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Efecto Lombard o Reflejo Lombard 01

The Lombard Effect, also called the Lombard Reflex, is the involuntary tendency to increase the volume of the voice to make ourselves better understood when we are in a noisy place or with unclear acoustics. It was discovered in 1909 by the French ENT specialist Étienne Lombard and it is the reason why we find ourselves hoarse after a concert or a night out at a discotheque; a consequence of trying to make ourselves understood by shouting in noisy environment.

We also suffer from this in very crowded restaurants with bad acoustics, where reverberation prevents effective communication with the people closest to us, which makes us raise our volume, forcing our voice and also contributing to the increasing sound nuisance. And it is the main reason why teachers scold their students in class: "Everyone shut up now, I can't understand your schoolmate!”

This disorder in our way of communicating not only affects the volume, but also the tone and frequency, and causes us to pronounce words longer, with more emphasis on the pronunciation of vowels. Studies reveal that this does not only happen to humans. Frogs and birds in noisy environments have been found to respectively croak and chirp louder.

The way to prevent the Lombard Effect is to achieve clear sound environments where the volume and sound quality are appropriate for conversation. In hotels, restaurants, classrooms and offices it is essential to ensure proper acoustic conditioning. This can be achieved with the strategic placement of sound-absorbent acoustic panels, which mitigate those sound alterations that prevent acoustic comfort.

 

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