Auditory masking of wanted and unwanted sounds in a city park

Nilsson, Mats E.; Alvarsson, Jesper; Rådsten-Ekman, Maria; Bolin, Karl
September 2010
Noise Control Engineering Journal;Sep/Oct2010, Vol. 58 Issue 5, p524
Academic Journal
Auditory masking of unwanted sounds by wanted sounds has been suggested as a tool for outdoor acoustic design. Anecdotal evidence exists for successful applications, for instance the use of fountain sounds for masking road traffic noise in urban parks. However, basic research on auditory masking of environmental sounds is lacking. Therefore, we conducted two listening experiments, using binaural recordings from a city park in Stockholm exposed to traffic noise from a main road and sound from a large fountain located in the center of the park. In the first experiment, 17 listeners assessed the loudness of the road traffic noise and fountain sounds from recordings at various distances from the road, with or without the fountain turned on. In the second experiment, 16 listeners assessed the loudness of systematic combinations of a singular fountain sound and a singular road traffic noise. The results of the first experiment showed that the fountain sound reduced the loudness of road traffic noise close to the fountain, and that the fountain sound was equally loud or louder than the road traffic noise in a region 20-30 m around the fountain. This suggests that the fountain added to the quality of the city park soundscape by reducing the loudness of the (presumably unwanted) traffic noise. On the other hand, results from the second experiment showed that road traffic noise was harder to mask than fountain sound, and that the partial loudness of both sources was considerably less than expected from a model of energetic masking. This indicates that auditory processes, possibly related to target-masker confusion, may reduce the overall masking effect of environmental sounds.


Related Articles

  • Control of radiated noise from a ship's cabin floor using a floating floor. Won-Ho Joo; Sung-Hoon Kim; Jong-Gug Bae; Suk-Yoon Hong // Noise Control Engineering Journal;Sep/Oct2009, Vol. 57 Issue 5, p507 

    In order to develop the noise control design for a ship's cabin, a series of acoustic tests were carried out in a large scale noise test facilities with two reverberation rooms and deckhouse mock-up. From the tests, it was found that the combined noise level of a cabin was dominated by the...

  • Neural Correlates of Auditory Perceptual Awareness under Informational Masking. Gutschalk, Alexander; Micheyl, Christophe; Oxenham, Andrew J // PLoS Biology;Jun2008, Vol. 6 Issue 6, pe138 

    How does the brain process sound when we can't always be aware of all auditory information at once? A new study shows that auditory processing depends on whether the sound is consciously perceived.

  • Estimates of human cochlear tuning at low levels using forward and simultaneous masking. Oxenham, Andrew J.; Shera, Christopher A. // JARO - Journal of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology;Dec2003, Vol. 4 Issue 4, p541 

    Auditory filter shapes were derived from psychophysical measurements in eight normal-hearing listeners using a variant of the notched-noise method for brief signals in forward and simultaneous masking. Signal frequencies of 1, 2, 4, 6, and 8 kHz were tested. The signal level was fixed at 10 dB...

  • Comfort Zone.  // Systems Contractor News;Apr2012, Vol. 19 Issue 4, p28 

    The article discusses the aspects of establishing the quality for sound masking. It mentions that acoustical comfort for sound masking can be measured by the five qualities including the audio distribution range of the sound, the uniformity of the sound masking throughout the entire space and...

  • Masking Redux I: An Optimized Masking Method. Turner, Robert G. // Journal of the American Academy of Audiology;Jan2004, Vol. 15 Issue 1, p17 

    This is the first in a series of two papers on masking. The objective of these papers is to develop a masking protocol that provides valid measures of threshold and is, in general, faster than the plateau method. In this paper, a masking method is developed that can replace the traditional...

  • Masking Redux II: A Recommended Masking Protocol. Turner, Robert G. // Journal of the American Academy of Audiology;Jan2004, Vol. 15 Issue 1, p29 

    This is the second in a series of two papers on masking. The objective of these papers is to develop a masking protocol that provides valid measures of threshold and is, in general, faster than the plateau method. In the first paper, a masking method was presented that can replace the...

  • Sequential Grouping Modulates the Effect of Non-Simultaneous Masking on Auditory Intensity Resolution. Oberfeld, Daniel; Stahn, Patricia // PLoS ONE;Oct2012, Vol. 7 Issue 10, Special section p1 

    The presence of non-simultaneous maskers can result in strong impairment in auditory intensity resolution relative to a condition without maskers, and causes a complex pattern of effects that is difficult to explain on the basis of peripheral processing. We suggest that the failure of selective...

  • Auditory Attentional Blink: Masking the Second Target is Necessary, Delayed Masking is Sufficient. Vachon, François; Tremblay, Sébastien // Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology;Dec2005, Vol. 59 Issue 4, p279 

    When two target items (T1 and T2) are presented in rapid succession among fillers, processing T2 is often impaired. This phenomenon is known as the attentional blink (AB). Within the visual modality, this second-target deficit generally occurs only if T2 is masked by a trailing item. The current...

  • Acoustical Measurements Using Perceptual Masking Effects or Musical Compositions. Paulo, Joel Preto; Bento Coelho, J. L. // Interdisciplinarity in Engineering;2014, Vol. 17, p781 

    The swept sine technique has proven to lead to accurate estimations of the room impulse response, even in situations of low SNR, non-linearity and time-variance of the system under test. Regarding the distributive property of the convolution, the swept sine signal can be split into several...


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics