The 12th ICBEN (International Commission on Biological Effects of Noise) Congress on Noise as a Public Health Problem was held June 18-22, 2017 in Zurich, Switzerland. The congress targeted everybody interested in the vast field of auditory and non-auditory effects of noise.
The “tropical” Zurich?!
I arrived on the Sunday in “tropical” Zurich and was lucky enough to find that my hotel room had well-functioning air con. Not all conference participants were as lucky, as I found out later. Carrying some exhibition gear up the hills and steep steps to the congress venue, I quickly understood that these days in Zurich would be………..warm, but exciting. Later that afternoon it was time for the opening and welcome reception and people arrived slightly clammy and red-faced. Nothing cool drinks and meeting old and new friends couldn’t fix though.
It all officially started the following day, and already from the beginning, the President of ICBEN, Mathias Basner, officially declared the ICBEN conference as casual, and he visualised it by taking off his tie and jacket. From then on all kinds of casual outfits could be seen, including shorts of various fashions. During the opening session, Stephen Stansfeld received the ICBEN Award for Excellence in Research on the Biological Effects of Noise, handed over to him by Larry Finegold, who gave a warm award speech, highlighting the background of Stephen’s research achievements. And then it was Stephen’s turn to share his background and thoughts with the audience, and deliver his keynote speech: “Noise sensitivity, health and mortality – a review and new analyses”.
Ecophon was one of the main sponsors of ICBEN 2017 and presented five conference presentations, within the field of room acoustics:
- The effect of acoustic absorbing wall panels in classrooms (Carsten Svensson, Erling Nilsson)
- How does staff perceive the sound environment in operating theatres and treatment rooms with the present standards and building regulations? (Maria Quinn)
- Effective open learning landscapes and the well-being of teachers and students (Colin Campbell, Jeroen Vugts, Esther van Oorschot-Slaat, Holger Brokmann)
- Health effect of variation in noise absorption in open-plan office: a cross-over design field study (Nils Rage, Frans Davidsson)
- Psychoacoustics survey results: Psychological factors affecting noise distraction in the workplace (Nigel Oseland, Paige Hodsman)
I would also like to highlight the presentation by Jikke Reinten (below) who presented her research so far, covering the field of healthcare acoustics. Great to see the academic progress of a former Ecophon colleague!
- Context-specific analysis of the sound environment at the workplace and its meaning for a task (Jikke Reinten)
One of the best conferences
My overall impression of ICBEN 2017 was that this was one of the best conferences I have been to (and I’ve been to quite a few by now!). It was very well organised, only a few parallel sessions, the right amount of and relevant participants, fantastic technical assistance during sessions, good location (both regarding Zurich the city and the venue) and, last but not least, very interesting and relevant sessions and speeches. Zurich is a really beautiful city with many qualities, and as always, I never had enough time to explore it properly. But most likely I will come back.
I and we would like to sincerely thank the persons who were involved in organising the ICBEN 2017 conference. Behind the curtains many good human resources existed, but a special thank you to Mark Brink (Congress Chairman), Mathias Basner (President of ICBEN), Kurt Eggenschwiler (President of the Swiss Acoustical Society SGA-SSA), Norm Broner (Chairman of the Low Frequency Noise and Vibration Conference, which was organised as well) – and, absolutely not to be forgotten, Martina Speiser (Senior Congress Manager, Organizers Switzerland Ltd.), who made this run very smoothly and never seemed to be stressed.
Sweden and Stockholm were the lucky city and country to be selected as the host of the next ICBEN conference, 2020. Maria Albin, who will be actively involved in that conference, was very happy to welcome people already now, three years in advance. So, maybe we will see you then in Stockholm 2020?!
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