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A Comparison of Loudness Change in Signals That Continuously Rise or Fall in Amplitude

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A sound that increases continuously in strength over a given range at a given rate may result in a change in loudness that is different than the result when the sound decreases in strength over the same range and at the same rate. But, seemingly inconsistent results have been recently published, some authors declaring that the loudness change was greater for increasing levels and others showing the opposite (see [1] for a summary of the different points of view). Part of the disagreement may stem from methodological differences among studies. To explore the effects of some features of these studies, an experiment was run, that is described in the present paper. Loudness change was measured by magnitude estimation of initial and final loudness of increasing or decreasing sweeps, using experimental conditions that make possible a comparison with previous research: Test sounds were pure tones at 1 and 4 kHz and a broadband noise (0.1–15 kHz, flat spectrum), with durations of 1.8, 10 and 50 s, and level changes in the interval of 45 to 75 or 60 to 75 dB, increasing or decreasing. Loudness change, defined as the ratio between estimated loudness at the beginning and the end of the sweep, is found not to be significantly different in most cases for increasing and decreasing level changes. In the cases where a difference is found, it is in favour of decreasing levels.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2003

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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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