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Responses to Noise in Urban Parks and in Rural Quiet Areas

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Nowadays the protection of quiet areas is an issue of increasing importance, as also recognized in the European Directive 2002/49/EC on the environmental noise. Dealing with the demanded protection of quiet areas, it is important to characterize the soundscape of these environments properly, taking into account the multidimensionality of the individual perception which includes the effects of non-acoustic factors on subjective evaluation, such as visual impression and matching the personal expectation of the environment with the actual experience. This paper describes two experimental investigations carried out recently in Italy. The first deals with noise surveys and collection of subjective appraisals of three urban parks in Naples and the second consists of laboratory listening tests where sounds recorded binaurally in countryside parks have been mixed with sounds from some type of sources at different signal-to-noise ratios and played back by headphones to a group of subjects. The results obtained show that the subject's expectation to hear a sound in a specific environment, that is its congruence with the environment where it is heard, influences the corresponding annoyance. In particular, the more the sound is congruent with the expectation of the park, the less is the evoked annoyance and, conversely, the more is its acceptability. Furthermore, the acceptability of the sound increases with decreasing of its level and detectability of non natural sounds.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2006

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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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