist areas – internal acoustics, environmental acoustics, underwater acoustics. All of them allow you to make a genuine improvement to people’s lives and the way they live.
What inspired you to get into acoustics?
I have a family history of hearing problems, so always had an interest in how the ears work and how noise impacts on people’s hearing. Previously I was an environmental health officer in local government dealing with noise complaints, industrial noise issues and sound insulation between buildings, which focused my interest into that specific arena.
Where does your work take you?
All sorts of situations, from old pubs converted into houses to industrial sites, to tower blocks to chicken farms. It’s so varied. A recent job involved using an acoustic camera to locate the source of noise in a tall, industrial stack. That’s something we don’t do all the time, but they’re exciting bits of work.
What’s one of the most exciting projects you’ve ever done in your career?
One of the most interesting and fascinating projects was an African church that was relocating to a new building in a new location. We had to measure the source noise of the church in operation to predict what the impact might be. When I turned up, the church was fully in use and it was quite a small building. Everyone was dressed in their finery and the band was playing and people were singing – it was beautiful, but so loud. It was fascinating to see how that would then impact on the new building and location.
Which STEM subjects are needed in the profession?
The main two subjects that we use a lot in the profession are mathematics and physics.
Do you think acoustics is under the radar and that people may not realise the opportunities?
Definitely! And what’s worse is that students choose their A Level subjects before they even know about acoustics. Once you’ve taken those A Level subjects, it’s very difficult to backtrack to maths or physics. However, there’s an opportunity to do a diploma in acoustics if you’ve got a good technical background.
Is there a demand for graduates?
There’s s a significant demand for graduates in acoustics. With few courses across the country there aren’t many acoustic graduates coming through the system. There are around 60 companies in the Association of Noise Consultants and all of them benefit from graduate placements.
Will there always be a high demand for acousticians?
Absolutely. People want a good quality of life and environmental noise can impact on stress levels and health with more cars on the road and more housing built on brownfield sites close to industry.
As a profession for a graduate, acoustics is an excellent career opportunity. It’s varied, interesting and you get involved with a wide range of different people and environments. I’d highly recommend it.