The Acoustical Society of America (ASA) includes 13 technical committees (TCs). The TCs promote developments in their fields and are responsible for coverage of their subject matter. Members of the Society are encouraged to maintain close contact with the committees in their fields of interest. Many TCs organize student paper awards, so student members are encouraged to take part in TCs. To find out more about a TC, click on the title to go to their website.
Acoustical Oceanography is the use of underwater sound to study the sea, its boundaries, and its contents. Acoustical methods are used to study various topics, such as:
- Ocean climate, weather, waves and turbulence
- Habitat characterization
- Variations in ocean chemistry
- Seafloor properties
- Air-sea interactions, e.g., air bubbles
The field of Acoustical Oceanography is linked closely with underwater acoustics, as well as chemical oceanography, geological oceanography, and physical oceanography.
Animal Bioacoustics is the study of sound in animals. We study terrestrial and marine mammals, fish, bats, birds, insects, frogs, etc. Our research includes:
- Animal communication
- Sound production
- Effects of noise on animals
Animal Bioacoustics is highly inter-disciplinary, bridging physics, engineering, biology, ecology, computer science, oceanography, and other disciplines.
Architectural Acoustics is the study of sound in spaces in and around buildings. Topics of particular interest include:
- Room Acoustics
- Airborne and impact transmission in building structures
- Airborne and structure borne noise control
- Noise control of building systems
- Electroacoustic systems
- Psychophysics and psychoacoustics
Since this field balances the science of sound with art and human perception, architectural acousticians work on a variety of projects including performance spaces, recording studios, educational facilities, healthcare settings, residences, outdoor settings, and many other types of venues.
Biomedical acoustics is the study of sound generation and propagation in the human body. Some relevant areas of study include:
- Diagnostic and therapeutic applications of acoustics in medicine
- Acoustic propagation in biological materials
- Ultrasound field calibration, exposimetry and dosimetry
- Medical imaging and signal processing
- Physiological measurements
Biomedical acousticians may work with engineers, physicians, and speech therapists.
Acoustic Engineering is the branch of engineering concerned with sound and vibration. Acoustical engineers are typically concerned with the design, analysis and control of sound and work on:
- Design and modeling of acoustical and vibrational transducers, arrays, and transduction systems
- Instrumentation, metrology, and calibration
- Measurement and computational techniques as they relate to acoustical phenomena
- Engineering of materials and devices
Musical Acoustics is the study of sound related to the production, transmission, and perception of all things musical. Topics of particular current interests include:
- Physics of musical sound production
- Music perception and cognition
- Analysis and synthesis of musical sounds and composition
Since musical acoustics combines elements of art and science, people with training in this field can work in the entertainment industry, in education, in recording and film studios, in the musical instrument industry and much more.
In acoustics, Noise can be any sound that might be considered objectionable or that might interfere with other sounds. Since we are surrounded by noise, scientists research many things such as:
- Effects of noise exposure
- Hearing loss
- Noise reduction
- Speech privacy
- Noise regulations
The field is very broad. Physicists, engineers, audiologists, psychologists, architects and more are interested in noise research.
Physical Acoustics is the area of acoustics that studies the underlying physics of acoustical phenomena in solids, liquids, and gasses. Scientists interested in physical acoustics might study:
- Infrasound and shock waves
- Industrial or Biomedical Ultrasonics
- Materials Physics and Metamaterials
Physicists, biomedical engineers, structural engineers, geologists, atmospheric scientists, aerospace engineers, materials scientists, and more are involved with physical acoustics.
Psychological and Physiological Acoustics
Psychological and Physiological Acoustics encompasses research on all aspects of the auditory system of humans and animals, from anatomy of the hearing organ through physiological mechanisms of sound coding to perception of sound. Some areas of research include:
- Perception and perceptual organization of sound
- Anatomy and function of the auditory pathways
- Hearing disorders, hearing loss and auditory prostheses
- Vibrotactile and vestibular sensation
- Effects of noise on animals
Psychological and Physiological Acoustics is an interdisciplinary field with members working in academic, industrial and clinical professional environments. Members have training and academic degrees in various areas that include: psychology, physics, biomedical engineering, electrical engineering, neuroscience, and audiology.
Signal Processing in Acoustics
Signal Processing is the development of new methods to understand acoustic phenomena. Signal processors seek to extract information from acoustic measurements, and can be found in virtually every field of acoustics. Examples include:
- Detection of acoustic sources and scatterers
- Estimation and tracking of sound sources and of the acoustic responsiveness of the media
Signal Processors use time-frequency analysis, Bayesian signal processing, wavelet analysis, and much more.
Speech Communication is the study of the production, transmission, and perception of spoken language, including:
- Speech production and perception
- Acoustic phonetics
- Speech acquisition
- Speech and hearing disorders
- Speech processing
Those interested in speech communication come from many different disciplines, including physics, speech and hearing science, experimental psychology, linguistics, electrical engineering, and others.
Structural Acoustics and Vibration
The area of Structural Acoustics and Vibration is concerned with the scientific examination of mechanical vibrations, shock, or structure borne wave propagation within solid media, and the interaction of these structural dynamic systems with one or more adjacent acoustic environments. Some examples of current research topics include:
- Active noise or vibration control
- Engineered acoustic metamaterials
- Acoustic cloaking
- Structural health monitoring
Structural acoustics and vibration practitioners utilize one or more of the following modern scientific methods of investigation in their workday activities: (1) theoretical/analytical calculations, (2) experimental examination, or (3) computational physics-based modeling and simulation.
Underwater Acoustics is the study of sounds moving through water, such as the ocean, a lake or even water in a tank. Research includes the following topics:
- Propagation phenomena
- Scattering and reverberation
- Ambient noise
- Signal processing and SONAR algorithms
- Underwater acoustic instrumentation
The field of underwater acoustics is closely related to acoustical oceanography, animal bioacoustics and physical acoustics.