Auditory Distance Perception in Reverberant Environments

Ramiro Vergara, Esteban Calcagno, Ezequiel Abregu, Natalia Pastrovichio

The acoustic evidence that our nervous system uses to estimate the source position in the horizontal and vertical planes are well known and have been treated in numerous works (eg 1, 2, 3, 4). Although for a complete description in the three-dimensional perception of auditory space, distance is not less important than the direction from which comes the sound, little is known about the strategies used by our nervous system to estimate the distance of a source acoustics. To perceive the distance from the source our brain must analyze a wide variety of hearing evidence. The evidence most studied in the perception of sound source distance are:

  • Changes in the perceived intensity (it decreases 6 dB each time the distance from the source doubles).
  • The differential attenuation of high frequencies with distance (induced by the absorption exerted by atmospheric gases and moisture from the air above them).
  • The ratio of intensities between direct and reverberant sound.

Although these signs acoustic noise involved in the perception of distance, none of them explains the sharpness that human beings have to estimate the distance of a sound source. Most studies of auditory distance perception has focused on signs induced by the interaction of sound with the acoustic environment aside any evidence related to the spectral qualities of the signal. In our experiments we try to get distance curves using auditory stimuli with different spectral properties in order to find evidence relevant to the perception of distance that can be immersed in the sound signal.


"Auditory Distance Perception: Historical Review and Progress of Project"
V Jornadas Anuales Teatro Acústico 2010
University National of Quilmes, Argentina

"The role of spectral cues and minimum bandwidth in the auditory perception of distance"
Second Pan-American/Iberian Meeting on Acoustics - Acoustical Society of America
Cancun, Mexico.

"Estimated distance of a sound source: the importance of spectral quality of the sound signal"
IV Jornadas Anuales Teatro Acústico 2009
University National of Quilmes, Argentina.

"Demonstration of system for measuring distance perception of sound sources"
I Jornadas Puertas Abiertas Laboratorio de Acústica y Percepción Sonora (LAPSO)
University National of Quilmes, Argentina.

"The spectral characteristics of sound affect the perception of distance of an acoustic source"
I Reunión Conjunta de Neurociencias (IRCN).
Huerta Grande Córdoba, Argentina.

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