Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Sound Understanding Of Indoor Acoustics Could Make Hearing Easier

Date:
September 14, 2006
Source:
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
Summary:
An innovative technique that, for the first time, accurately measures exactly how sound behaves in "real-world" situations is now under development -- and could improve acoustics in buildings ranging from concert halls to railway stations.

A shot in the dark: testing acoustics 1960's style in the Royal Festival Hall.
Credit: Image courtesy of Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

An innovative technique that, for the first time, accurately measures exactly how sound behaves in 'real-world' situations is now under development – and could improve acoustics in buildings ranging from concert halls to railway stations.

Related Articles


The potential impact of the technique, which could also assist in the development of more effective hearing aids, will be described at this year’s BA Festival of Science in Norwich.

The technique is designed to pinpoint precisely how indoor environments respond to music and speech while those areas are in everyday use. This opens up the prospect of basing acoustic design on more realistic information about the way sound behaves than has previously been possible. It may also contribute to the development of hearing aids that adapt the way they process sound according to the acoustic environment they are in, providing a much better listening experience for hearing aid users than is currently achievable.

The conventional way of measuring acoustics has been to make a short blast of noise (e.g. a gunshot), record it and analyse how it dies away (or ‘decays’). The noise has to be very loud so that the environment’s effect on it can be assessed across the full range of sound, from very loud to very quiet – only in this way can comprehensive information on an environment’s acoustic performance be obtained. However, gunshot noise poses a risk to hearing and is unpleasant to listen to. This means that measurements taken in unoccupied areas are the norm even though these do not accurately indicate ‘real’ acoustic performance - when people are present, moving and talking etc.

Now, engineers at the University of Salford are exploring whether music played at an average level of audibility, or even the conversation of people in the indoor environment being tested, could be used instead of the loud, short blast of noise. The work is being funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

Exploiting the major advances in computing power and sophistication achieved in the IT sector in recent years, the team is developing groundbreaking computer programmes capable of isolating snippets or phrases from normal music or speech, analysing their decay and extrapolating this data so it provides an accurate indication of an environment’s effect on sound. Since loud test sounds are not required, this approach avoids the need to vacate the environment when testing takes place, enabling more realistic acoustic data to be gathered.

Trevor Cox, Professor of Acoustic Engineering at Salford University, is leading this pioneering research and will be discussing progress at the BA Festival on 8th September.

“Our work could deliver a step-change in understanding how rooms behave acoustically,” says Professor Cox. “It could help eliminate a lot of guesswork on the effect that actual usage of indoor environments will have on their acoustics.”

The research could lead to changes within around 5-10 years in the way that indoor environments are designed and constructed. In visual terms, most changes are unlikely to be obvious.

“The key differences could be in altering the way that building materials absorb or reflect sound by treating them prior to incorporation in a building,” says Professor Cox. “There’s a long way to go but the potential impact, in terms of improving quality of life for millions of people, is obvious.”


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. "Sound Understanding Of Indoor Acoustics Could Make Hearing Easier." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 September 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/09/060908193225.htm>.
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. (2006, September 14). Sound Understanding Of Indoor Acoustics Could Make Hearing Easier. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/09/060908193225.htm
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. "Sound Understanding Of Indoor Acoustics Could Make Hearing Easier." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/09/060908193225.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) IKEA is out with a new convertible desk that can convert from a sitting desk to a standing one with just the push of a button. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Real-Life Transformer Robot Walks, Then Folds Into a Car

Real-Life Transformer Robot Walks, Then Folds Into a Car

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) Brave Robotics and Asratec teamed with original Transformers toy company Tomy to create a functional 5-foot-tall humanoid robot that can march and fold itself into a 3-foot-long sports car. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Police Testing New Gunfire Tracking Technology

Police Testing New Gunfire Tracking Technology

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) A California-based startup has designed new law enforcement technology that aims to automatically alert dispatch when an officer's gun is unholstered and fired. Two law enforcement agencies are currently testing the technology. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins