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J Acoust Soc Am. 2015 Dec;138(6):3976-84. doi: 10.1121/1.4938223.

Speech privacy and annoyance considerations in the acoustic environment of passenger cars of high-speed trains.

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


It is necessary to consider not only annoyance of interior noises but also speech privacy to achieve acoustic comfort in a passenger car of a high-speed train because speech from other passengers can be annoying. This study aimed to explore an optimal acoustic environment to satisfy speech privacy and reduce annoyance in a passenger car. Two experiments were conducted using speech sources and compartment noise of a high speed train with varying speech-to-noise ratios (SNRA) and background noise levels (BNL). Speech intelligibility was tested in experiment I, and in experiment II, perceived speech privacy, annoyance, and acoustic comfort of combined sounds with speech and background noise were assessed. The results show that speech privacy and annoyance were significantly influenced by the SNRA. In particular, the acoustic comfort was evaluated as acceptable when the SNRA was less than -6 dB for both speech privacy and noise annoyance. In addition, annoyance increased significantly as the BNL exceeded 63 dBA, whereas the effect of the background-noise level on the speech privacy was not significant. These findings suggest that an optimal level of interior noise in a passenger car might exist between 59 and 63 dBA, taking normal speech levels into account.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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