Noise Research

 

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  Classroom in a primary school Copyright: ITA

The area of noise research deals with the sources of noise and the effects of noise on human beings. Aurally-accurate assessment of noise proves to be difficult. Not only the complex structure of noise and noise sources as well as the context and situation when noise occurs affects the noise exposure and perception of a single person.

Well-known standardized strain parameters, such as A-weighted sound pressure level in dB(A), do not allow any conclusions with regard to the actually experienced noise strain or their long-term effects.

The focus of our work are the effects of noise on auditive attention and hearing process of children and adults. Research in preschools and primary schools have shown that it is important to use a measuring technologies especially developed for children to assess, record and to evaluate noise for children. Former research has already shown, that children differs from adults significantly (Binaural Technology (artificial heads for children)).

A further aspect of our research is the aurally-accurate reproduction of noise in listening experiments for children to achieve realistic noise scenes from the daily life of children.

 
 

Mobile auditory research

Mobile Listening Booth Copyright: ITA Mobile Listening Booth

The performance of listening experiments does not only bring along a lot of organizational effort for the scientific staff, but also demands resources from the participants in the form of time and travel expenses. These inconveniences often represent an additional hurdle for the participation in scientific studies, especially for elderly or persons with limited mobility. When testing children, a responsible person is required to take care of transportation to the test laboratory and supervision during possible waiting periods on site. For increased practicability, a mobile hearing laboratory was therefore built, allowing listening experiments to be conducted directly in front of schools or retirement homes. The interior of a caravan was acoustically optimized, shielded from external noise sources and all necessary technical equipment was integrated.

 
  Interior of the mobile listening booth Copyright: ITA Interior of the mobile listening booth

The use of virtual acoustic environments and their binaural reproduction via headphones, research hearing aids or loudspeakers with acoustic crosstalk cancellation filters allows, for example, the investigation of noise effects under controlled conditions, the effects of hearing loss on speech comprehension in complex acoustic scenes, and the comparison of localization performance in different test groups – with reduced organizational effort for the participants.

 
 

For more details on implementation and evaluation, please refer to the following publication:
Pausch, F., Fels, J., MobiLab – A Mobile Laboratory for On-Site Listening Experiments in Virtual Acoustic Environments. Acta Acustica united with Acustica, 105(5):875–887, 2019