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Sound research at acoustical society meeting
Date:10/18/2011

times the acoustic energy that causes hearing loss (with long-term exposure). That's why OSHA [Occupational Safety and Health Administration] requires people working near those noise levels to wear hearing protection." Presentation 5aNSb1, "Vuvuzelas and their impact," is in the morning session on Friday, Nov. 4.

Abstract: http://asa.aip.org/web2/asa/abstracts/search.oct11/asa977.html

High frequencies sounds cut off by cell phones might carry more information than previously thought: The human voice routinely produces sounds at frequencies above 5000 hertz, but it has long been assumed that this treble range, which includes high sounds such as cricket chirps, is superfluous to the understanding of human speech. Now researchers from the University of Arizona and the University of Utah are taking a second look this underappreciated range. Their research reveals that people can glean a large amount of information, including the identification of familiar songs or phrases, from just the higher frequencies. The work may prompt a re-evaluation of how much spectrum is in fact necessary to carry the full meaning of the spoken word. Although current cell phone technology only transmits frequencies between 300 and 3400 hertz, musicians have known for decades that an unbalanced or cut-off treble range can ruin the quality of vocals at concerts. The researchers recorded both male and female voices singing and speaking the words to the U.S. national anthem, and then removed all the frequencies below 5700 hertz. When volunteers listened to the high-frequency-only recordings, they were able to identify the sex of the voice, the familiar passages from the "Star-Spangled Banner," and whether the voice was singing or speaking the words. The presentation 5aSCb3, "Perceptually relevant information in energy above 5 kilohertz for speech and singing," will be presented in a morning session on Frida
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Contact: Charles E. Blue
cblue@aip.org
301-209-3091
American Institute of Physics
Source:Eurekalert

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