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A systematic review of reverberation and accessibility for B/blind users in virtual environments

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Reverberation is often used in linear and non-linear media to convey the acoustic characteristics of a space. This information is presented alongside visual stimuli to create a multi-modal experience, assisting participants in developing visual and auditory maps of a given space. There is a noted relationship between the perception of visual elements of a space in conjunction with the understanding of the same space acoustically by sighted and hearing participants. However, current research also evidences the affordances of reverberation in conveying virtual environment spaces when presented without a visual counterpart. This offers new avenues for accessibility for B/blind people engaging with virtual environments where visual stimuli are inaccessible. This paper presents a systematic review of current research on the use of reverberation in digital and virtual environments and further-more on its application for B/blind accessibility. The review summarises the affordances of using reverberation in scenarios involving auditory mapping, environment navigation, self and sound source location, as well as mechanical/gamified uses of reverberation. Furthermore, a brief discussion is given surrounding recommendations for the future of this research area.

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