Article

Tuning the cognitive environment: Sound masking with “natural” sounds in open-plan offices

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Abstract

With the gain in popularity of open-plan office design and the engineering efforts to achieve acoustical comfort for building occupants, a majority of workers still report dissatisfaction in their workplace environment. Office acoustics influence organizational effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction through meeting appropriate requirements for speech privacy and ambient sound levels. Implementing a sound masking system is one tried-and-true method of achieving privacy goals. Although each sound masking system is tuned for its specific environment, the signal—random steady state electronic noise, has remained the same for decades. This session explores how “natural” sounds may be used as an alternative to this standard masking signal employed so ubiquitously in sound masking systems in the contemporary office environment. As an unobtrusive background sound, possessing the appropriate spectral characteristics, this proposed use of “natural” sounds for masking challenges the convention that masking sounds should be as meaningless as possible. Based on psychophysical data and a sound-field analysis through an auditory model, we hypothesize that “natural” sounds as masking sounds have the ability (with equal success as conventional masking sounds) to meet standards and criteria for speech privacy while enhancing cognitive functioning, optimizing the ability to concentrate, and increasing overall worker satisfaction.

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... Nature Sounds [1] has between 500,000-1,000,000 installs). Ambient sounds, which include background music and nature-based soundscapes, aim to limit distraction and increase productivity [2,3]. In addition to simply masking disruptive external noise, music and soundscapes can both also improve mood, relaxation and performance within individual tasks [4,5]. ...
... Background sound has been shown to mask disruptive environmental sounds [2], aid productivity [3] and improve mood [4]. This may be part of the reason that listening to background music during work tasks has become popular with young people [8]. ...
... This contrasts with previous work that demonstrated that the use of natural elements in technology and workplace design may have a beneficial impact on wellbeing [20] which was not seen here, at least in the short term. However, no negative impact was seen from introducing the soundscapes, so they could still prove useful in the masking of outside disturbances [2]. Additionally, as was seen in the diary study, participants did feel an impact on their mood. ...
Conference Paper
Smartphone apps that enable workers to listen to nature soundscapes are increasingly popular. There is, however, little evidence that these soundscapes have the effects that they claim to have. Previous research exploring the effect of listening to background music during tasks has shown that while such music may have a positive effect on emotional state, it can disrupt reading and memory-based tasks. This paper explores the effects of nature soundscapes on mood and performance. A diary study of the use of soundscapes whilst studying suggests that students view such soundscapes as: aiding focus whilst studying; creating feelings of calm and peace; helping to manage stress and anxiety; and hiding distracting sounds. A second study -- an experiment -- investigated the effects of nature soundscapes on mood and performance. Whilst we found no effect of soundscapes on mood and arousal during the task, our results demonstrate that high acoustic variation in a soundscape may cause a disruption to serial recall tasks. The implications of our findings suggest that nature soundscapes with high acoustic variation may be detrimental to task performance compared to working in silence for serial based thinking tasks.
... We found that the model predicted the highest focus scores for classical music, followed by engineered soundscapes and natural sounds. These results complement previous studies which showed natural sounds and classical music to be beneficial for learning and concentration (Davies, 2000;DeLoach et al., 2015;Angwin et al., 2017;Liu et al., 2021). ...
Article
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The goal of this study was to investigate the effect of audio listened to through headphones on subjectively reported human focus levels, and to identify through objective measures the properties that contribute most to increasing and decreasing focus in people within their regular, everyday environment. Participants ( N = 62, 18–65 years) performed various tasks on a tablet computer while listening to either no audio (silence), popular audio playlists designed to increase focus (pre-recorded music arranged in a particular sequence of songs), or engineered soundscapes that were personalized to individual listeners (digital audio composed in real-time based on input parameters such as heart rate, time of day, location, etc.). Audio stimuli were delivered to participants through headphones while their brain signals were simultaneously recorded by a portable electroencephalography headband. Participants completed four 1-h long sessions at home during which different audio played continuously in the background. Using brain-computer interface technology for brain decoding and based on an individual’s self-report of their focus, we obtained individual focus levels over time and used this data to analyze the effects of various properties of the sounds contained in the audio content. We found that while participants were working, personalized soundscapes increased their focus significantly above silence ( p = 0.008), while music playlists did not have a significant effect. For the young adult demographic (18–36 years), all audio tested was significantly better than silence at producing focus ( p = 0.001–0.009). Personalized soundscapes increased focus the most relative to silence, but playlists of pre-recorded songs also increased focus significantly during specific time intervals. Ultimately we found it is possible to accurately predict human focus levels a priori based on physical properties of audio content. We then applied this finding to compare between music genres and revealed that classical music, engineered soundscapes, and natural sounds were the best genres for increasing focus, while pop and hip-hop were the worst. These insights can enable human and artificial intelligence composers to produce increases or decreases in listener focus with high temporal (millisecond) precision. Future research will include real-time adaptation of audio for other functional objectives beyond affecting focus, such as affecting listener enjoyment, drowsiness, stress and memory.
... Studies suggest that the impact of nature sound improves the recovery after stress compared to noise [4]. Nature sounds have been shown to mask annoying background sounds in offices [5]. Hui Ma and Shan Shu found that soundscapes had a stronger impact on psychological restoration in simulated open-plan offices compared with visual scenes and both continuous and intermittent had positive effects [6]. ...
Conference Paper
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This paper presents an ambient auditory display that communicates the time of day. Four soundscapes represent different quadrants of the clock. Auditory icons divide the quadrants into three parts that represent hours, and four partitions that represent every quarter of an hour. The auditory display is little intrusive and only informative to those who are privy to its principles. Suitable application areas are offices where staff can derive the time from the soundscape, while customers stay unaware and may only enjoy the calm, auditory nature scene. To experience the calm ambient character of the auditory display we suggest you to play the demo while reading the paper: https://tinyurl.com/y4yd8zkh .
... A mixture of sounds from a fountain and tweeting birds have also shown stress-relieving effects via the autonomic nervous system (Alvarsson, Wiens, and Nilsson 2010). The research by DeLoach, Carter, and Braasch (2015) demonstrated that the exposure to nature sounds improved the listener's moods and the ability to focus. Also, nature sounds, such as the sounds of rain, fire, and wind, are also used to aid in focus or sleep (Stanchina et al. 2005). ...
Article
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Unwind is a musical biofeedback interface which combines nature sounds and sedative music into a form of New-Age music for relaxation exercises. The nature sounds respond to the user’s physiological data, functioning as an informative layer for biofeedback display. The sedative music aims to induce calmness and evoke positive emotions. UnWind incorporates the benefits of biofeedback and sedative music to facilitate deep breathing, moderate arousal, and promote mental relaxation. We evaluated Unwind in a 2 × 2 factorial experiment with music and biofeedback as independent factors. Forty young adults performed the relaxation exercise under one of the following conditions after experiencing a stressful task: Nature sounds only (NS), Nature sounds with music (NM), and Auditory biofeedback with nature sounds (NSBFB), and UnWind musical biofeedback (NMBFB). The results revealed a significant interaction effect between music and biofeedback on the improvement of heart rate variability. The combination of music and nature sounds also showed benefits in lowering arousal and reducing self-report anxiety. We conclude with a discussion of UnWind for biofeedback and the wider potential of blending nature sounds with music as a musical interface.
... The second reason why nature sounds may improve cognitive functioning, which is more specifically related to the beneficial effects of nature environments (though is not mutually exclusive from the first explanation), is because nature sounds are perceived as restorative and have been associated with a number of positive health outcomes. For example, nature sounds have been shown to lower stress 6 , reduce perceived pain 14 , minimize self-reported distraction in open-office workspaces 15 , and lead to perceived attention restoration 16,17 . ...
Preprint
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The psychological benefits of interacting with nature have been discussed for well over a century. More recently, research has begun to assess how interactions with nature specifically may benefit cognition and cognitive development. Attention Restoration Theory (ART) posits that stimuli found in nature may restore directed attention functioning through reducing demands on the endogenous attention system. In the present experiment, we assessed whether nature-related cognitive benefits extended to auditory presentations of nature. To assess directed attention, we created a composite measure consisting of a backward digit span task and a dual n-back task. Participants completed these cognitive measures and an affective questionnaire before and after listening to and aesthetically judging either nature or urban soundscapes. Relative to participants who were exposed to urban soundscapes, we observed significant improvements in cognitive performance for individuals who listened to nature soundscapes. Urban soundscapes did not systematically affect performance either adversely or beneficially. The improvement in directed attention functioning was not meaningfully related to the aesthetic ratings of the soundscapes. These results provide initial evidence that brief experiences with nature sounds can improve directed attention functioning in a single experimental session.
... One famous example might be AmbientROOM [39], which modulates the volume and density of bird and rainfall sound to indicate the number of unread email messages and the value of a stock portfolio. Moreover, nature sounds also show a healthful effect, helping people fall asleep, reduce stress and boost moods [40]. People enjoy walking on forest paths, listening to the sounds of birds, or sitting under the eaves and listening to the music of rain. ...
Article
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Biofeedback systems enable the users’ awareness of their internal health status by displaying their physiological signal, and further facilitate them to move toward self-regulation and behaviour change. Single-modal biofeedback display can provide clear yet less engaging physiological information; a multimodal, immersive display could provide more engaging user experiences, but such a biofeedback system is relatively difficult to deploy. To strike a balance between engagement and ease of deployment, we present RESonance, a lightweight, immersive audio-visual biofeedback system for relaxation training. The system informs the users about their internal states (i.e., breath and heart rate viability) through ambient mediums, i.e., ambient light and nature soundscape, which can be provided by a lightweight infrastructure. The results of a 24-participant user study suggest that the system not only efficiently supports breathing regulation in relaxation training but also offers immersive and engaging user experiences.
... When aesthetically rating nature and urban 4 soundscapes presented at the same normalized amplitude, listeners still exhibit a robust preference for 5 nature soundscapes (Van Hedger et al., 2018). Furthermore, many individuals seek out the sounds of 6 nature in situations where loudness can be rapidly adjusted (e.g., through websites or apps), and recent 7 research has demonstrated that such presentations of nature sounds can lead to improvements in mood 8 and workplace productivity (e.g., DeLoach, Carter, & Braasch, 2015). This, in turn, suggests that the 9 ...
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People across the world seek out beautiful sounds in nature, such as a babbling brook or a nightingale song, for positive human experiences. However, it is unclear whether this positive aesthetic response is driven by a preference for the perceptual features typical of nature sounds versus a higher-order association of nature with beauty. To test these hypotheses, participants provided aesthetic judgments for nature and urban soundscapes that varied on ease of recognition. Results demonstrated that the aesthetic preference for nature soundscapes was eliminated for the sounds hardest to recognize, and moreover the relationship between aesthetic ratings and several measured acoustic features significantly changed as a function of recognition. In a follow-up experiment, requiring participants to classify these difficult-to-identify sounds into nature or urban categories resulted in a robust preference for nature sounds and a relationship between aesthetic ratings and our measured acoustic features that was more typical of easy-to-identify sounds. This pattern of results was replicated with computer-generated artificial noises, which acoustically shared properties with the nature and urban soundscapes but by definition did not come from these environments. Taken together, these results support the conclusion that the recognition of a sound as either natural or urban dynamically organizes the relationship between aesthetic preference and perceptual features.
... When aesthetically rating nature and urban soundscapes presented at the same normalized amplitude, listeners still exhibit a robust preference for nature soundscapes . Furthermore, many individuals seek out the sounds of nature in situations where loudness can be rapidly adjusted (e.g., through websites or apps), and recent research has demonstrated that such presentations of nature sounds can lead to improvements in mood and workplace productivity (e.g., DeLoach, Carter, & Braasch, 2015). This, in turn, suggests that the aesthetic preference for such stimuli may exist independently of loudness cues and may not be entirely tied to the experience of these sounds in their real-world environments. ...
Article
People across the world seek out beautiful sounds in nature, such as a babbling brook or a nightingale song, for positive human experiences. However, it is unclear whether this positive aesthetic response is driven by a preference for the perceptual features typical of nature sounds versus a higher‐order association of nature with beauty. To test these hypotheses, participants provided aesthetic judgments for nature and urban soundscapes that varied on ease of recognition. Results demonstrated that the aesthetic preference for nature soundscapes was eliminated for the sounds hardest to recognize, and moreover the relationship between aesthetic ratings and several measured acoustic features significantly changed as a function of recognition. In a follow‐up experiment, requiring participants to classify these difficult‐to‐identify sounds into nature or urban categories resulted in a robust preference for nature sounds and a relationship between aesthetic ratings and our measured acoustic features that was more typical of easy‐to‐identify sounds. This pattern of results was replicated with computer‐generated artificial noises, which acoustically shared properties with the nature and urban soundscapes but by definition did not come from these environments. Taken together, these results support the conclusion that the recognition of a sound as either natural or urban dynamically organizes the relationship between aesthetic preference and perceptual features and that these preferences are not inherent to the acoustic features. Implications for nature's role in cognitive and affective restoration are discussed.
... rain noise, river noise, babble noise). Although these masking sounds, especially with natural sounds, have been said to help boost human emotions and improving cognitive abilities [11], these sounds are only effective enough to render speech unintelligible when the volume of the target speech is below a certain threshold (i.e. very low target-to-masker ratio (TMR)). ...
Article
Problems arising from the acoustical privacy point of view in public spaces have been known to be an issue. The lack of acoustical privacy has been known to affect the human's health both physically and psychologically, thus keeping the acoustical privacy in public spaces will significantly reduce social loss. Masking is the most commonly practically used technique to make a target speech unintelligible to the unintended listeners without needing to install any physical structures. Time-reversed speech has been known to effectively mask information for speech privacy applications; however, the annoyance and distraction caused by the time-reversed speech is known to be higher than other masking sound. This study explores a solution to compromise the suggested problem by adding a reverberant effect to a time-reversed speech. Subjective listening tests have been conducted to measure the intelligibility of target speech, annoyance and distraction caused by the masking sound. The experimental results suggest that adding artificial reverberation to a time-reversed speech has a significant effect to reduce the annoyance level while maintaining the masking effectiveness of the original time-reversed speech. A trend was also observed that the addition of artificial reverberation could reduce the level of distraction caused by the masking sound.
... Music signal can play in stimulating the imagination (Lundqvist et al., 2009) and boost moods (McCraty et al., 1998). Nature sounds can also powerfully induce positive emotional states (Ulrich et al., 1991), help in calming down (Alvarsson et al., 2010;DeLoach et al., 2015) and sustain the attention (Kaplan, 1995). In some specific applications for rehabilitation, stress management, relaxation practice and healthcare, these auditory contents are frequently applied to the auditory interfaces for facilitating the user's calmness and relaxation. ...
Article
Full-text available
Calm technology has been stressed in designing the interaction with information, especially in ubiquitous computing, peripheral interaction and ambient display. Inspired by the research on calm technology and model-based sonification, we aim to build a model of nature soundscape for supporting calm information display. A three-layer structure is proposed for construction of the nature soundscape. The structure includes seven acoustic parameters. By setting each of seven acoustic parameters into three levels, seven groups of soundscape samples were created and evaluated in an experiment with 20 participants. Each participant was exposed to 21 soundscape samples to assess each sample regarding seven perceptual attributes through a rating scale. Based on the results, a perceptual model is proposed to link the acoustic parameters of individual nature sounds and the perceptual attributes of the nature soundscape. The developed model offers the designers and practitioners a new tool to utilize nature sounds in the design of the auditory display which could support the calm technology. RESEARCH HIGHLIGHTS • A three-layer nature soundscape structure • A perceptual model of nature soundscape • Peripheral display with nature sounds • Calm information display through the user's perception of nature soundscape
... The sounds of nature are aesthetically valued because they are thought to provide a quiet respite from typically loud urban noises (Mace, Bell & Loomis, 2004) as listeners exhibit a strong preference for nature sounds (Van Hedger et al., 2018). The sound of nature also improves mood (DeLoach, Carter & Braasch, 2015) and cognition (Mace, Bell & Loomis, 2004), which reduces physiological stress (Alvarsson, Wiens & Nilsson, 2010). Song and music created via rhythm-based instruments such as clapsticks are vital means of expression for many cultures, including Aboriginal cultures, and act as conduits of connection to Country in ritual and ceremonial contexts. ...
Article
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“Healthy Country, Healthy People”: Aboriginal Embodied Knowledge Systems in Human/Nature Interrelationships. The relationships between humans and nature require interdisciplinary perspectives to develop expanded understandings at this crucial time for the planet and its inhabitants. A poignant step towards improving the global ecological situation--which includes human survival and flourishing--is to reconnect our human/nature relationships. From an AustralianAboriginal standpoint, human-nature connectedness is integrally embedded in the relationship to the natural world that is termed Country. This term not only illustrates geographical boundaries but encompasses the harmony and balance of all living things within a cultural and spiritual context. At the interface of this knowledge, ways of thinking, feeling and being include a relatedness to localised knowledge based on the guiding principles of respect, responsibility and reciprocity to place. These principles ensure a sustainable environment that incorporates a ‘whole of life’ approach to human and nature health and wellbeing. In articulating how a sense of place is critical to psychological health within the human psyche, this paper explores Australian Aboriginal eco-therapeutic approaches surrounding the proverb‘Healthy Country, Healthy People’ that strengthen our social and emotional connections with the natural world. The article advocates for a re-evaluation of self and our embedded perspectives that we draw from nature through being on Country.
... The sounds of nature are aesthetically valued because they are thought to provide a quiet respite from typically loud urban noises (Mace, Bell & Loomis, 2004) as listeners exhibit a strong preference for nature sounds (Van Hedger et al., 2018). The sound of nature also improves mood (DeLoach, Carter & Braasch, 2015) and cognition (Mace, Bell & Loomis, 2004), which reduces physiological stress (Alvarsson, Wiens & Nilsson, 2010). Song and music created via rhythm-based instruments such as clapsticks are vital means of expression for many cultures, including Aboriginal cultures, and act as conduits of connection to Country in ritual and ceremonial contexts. ...
Article
Full-text available
“Healthy Country “Healthy Country, Healthy People”: Aboriginal Embodied Knowledge Systems in Human/Nature Interrelationships
... It is worth highlighting that Muse app's nature-based soundscape was characterized by white noise consisting of different sounds at multiple frequencies with limited changes in rhythm or pitch [95], similar to other sounds encountered in nature, created for instance by rivers, ocean waves, wind blowing through vegetation, rain or fire. White noise is frequently used in music therapy and consistent findings have shown its impact on increased positive emotions, and relaxation [23,86]. ...
Conference Paper
Meditation is a mind-body practice with considerable wellbeing benefits that can take different forms. Novices usually start with focused attention meditation that supports regulation of attention towards an inward focus or internal bodily sensations and away from external stimuli or distractors. Most meditation technologies employ metaphorical mappings of meditative states to visual or soundscape representations to support awareness of mind wandering and attention regulation, although the rationale for such mappings is seldom articulated. Moreover, such external modalities also take the focus attention away from the body. We advance the concept of interoceptive interaction and employed the embodied metaphor theory to explore the design of mappings to the interoceptive sense of thermoception. We illustrate this concept with WarmMind, an on-body interface integrating heat actuators for mapping meditation states. We report on an exploratory study with 10 participants comparing our novel thermal metaphors for mapping meditation states with comparable ones, albeit in aural modality, as provided by Muse meditation app. Findings indicate a tension between the highly discoverable soundscape's metaphors which however hinder attention regulation, and the ambiguous thermal metaphors experienced as coming from the body and supported attention regulation. We discuss the qualities of embodied metaphors underpinning this tension and propose an initial framework to inform the design of metaphorical mappings for meditation technologies. CCS CONCEPTS • Human-centered computing ~Interaction design ~Empirical studies in interaction design Additional
... The natural source of white noise might be a natural phenomenon that creates multiple frequencies; resulting in a sound that listener may find soothing, such as the sound of rain, fire, and wind. Nature white noise is commonly used to mask background noises in the office [12] or to aid in focus or sleep [13,14].The work in [15] demonstrate that the listener's moods and the ability to focus improved when exposed to nature white noise. A natural soundscape refers to a natural acoustic environment consisting of various sounds created by nature (geography and climate): wind, water, forests, plains, birds, insects, or animals. ...
Conference Paper
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The use of auditory interface at the relaxation-assisted interactive system is becoming increasingly popular. This study aims to investigate the effects of different types of auditory content on the subjective relaxation experience. The participants listened to fifteen sound samples from five categories: (a) nature white noise, (b) natural soundscape, (c) ambient music, (d) instrumental music, (e) instrumental music mixed with the natural soundscape. These auditory contents were selected or designed specifically for assisting relaxation. The study measured the subjective relaxation rating after listening to each sample and interviewed the listeners to understand what causes the differences in relaxation experience. The results indicate that the instrumental music and the combination of nature soundscape and music might be a better auditory content or audio form to induce relaxation compared to the ambient music, pure natural soundscape, and nature white noise. The findings of this study can be used in the design of musical and auditory display in many interactive systems for stress mitigation and relaxation exercises.
... rain noise, river noise, babble noise). Although these masking sounds, especially with natural sounds, have been said to help boost human emotions and improving cognitive abilities [11], these sounds are only effective enough to render speech unintelligible when the volume of the target speech is below a certain threshold (i.e. very low target-to-masker ratio (TMR)). ...
... View and daylight quality can significantly affect how employees behave where they work, eat and break (Elzeyadi, 2011), as well as how much time is spent working at the office and sleeping at home (Figueiro et al., 2008;Boubekri et al., 2014). Noise-induced distraction has significant quantifiable negative impacts on ideation, reading comprehension, logical reasoning and useful interpretation of long-term memories Berry, 1998, 2005;Hongisto et al., 2008;DeLoach et al., 2015;Haapakangas et al., 2019). Attaching positive subjective meaning to the aural workplace experience can help combat noise distraction and associated health impacts. ...
Article
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Exposure to environmental stressors has physical and psychological consequences. A demanding physical environment involves the allocation of additional attentional resources and an increase in psycho-physical stress. This study illustrates the process of a research-intervention aimed at designing a workplace, using a participatory design approach, and considering the beneficial effect of restorative environments in reducing stressful elements and improving well-being at work. Stressful situations occur daily, compromising proper functioning while causing the occurrence of physiological and/or psychological disorders. To be able to safeguard their psycho-physical well-being, people normally adopt coping strategies, i.e., remedies that allow them to cope and manage situations that generate stress. One of these strategies is the exposure to natural environments, which promotes recovery and sustains psycho-physical well-being. The restorative properties of natural environments have been scientifically proven. However, even built spaces can be thought of as restorative environments, in particular when certain conditions are granted. An applied science, known as biophilic design, provides useful indications from this perspective. This project involved 57 employees of the Italian site of an international non-governmental organization, in the transition from a site no longer adequate to a new site requiring renovation. In a first phase, a survey was conducted, to verify the perceived quality of the current workplace and to detect the unmet workers' needs, and to assess some other important psychological constructs connected with perception of restorativeness and well-being. In a second phase, the findings emerged from the survey was analyzed in depth through a participatory interior design process, together with an interdisciplinary team of architects, technicians of the organization and environmental psychology researchers. The team, together with some representatives of employees, worked together through possible scenarios, adopting a biophilic design approach, to design the new workplace. At the end, the same survey of the first phase was conducted, to detect differences in perceived quality in the new workplace compared to the previous one.
... Music signal can stimulate the imagination (Lundqvist et al. 2009) and boost moods (McCraty et al. 1998). Nature sounds can also powerfully induce positive emotional states (Ulrich et al. 1991), help in calming down (Alvarsson et al. 2010;DeLoach et al. 2015) and sustain the attention (Kaplan 1995). ...
Article
There is an ever-increasing demand for speech privacy in modern office spaces. People prefer their conversations to remain private while not being disturbed by speech of others. The work presented in this article focuses on reducing the intelligibility of the perceived speech by masking the original signal without a significant additional annoyance. The disruption of the information-carrying components of speech by the amplitude and temporal smearing is of a specific interest of this work. We suggest a method in which a modified self-adjusted masking signal is used to effectively counteract the drawbacks of a straightforward reverberation. The presented masking method disrupts key speech characteristics of the original signal. The intelligibility and annoyance levels of the resulting signal are subjectively evaluated. The optimized experimental parameters are reported. The presented method provides a significantly higher speech privacy and a lower perceived annoyance as compared to white noise. The method can be used in office environments with various Sound Transmission Class levels.
Article
Celtic Christian spirituality has enjoyed renewed interest at the turn of the current millennium. Existing literature focusses on its theology and culture. This study considers its impact on mental health and wellbeing. Celtic spirituality (as henceforth termed) is nowadays led by dispersed modern monastic communities, notably Iona, Corrymeela, Northumbria, St Chad or Aidan and Hilda. Interpretative phenomenological analysis within a wider holistic qualitative analysis identified a unifying theme that participants experience wholeness, integrating knowledge and lived experience. This encompassed five superordinate themes: loving others, connection with community, oneness with creation, being self in the moment and being self through life. Comparison with person-centred theory reveals significant alignment with the formative and actualising tendencies and the core conditions of congruence, empathic understanding and unconditional positive regard (UPR).
Chapter
Functional binaural models have been used since the mid-20th century to simulate laboratory experiments. The goal of this chapter is to extend the capabilities of a cross-correlation model so it can demonstrate human listening in complex scenarios found in nature and human-built environments. A ray-tracing model is introduced that simulates a number of environments for this study. This chapter discusses how the auditory system is used to read and understand the environment and how tasks that require binaural hearing may have evolved throughout human history. As use cases, sound localization in a forest is examined, as well as the binaural analysis of spatially diffuse and rectangular rooms. The model is also used to simulate binaural hearing during a walk-through a simulated office-suite environment.
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Misophonia is a condition where a strong arousal response is triggered when hearing specific human generated sounds, like chewing, and/or repetitive tapping noises, like pen clicking. It is diagnosed with clinical interviews and questionnaires since no psychoacoustic tools exist to assess its presence. The present study was aimed at developing and testing a new assessment tool for misophonia. The method was inspired by an approach we have recently developed for hyperacusis. It consisted of presenting subjects (n=253) with misophonic, pleasant, and unpleasant sounds in an online experiment. The task was to rate them on a pleasant to unpleasant visual analog scale. Subjects were labeled as misophonics (n=78) or controls (n=55) by using self-report questions and a misophonia questionnaire, the MisoQuest. There was a significant difference between controls and misophonics in the median global rating of misophonic sounds. On the other hand, median global rating of unpleasant, and pleasant sounds did not differ significantly. We selected a subset of the misophonic sounds to form the core discriminant sounds of misophonia (CDS Miso ). A metric: the CDS score, was used to quantitatively measure misophonia, both with a global score and with subscores. The latter could specifically quantify aversion towards different sound sources/events, i.e., mouth, breathing/nose, throat, and repetitive sounds. A receiver operating characteristic analysis showed that the method accurately classified subjects with and without misophonia (accuracy = 91 %). The present study suggests that the psychoacoustic test we have developed can be used to assess misophonia reliably and quickly.
Article
Full-text available
Misophonia is a condition where a strong arousal response is triggered when hearing specific human generated sounds, like chewing, and/or repetitive tapping noises, like pen clicking. It is diagnosed with clinical interviews and questionnaires since no psychoacoustic tools exist to assess its presence. The present study was aimed at developing and testing a new assessment tool for misophonia. The method was inspired by an approach we have recently developed for hyperacusis. It consisted of presenting subjects (n = 253) with misophonic, pleasant, and unpleasant sounds in an online experiment. The task was to rate them on a pleasant to unpleasant visual analog scale. Subjects were labeled as misophonics (n = 78) or controls (n = 55) by using self-report questions and a misophonia questionnaire, the MisoQuest. There was a significant difference between controls and misophonics in the median global rating of misophonic sounds. On the other hand, median global rating of unpleasant, and pleasant sounds did not differ significantly. We selected a subset of the misophonic sounds to form the core discriminant sounds of misophonia (CDS Miso ). A metric: the CDS score, was used to quantitatively measure misophonia, both with a global score and with subscores. The latter could specifically quantify aversion towards different sound sources/events, i.e., mouth, breathing/nose, throat, and repetitive sounds. A receiver operating characteristic analysis showed that the method accurately classified subjects with and without misophonia (accuracy = 91%). The present study suggests that the psychoacoustic test we have developed can be used to assess misophonia reliably and quickly.
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