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Auditory masking of wanted and unwanted sounds in a city park
KTH, School of Engineering Sciences (SCI), Aeronautical and Vehicle Engineering, Marcus Wallenberg Laboratory MWL.
2010 (English)In: Noise Control Engineering Journal, ISSN 0736-2501, Vol. 58, no 5, 524-531 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

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.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. Vol. 58, no 5, 524-531 p.
National Category
Fluid Mechanics and Acoustics
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-27968ISI: 000285049400007ScopusID: 2-s2.0-78650385668OAI: diva2:382901
Swedish Research Council
QC 20110103Available from: 2011-01-03 Created: 2011-01-03 Last updated: 2011-01-03Bibliographically approved

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Bolin, Karl
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