Speaking more quietly might help slow the spread of the novel coronavirus from person to person, according to a new study from the University of California, Davis.
The study said a reduction of six decibels in speech level can provide the same benefits as doubling a room’s ventilation, Reuters reports.
Speaking can eject microscopic droplets of the coronavirus, which can infect people.
But talking with an increase of 35 decibels in loudness — the difference between a whisper and a shout — can boost the emission by 50 times, according to Sky News.
Not all indoor environments are equal in terms of aerosol transmission risk. A crowded but quiet classroom is much less dangerous than an uncrowded karaoke bar where patrons are socially distanced but talking and singing over loud music. — William Ristenpart, lead researcher of the study, per Sky News.
Scientists said the findings suggest that “quiet rooms” in indoor spaces — like restaurants and hospitals — might help the disease from spreading inside of those rooms.
- “The results suggest that public health authorities should consider implementing ‘quiet zones’ in high-risk indoor environments, such as hospital waiting rooms or dining facilities,” the study authors said, according to Reuters.