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New 'hearing' Maps Are Real Conversation Starters

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Cardiff University researchers have developed software that creates audibility maps of proposed room designs. The maps show hotspots where conversations would be inaudible if the room was noisy, enabling architects to adjust their designs to eliminate them and maximize audibility.

Cardiff University professor John Culling says the software is specifically designed to improve the acoustics of indoor spaces where a large number of people meet, chat, and interact. He says the software also produces results much faster than other acoustic software.

The key to the software is a mathematical equation that is based on research examining how people take in sound through both ears as it travels around a room. Culling says the work will be useful in areas where audibility is important, such as rail and airport announcement waiting areas. He says the research also will help in the future development of hearing aids and cochlear implants.

From Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council
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