Attenuation. When sound travels through a medium, its intensity naturally diminishes with distance due to the spreading of the sound waves - an inherent effect of its propagation. However, the material through which the sound is passing reduces this intensity further through scattering - the reflection of the sound in directions other than its original direction of propagation, and absorption - the conversion of the sound energy into other forms of energy. The combined effect of scattering and absorption is called attenuation.