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Effects of natural sounds on the perception of road traffic noise
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Recent studies show that introducing sound from water features in urban open spaces may reduce the loudness of road traffic noise, but it is not clear in which situations this measure also improves overall soundscape quality. This work describes a listening experiment on loudness, pleasantness, and eventfulness of stimuli that combine road traffic noise with fountain or bird sound at different sound levels. Adding fountain sound reduced the loudness of road traffic noise only if the latter had low temporal variability. Conversely, adding bird sound significantly enhanced soundscape pleasantness and eventfulness, more than what was achieved by adding fountain sound.
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