Audio-Visual Interactions and the Influence of Colour on Noise Annoyance Evaluations


This study aims to examine the influence of colour exposure on noise annoyance. Previous studies in the literature have focused mostly on the effects of colour exposure on loudness judgements; however, due to the cognitive nature of multisensory perception, the influence of colour on noise annoyance also needs to be investigated. Our experiments were designed to administer non-information-carrying sound signals (i.e. white noise) and visual stimuli (i.e. abstract colour samples) and to limit visual and auditory contextual information. Participants were asked to evaluate noise annoyance on an 11-point International Commission on Biological Effects of Noise (ICBEN) scale. The experiments were conducted in the form of audio-visual tests. During these tests, random combinations of three white noise sound samples with sound pressure levels of 66 dB(A) (−4 dB[A] acoustic condition), 70 dB(A) (0 dB[A] acoustic condition) and 74 dB(A) (+4 dB[A] acoustic condition), and six visual stimuli, including the elementary colours of the Natural Colour System (NCS)—yellow (Y), red (R), blue (B), green (G), white (W) and black (S)—were presented to a total of 42 participants. The black colour sample was used to measure the audio-only control condition for the three white noise sound samples. The results of the study reveal that the effects of sound, the effects of colour and the interaction effects of colour and sound on perceived noise annoyance were statistically significant. The effects of colour on the loudness evaluations of the previous studies and the effects of colour on noise annoyance evaluations presented in this study show very similar and concordant results, indicating that the effects of colour on noise annoyance depend on the sound pressure level (SPL). The results indicate that the hue contrasts of red–green, red–blue and yellow–blue and the lightness contrast of yellow–blue influenced perceived noise annoyance when the SPL was low or high. Within the contrast pairs, red and yellow were perceived to be annoying, whereas blue and green were perceived to be non-annoying.

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We are thankful to the undergraduate and graduate students of the Faculty of Architecture, Çankaya University, who voluntarily participated in this study.


The authors did not receive support from any organization for the submitted work.

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Correspondence to Kivanc Kitapci.

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Kitapci, K., Akbay, S. Audio-Visual Interactions and the Influence of Colour on Noise Annoyance Evaluations. Acoust Aust (2021).

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  • Audio-visual interactions
  • Noise annoyance
  • Colour perception
  • Colour and sound interactions