University of Louisville

Poster Title

Auditory Distance Perception: Effects of Reverberant Energy Truncation

Institution

University of Louisville

Abstract

Studying auditory distance perception is essential in order to add to the description of perceived auditory space in three dimensions. Auditory distance perception plays an exceptionally important role when visual information is obscured. While previous studies have shown that visual distance perception is quite accurate, auditory distance perception has been shown to be less precise. Previous studies have also shown that four cues are used to judge distance from a sound source. These include the ratio of direct-to-reverberant energy, intensity, spectrum and binaural differences. Listeners encounter environments with sound reflecting surfaces most often. Distances are easier to estimate in enclosed spaces because the direct-to-reverberant energy cue is available. The ratio of direct-to reverberant energy decreases as distance to the source increases. The present study focuses on altering the ratio of direct-to-reverberant energy by truncating the decaying reverberant energy tail. In this experiment, listeners, inside a sound attenuating room, listened to auditory signals presented through headphones. Following each signal, participants reported their estimates in feet of how far away the source of the signals seemed. The signals differed in source distance, duration and reverberant energy. Although there was substantial individual variability, overall, a statistically significant decrease in distance estimate accuracy was observed for the short signal with truncated reverberant energy - the condition that most altered the direct-to-reverberant energy ratio relative to natural listening conditions.

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Auditory Distance Perception: Effects of Reverberant Energy Truncation

Studying auditory distance perception is essential in order to add to the description of perceived auditory space in three dimensions. Auditory distance perception plays an exceptionally important role when visual information is obscured. While previous studies have shown that visual distance perception is quite accurate, auditory distance perception has been shown to be less precise. Previous studies have also shown that four cues are used to judge distance from a sound source. These include the ratio of direct-to-reverberant energy, intensity, spectrum and binaural differences. Listeners encounter environments with sound reflecting surfaces most often. Distances are easier to estimate in enclosed spaces because the direct-to-reverberant energy cue is available. The ratio of direct-to reverberant energy decreases as distance to the source increases. The present study focuses on altering the ratio of direct-to-reverberant energy by truncating the decaying reverberant energy tail. In this experiment, listeners, inside a sound attenuating room, listened to auditory signals presented through headphones. Following each signal, participants reported their estimates in feet of how far away the source of the signals seemed. The signals differed in source distance, duration and reverberant energy. Although there was substantial individual variability, overall, a statistically significant decrease in distance estimate accuracy was observed for the short signal with truncated reverberant energy - the condition that most altered the direct-to-reverberant energy ratio relative to natural listening conditions.