Work Item
ASTM WK76144

New Guide for Application of Speech Privacy Metrics in Healthcare Environments

1. Scope

1.1 This guide discusses and describes the best practice application of ASTM speech privacy metrics, or ASTM sound insulation metrics used indirectly to specify/measure levels of speech privacy, in the design and commissioning of healthcare facilities and environments. 1.2 The guide does not set or recommend target values for the speech privacy metrics, but rather recommends the appropriate metric for the specification and measurement of speech privacy in individual locations within healthcare environments. If existing metrics for evaluating speech privacy in office environments are deemed insufficient by the working group to be used accurately in the design and/or measurement of speech privacy in healthcare environments, the requirements for a new ASTM Test Method Standard for assessing speech privacy in healthcare settings should be proposed by the working group as a new work item.


Speech Privacy; Healthcare; Hospitals; Clinics; Confidentiality


Various organisations publish speech privacy performance guidance for healthcare settings using ASTM metrics such as Articulation Index (E1130) and Speech Privacy Class (E2638). Others require a particular Sound Transmission Class (E336) rating or Composite STCc rating with or without a controlled minimum background sound level to achieve a certain level of speech privacy. The metrics used in these guidance documents were developed for open and closed office environments rather than healthcare environments. The goals of this work item are to (i) review how ASTM speech privacy metrics are being used and perceived in the design of healthcare settings by ANSI/ASA, ASHRAE, FGI, and other guidelines/criteria across various organisations and jurisdictions, and (iii) determine whether either a new evaluation metric is required/an improvement, or (iii) provide reccomendations for the adaptation of the existing methods/metrics to healthcare settings, and/or (iv) issue additional guidance within the standards on their correct use in healthcare environment design and post-completion evaluation. Establishing performance criteria or design guidelines is outwith the scope of this work item and will be left to the various organisations. End users of this guide will be those involved in the acoustical design of healthcare environments such as acoustical consultants, specifiers, etc.

The title and scope are in draft form and are under development within this ASTM Committee.


Developed by Subcommittee: E33.02

Committee: E33

Staff Manager: Kelly Paul

Work Item Status

Date Initiated: 03-03-2021

Technical Contact: Erik Miller-Klein

Item: 000