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Quiet Thoughts on a Deafening Problem

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[Feature] The (literally) deafening restaurant blare grows louder and louder as people increase their volume to make themselves heard over the continually amplifying clamor. It’s a classic lose/lose situation. However, this problem can be easily and cost-effectively controlled, by applying appropriate acoustical treatments to walls and ceilings. Imagine people talking to their hearts content at dinner without having to outshout each other over their pasta. That’s a pretty appetizing culinary concept.

JAES Volume 62 Issue 5 pp. 362-363; May 2014
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Charles Lehmann

Comment posted June 23, 2014 @ 13:53:04 UTC (Comment permalink)

I applaud everyone who attempts to fight the annoying ambient noise in restaurants. Be it by introducing architectural and/or technical measures like John Storyk discusses but also by using the simplest and most effective measure of all:  I.e. not raising one's voice to unnnecessary high levels in restaurants (or even by keeping quiet if there is nothing interesting to be said).

But I'd like to know from John how he uses residual pitch perception to lower the noise floor and/or health hazard for both background music and sound reinforcement in clubs etc.

I am aware of how the principle can be used to enhance the perceived low-end response for tiny (and often cheap) audio devices. I am also aware that structure-borne noise transmission to the neighbourhood might be lowered by not using "real" bass content. But would it really lower the health hazard to my hearing while being at a venue where residual-pitch processing is used for sound-reinforcment  ?

Isn't in that case the spectral content lowered in a frequency range where the hearing is not only less sensitive in terms of loudness perception but also in terms of damage potential  in exchange of spectral content increased in a range where the hearing is more susceptible to noise induced hearing loss ? And isn't spectral content of background music shifted up into frequency ranges that are important for speech perception by using this principle ?

Maybe you could shed some light on this ?

Kind regards

Charles Lehmann

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