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The Effect of Vision on Psychoacoustic Testing with Headphone-Based Virtual Sound

This research investigates the degree to which the visual impression of a space affects virtual sound-based psychoacoustic testing. Three tests were considered: (1) the hearing-in-noise test (HINT), (2) a Direction-of-Arrival (DOA) test, and (3) an externalization test where the distance to the sound source is evaluated. The test stimuli remained unchanged when presented in three different environments: (1) a model of a living room where the sound is presented through loudspeakers; (2) the same living room with headphone-based virtual sound; and (3) a large hall. Neither the HINT nor the DOA test was significantly affected by changes in room environment. However, a multiple regression analysis of the externalization data shows that the results of the externalization tests are significantly affected by the room type. Auditory externalization depends not only on the acoustic stimuli to the eardrum but also on brain responses to a visual stimulus. When virtual sound is used to investigate psychoacoustic phenomena, such as sound externalization, the visual stimuli cannot be ignored.

JAES Volume 63 Issue 7/8 pp. 552-561; July 2015
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