Time Constants of Various Parts of the Human Auditory System and Some of Their Consequences
Noise, according to a rather hackneyed expression, is undesired sound; that is, sounds that disturb, annoy, and even impair hearing. Nevertheless, the internationally standardized Sound Level Meter (IEC 1973) has been developed entirely on the basis of arbitrarily agreed equal loudness contours (inverted), without due consideration of the sounds that disturb or annoy, and (which is much worse) none at all to those which involve a risk for hearing damage. When one therefore asks, Do we measure noise correctly? the answer must be that where hearing level is concerned, the scale in use today is applicable because it was originally developed on the basis of hearing level. If, however, one considers the annoyance caused by noise, then our noise scale is no longer appropriate, and even less acceptable when used to stipulate permissible noise limits to prevent hearing loss. The latter is rather serious, since large sums are offered for prevention of hearing loss caused by industry and traffic.
KeywordsHearing Loss Sound Pressure Level Basilar Membrane Impulse Noise International Electrotechnical Commission
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