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Effects of Inter-Stimulus Interval and Duration of Sound Elements on Annoyance

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This study was designed to investigate the effects of sound level, inter-stimulus interval and duration of sound elements (i.e. the determinants of the A-weighted equivalent continuous sound pressure level) on annoyance. Relationships between annoyance, conspicuousness and startle ratings, and between these ratings and sound level, inter-stimulus interval, duration of sound elements, heart rate and skin conductance responses were also investigated. The experimental sounds consisted of a continuous sound and sound elements having three different inter-stimulus intervals (1, 5 and 25 s), three different durations (0.2, 1 and 5 s), and two sound levels (52 and 80 dBA). In a laboratory experiment, 72 subjects were exposed to three sets of sound, each consisting of sound bursts or a continuous sound. The psycho-acoustical ratings were obtained, and the psychophysiological responses measured. In regard to the temporal factors, the A-weighed equivalent continuous sound pressure level was found to be an appropriate descriptor of annoyance. The annoyance of repeated sound bursts was not closely associated with the time pattern of the sound stimulation. The principal component analysis of the psycho-acoustical measures established three components associated with annoyance, conspicuousness and startle. It seems that at the beginning of a sound set both the startling and the conspicuousness quality of sound are closely associated with its annoying quality. Later during a sound set only conspicuousness is associated with annoyance. The psychophysiological measurements revealed four heart rate and three skin conductance response components. Duration and inter-stimulus interval of sound elements as well as startle and annoyance ratings were associatioted to some extent with these psychophysiological indicators.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2002

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  • Acta Acustica united with Acustica, published together with the European Acoustics Association (EAA), is an international, peer-reviewed journal on acoustics. It publishes original articles on all subjects in the field of acoustics, such as general linear acoustics, nonlinear acoustics, macrosonics, flow acoustics, atmospheric sound, underwater sound, ultrasonics, physical acoustics, structural acoustics, noise control, active control, environmental noise, building acoustics, room acoustics, acoustic materials, acoustic signal processing, computational and numerical acoustics, hearing, audiology and psychoacoustics, speech, musical acoustics, electroacoustics, auditory quality of systems. It reports on original scientific research in acoustics and on engineering applications. The journal considers scientific papers, technical and applied papers, book reviews, short communications, doctoral thesis abstracts, etc. In irregular intervals also special issues and review articles are published.
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