Loudness

Loudness is the quality of a sound that is the primary psychological correlate of physical strength (amplitude).

Loudness, a subjective measure, is often confused with objective measures of sound pressure such as decibels or sound intensity. Filters such as A-weighting attempt to adjust sound measurements to correspond to loudness as perceived by the average human. However, true perceived loudness varies from person to person and cannot be measured this way.

Loudness is also affected by parameters other than sound pressure, including: frequency (see bandwidth), and duration (see temporal integration).

Explanation

The perception of loudness is related to both the sound pressure level and duration of a sound. It appears that the human auditory system integrates the level over a 600-1000 ms window. For example, a sound of constant sound pressure level (SPL) will be perceived to grow in loudness as 20, 50, 100, 200 ms samples are played up to a maximum of ~1000 ms where the perception of loudness will stabilize. For long duration sounds then, the moment by moment perception of loudness will be based on the integration (or averaging) of the last 600-1000 ms.

For long duration sounds loudness is often approximated by a power function with an exponent of 0.6 when plotted vs. sound pressure or 0.3 when plotted vs. sound intensity (Stevens' power law). More precise measures have been subsequently made that show that loudness grows more rapidly (with a higher exponent) at low and high levels and less rapidly (with a lower exponent) at moderate levels. Units used to measure loudness:
*Sone (loudness "N")
*Phon (loudness level "L")

Loudness and hearing loss

When sensorineural hearing loss (damage to the cochlea or in the brain) is present, the perception of loudness is altered. Sounds at low levels (often perceived by those without hearing loss as relatively quiet) are no longer audible to the hearing impaired, but interestingly, sounds at high levels often are perceived as having the same loudness as they would for an unimpaired listener. This phenomenon can be explained by two theories: Loudness grows more rapidly for these listeners than normal listeners with changes in level. This theory is called "loudness recruitment" and has been accepted as the classical explanation. More recently, it has been proposed that some listeners with sensorineural hearing loss may in fact exhibit a normal rate of loudness growth, but instead have an elevated loudness at their threshold. That is, the softest sound that is audible to these listeners is louder than the softest sound audible to normal listeners. This theory is called "Softness Imperception."

Other uses of the word loudness

The "loudness" control on a consumer stereo alters the frequency response curve to correspond roughly with the equal loudness characteristic of the ear. [Lenk, John D. "Circuit Troubleshooting Handbook". McGraw-Hill Professional (1998). ISBN 0070381852] The loudness control is intended to make the recorded music sound more natural when played at a a lower sound pressure level.

References


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Loudness — Datos generales Nacimiento 1981 Origen Japón …   Wikipedia Español

  • Loudness — (englisch Lautstärke) steht für: Lautheit in der Psychoakustik Einstellung der gehörrichtigen Lautstärke in der Elektroakustik (Loudness Taste) eine japanische Musikgruppe, siehe Loudness (Band) …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • loudness — O.E. hludnis loudness, clamor; see LOUD (Cf. loud) + NESS (Cf. ness) …   Etymology dictionary

  • Loudness — Loud ness, n. The quality or state of being loud. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • loudness — index noise Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • Loudness — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Loudness (homonymie). Loudness ラウドネス Pays d’origine  Japon …   Wikipédia en Français

  • loudness — See loudly. * * * ▪ acoustics       in acoustics, attribute of sound that determines the intensity of auditory sensation produced. The loudness of sound as perceived by human ears is roughly proportional to the logarithm of sound intensity: when… …   Universalium

  • Loudness — (Roget s Thesaurus) < N PARAG:Loudness >N GRP: N 1 Sgm: N 1 loudness loudness power Sgm: N 1 loud noise loud noise din Sgm: N 1 blare blare Sgm: N 1 clang clang clangor Sgm: N 1 clatter …   English dictionary for students

  • loudness — (New American Roget s College Thesaurus) High audibility Nouns 1. loudness, noisiness, vociference, sonorousness, vehemency, intensity, power; stridency, raucousness, cacophony; decibel, bel. See rotundity. 2. (loud echo) resonance, reverberation …   English dictionary for students

  • loudness — garsis statusas T sritis Standartizacija ir metrologija apibrėžtis Dydis, nusakantis klausos organų garso pojūtį. atitikmenys: angl. loudness vok. Lautstärke, f rus. громкость, f pranc. intensité du son, f …   Penkiakalbis aiškinamasis metrologijos terminų žodynas


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.