Loudness perception

39 Loudness perception: Overview

Loudness is a qualitative impression formed inside the brain- it cannot be measured directly. However, scientists have made substantial progress understanding how the our perception of loudness depends on the properties of the vibrations that reach our ears. In previous parts of this book, you’ve learned that loudness perception is based mainly on amplitude, but that’s only part of the story. This part of the book will dig further into physically measurable characteristics of loud and soft sounds and how they impact human perception of loudness.

Loudness perception: Learning Objectives

  • Discuss how amplitude and frequency affect loudness perception
  • Explain relationships among
    • (sound) pressure amplitude
    • sound intensity
    • sound intensity level (SIL)
    • sound pressure level (SPL)
    • decibel (dB)
  • Apply rules of thumb to solve problems involving decibels (indoors and outside)
  • List decibel levels for some common sounds
  • Explain how sound intensity changes with distance from the source (indoors and outside)
  • Relate sound intensity level to hearing loss




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Understanding Sound by abbottds is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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