Effects of real world background noise, song selection, and iPod volume levels on the audibility of songs to bystanders
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Type of Workapplication/pdf
ix, 68 pages
DepartmentTowson University. Department of Audiology, Speech-Language Pathology and Deaf Studies
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This research study investigated the effects of real world background noise, song selection, and volume level on audibility of a song as a bystander. The background noises included quiet (31.6 dB(A) of ambient noise), 45 dB(A) of speech babble, 60 dB(A) of restaurant noise, and 75 dB(A) of airplane noise. The five songs included "Boom Boom" by The Blackeyed Peas, "I Gotta Feeling" by The Blackeyed Peas, "Love Game" by Lady GaGa, "You Know You Want Me" by Pit Bull, and "Fire Burning" by Sean Kingston. The volume levels on an iPod touch included 0, 12.5, 25, 37.5, 50, 62.5, 75, 87.5, and 100%. The purpose of the research study was to determine if audibility of a song by a bystander indicated that the volume level was set at a dangerously loud level of greater than or equal to 85 dB(A) free field equivalent. Fifty normal hearing adults participated in this study. Ten-second song clips for each of the five songs at the nine volume levels were convolved with the background noise conditions to create a total of 180 song clips. The participants were presented with randomized clips and their audibility of the songs was assessed. Results indicate that audibility varied among the five songs at the nine different volume levels in the four different background noise conditions. All of the songs were audible at volume levels greater than or equal to 85 dB(A) in all background noise conditions. A song with a high peak SPL was not more audible at a quiet volume level compared to another song with a lower peak SPL. As the background noise volume level increased, the audibility of the songs decreased. As volume level of the song increased, the audibility of the songs increased. Therefore, a bystander 2"4" away from an individual listening to an iPod with standard iPod earbuds who indicates that the iPod song is audible does not necessarily indicate that the volume level is loud enough to damage a listeners hearing.