How and why to calibrate Acoustic measurement instruments

How to calibrate Acoustic measurement instruments

Why calibrate Acoustic measurement instruments

There are many reasons why acoustic instrument calibration is important. Here are a few of the most important ones:

  1.  Accuracy and Reliability: Sound level meters are precision instruments that measure sound pressure levels. Over time and with usage, their performance can drift. Calibration ensures that the SLM provides readings that are accurate to a known standard. Inaccurate measurements can lead to misinterpretations, which can have significant consequences, especially in critical applications like noise exposure assessments or environmental noise studies.
  2. Compliance with Standards: Many professional and international standards require periodic calibration of sound level meters. This includes standards set by organizations like the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Calibration ensures that the measurements taken with the SLM are following these standards, making them valid and acceptable for official and regulatory purposes.
  3. Consistency Over Time: Regular calibration allows for consistent measurements over time. This is particularly important in long-term monitoring or studies where data is collected over extended periods. Without regular calibration, it’s challenging to determine if changes in readings are due to actual changes in the noise environment or inaccuracies in the instrument.
  4. Quality Assurance: For laboratories and organizations that value quality assurance, calibration is a standard procedure to ensure that all equipment is working at its best. This not only ensures that the data being collected is of high quality but also upholds the reputation of the organization, especially if the data is being used for research, publication, or policymaking.
  5. Cost Efficiency: While calibration may involve some costs, in the long run, it can lead to cost savings. Using an uncalibrated instrument can lead to errors which might require repeated measurements, leading to wasted time and resources. Moreover, in cases where sound level measurements have legal or regulatory implications, the costs associated with incorrect data due to a lack of calibration can be significantly higher.