Loudness pp 1-15 | Cite as


  • Mary Florentine
Part of the Springer Handbook of Auditory Research book series (SHAR, volume 37)


The topic of loudness is no longer something esoteric, discussed only in research laboratories and psychoacoustics lectures. It is mainstream in social conversation, and most people have developed an opinion about some aspect of loudness. Our daily environments are too loud and people are taking notice. In their book, One Square Inch of Silence, Hempton and Grossmann (2009) document the lack of quiet places. The fact that a book about this topic can be published by Free Press, a division of Simon and Schuster, and appear on bookshelves – from Barnes and Noble to WalMart and Sam’s Club – indicates that problems associated with loud sounds strike a resonant chord with a large segment of the population. Loud sounds intrude on our enjoyment of life and affect our performance; loud background sounds interfere with our ability to hear sounds we want to hear and can create communication problems for everyone, especially those with hearing losses (Chap. 9), children (Nelson et al. 2002), older adults (Kim et al. 2006), and non-native speakers of a language (e.g., Mayo et al. 1997; Lecumberri and Cooke 2006; Van Engen and Bradlow 2007). These combined groups add up to be a significant portion of the overall population.


Hearing Loss Auditory Nerve Impulsive Noise Auditory Nerve Fiber Loud Sound 
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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology with joint appointment in Department of Electrical and Computer EngineeringNortheastern UniversityBostonUSA

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