Volume 117, Issue 3, March 2005
Index of content:
- ARCHITECTURAL ACOUSTICS 
117(2005); http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.1849936View Description Hide Description
The use of listening difficulty ratings of speech communication in rooms is explored because, in common situations, word recognition scores do not discriminate well among conditions that are near to acceptable. In particular, the benefits of early reflections of speech sounds on listening difficulty were investigated and compared to the known benefits to word intelligibility scores. Listening tests were used to assess word intelligibility and perceived listening difficulty of speech in simulated sound fields. The experiments were conducted in three types of sound fields with constant levels of ambient noise: only direct sound, direct sound with early reflections, and direct sound with early reflections and reverberation. The results demonstrate that (1) listening difficulty can better discriminate among these conditions than can word recognition scores; (2) added early reflections increase the effective signal-to-noise ratio equivalent to the added energy in the conditions without reverberation; (3) the benefit of early reflections on difficulty scores is greater than expected from the simple increase in early arriving speech energy with reverberation; (4) word intelligibility tests are most appropriate for conditions with signal-to-noise (S/N) ratios less than 0 dBA, and where S/N is between 0 and 15-dBA S/N, listening difficulty is a more appropriate evaluation tool.
117(2005); http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.1859233View Description Hide Description
In this article a method is proposed to estimate the normal incidence reflection ratio and absorption coefficient of acoustical materials using measurements in a transparent tube excited with a loudspeaker and terminated with the material under investigation. The waveforms are measured at different locations in the tube using a scanning laser Doppler vibrometer. Because the measurement probe (i.e., the laser beam) does not interfere with the wave in the tube, narrow tubes can be used. This means that—in contrast to the standardized wide tube tests using microphones—the proposed experiment could be used for high frequencies (in the paper an 8 mm tube was used, resulting in a 25 kHz upper frequency limit). It is shown based on theoretically known scenarios (i.e., an open tube and a rigid termination) that the absorption coefficient can be obtained with an error of about three percent. In addition, the absorption coefficient of two commonly used absorption materials—glass fiber wool and carpet—were determined and found to be in good agreement with material databases.