Volume 4, Number 5, 2020
|Number of page(s)||12|
|Section||Hearing, Audiology and Psychoacoustics|
|Published online||12 October 2020|
A psychoacoustical study to investigate the perceived unpleasantness of infrasound combined with audio-frequency sound
Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB), 38116 Braunschweig, Germany
2 Medizinische Physik, Universität Oldenburg, 26111 Oldenburg, Germany
* Corresponding author: firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 12 September 2020
At many immission sites of infrasound (frequency f < 20 Hz), humans are exposed to a mixture of infrasound and sound in the common audio-frequency range (audio sound, 20 Hz < f < 20 kHz). Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the auditory perception of infrasound and audio sound not only in isolation but also in combination. This laboratory study aims to investigate the perceived unpleasantness of infrasound (sinusoid at 12 Hz) and audio sound (sinusoid at 1000 Hz, pink-noise 250–4000 Hz), presented alone or in combination with each other. A pairwise comparison task and a rating task using a numerical scale were conducted with 19 normal hearing listeners. In addition, individual detection thresholds were determined for the infrasound stimulus. Combinations of infrasound and audio sound were rated as equally or more unpleasant than either sound presented alone. Inter-individual differences in unpleasantness ratings using the numerical scale were particularly high for stimuli containing infrasound. This can only in part be related to the large variability in infrasound thresholds. These findings suggest that simultaneous exposure to infrasound and audio sound can increase the perceived unpleasantness when both are presented at a sufficient level above the detection threshold.
Key words: Infrasound / Unpleasantness / Psychoacoustic scaling methods / Detection threshold
© E. Burke et al., Published by EDP Sciences, 2020
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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