A new approach to noise reduction measures

Together with the Audio Communication and Technical Acoustics departments of the Technical University of Berlin, we have been working since the middle of the year on ‚Testing psychoacoustic parameters for innovative noise reduction strategies’ (FE 02.0431/2019/IRB) for the German Federal Highway Research Institute (BASt).

In three successive experiments, we address the questions of which perceptual qualities humans associate with road traffic noise and how they evaluate such noise overall with respect to its annoyance. In particular, however, we are interested in how conventional and new noise control measures change the evaluation of recipients and which psychoacoustic parameters play a role in this process. Psychoacoustic parameters are technical measures that can be used to describe auditory perceptions inherent to noise sources. Examples include loudness, sharpness, roughness, fluctuation strength and tonality, which influence how annoying we perceive a (traffic) noise.

A new approach to noise control is acoustic masking, in which sounds are added to existing sound sources. These can be, for example, natural sounds such as the sound of rivers, birds chirping or fountains splashing. In the project, we aim to determine whether these and other new noise control measures can reduce the annoyance of traffic noise and which new psychoacoustic parameters and models can make a significant contribution to these efforts.

The studies are being conducted together with our partners in the Mixed Reality Design Lab of TU Berlin and UdK Berlin.

This report is based on parts of the research project carried out at the request of the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, represented by the Federal Highway Research Institute, under research project No. 02.0431/2019/IRB. The author is solely responsible for the content.