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Perceptual Dimensions of Fan Noise and Their Relationship to Indexes Based On the Specific Loudness

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Fan noise is a typical part of environmental noise perceived by humans in their daily life. In order to successfully develop more pleasant fan sounds, it is desirable to understand and characterize perceptually relevant aspects of fan noise beyond current technical measures like the dB(A). The aim of this study is a determination of the perceptual dimensions of fan noise, an identification of those dimensions which are relevant for the (un-)pleasantness and the development of (psycho-)acoustic indexes reflecting the most relevant perceptual dimensions. In a first experiment, a semantic differential was developed based on a free verbalization of adjectives and a rating of their suitability. In a second experiment, 35 different fan noises were rated by 45 participants using the developed semantic differential consisting of 29 adjective scales. As a result of a principal component analysis (PCA), six perceptual dimensions could be identified as "pleasant", "humming", "shrill", "monotone", "reverberant" and "noise-like". Another PCA revealed five groups of sounds which differed systematically in terms of their semantic profiles and calculated specific loudness. Based on an analysis of the specific loudness patterns of the signals, two new indexes were derived that differ systematically among three major groups of ventilator sounds comprising of unpleasant, humming and pleasant sounds.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2019

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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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