Empa performs psychoacoustic studies on the perception of noise by humans and operates with the AuraLab a facility specifically designed for that purpose. With such listening tests the (acute) perceptive annoyance can be assessed. Besides listening tests Empa participates in epidemiological, chronobiological (quality of sleep) and socio-acoustic studies.

The auralization of environmental noise is a process which makes noise scenarios in the vicinity of wind farms, road, rail and air traffic sources audible. The process serves as an aid in communication and as an evaluation tool which can be used during project planning phases and for studies on the effects of noise. Auralization makes possible an effect-oriented investigation of noise control measures implemented at the noise source and in the propagation path. Good quality auralization requires a detailed understanding of noise generation, noise propagation, acoustic measurement techniques, signal processing, electro-acoustics and psychoacoustics.

At Empa psychoacoustics and auralization are highly connected topics. On the one hand listening tests are performed to assess the quality of synthetic signals. On the other hand auralized signals are used to vary the characteristics of noise events in order to determine their influence on perception.

AuraLab for listening tests at Empa