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The Relationship between the Acoustic Impedance of Headphones and the Occlusion Effect

Closed-back headphones usually have a higher acoustic impedance if compared to open-back headphones. An increased acoustic impedance of headphones results in an increased sound pressure level at low frequencies while speaking. This causes an unnatural perception of the person’s own voice and is called the occlusion effect. This study investigates whether the perceived occlusion caused by wearing different headphones can be predicted from their acoustic impedance. For this purpose, a listening experiment was performed to evaluate the perceived occlusion caused by 11 different headphones. The results were compared to the occlusion index (OI), which was derived from the measured acoustic impedance of each headphone.

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AES - Audio Engineering Society