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J Acoust Soc Am. 2010 Mar;127(3):1357-66. doi: 10.1121/1.3298437.

Perceptual assessment of quality of urban soundscapes with combined noise sources and water sounds.

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Department of Architectural Engineering, Hanyang University, Seoul 133-791, Korea.


In this study, urban soundscapes containing combined noise sources were evaluated through field surveys and laboratory experiments. The effect of water sounds on masking urban noises was then examined in order to enhance the soundscape perception. Field surveys in 16 urban spaces were conducted through soundwalking to evaluate the annoyance of combined noise sources. Synthesis curves were derived for the relationships between noise levels and the percentage of highly annoyed (%HA) and the percentage of annoyed (%A) for the combined noise sources. Qualitative analysis was also made using semantic scales for evaluating the quality of the soundscape, and it was shown that the perception of acoustic comfort and loudness was strongly related to the annoyance. A laboratory auditory experiment was then conducted in order to quantify the total annoyance caused by road traffic noise and four types of construction noise. It was shown that the annoyance ratings were related to the types of construction noise in combination with road traffic noise and the level of the road traffic noise. Finally, water sounds were determined to be the best sounds to use for enhancing the urban soundscape. The level of the water sounds should be similar to or not less than 3 dB below the level of the urban noises.

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