Essay On Psychoacoustics

715 Words3 Pages
Did you know that horror filmmakers use infrared sound to induce anxiety, sorrow, and heart palpitations? How do they achieve this effect you might ask? Well this is mostly due to a lesser known field of science called psychoacoustics, the study of audiology and sound perception. Although you may not realize it now, psychoacoustics actually affects most people in their day to day lives, whether it’s via music listening or watching a movie, you’re almost always subject to the effects of psychoacoustics. With that being said, I’ll attempt to explain only a portion of psychoacoustics, including auditory masking, the process in which we perceive sound, and the different levels of sound that we perceive. Firstly, I’ll explain auditory masking.…show more content…
The issue with discussing sound perception is that it’s subjective, and everyone is different. But despite that, there’s still discussion to be had about loudness, such as the absolute threshold of hearing. The absolute threshold of hearing is the lowest level of sound pressure needed to make an audible sensation in a silent environment. Some say that the threshold of hearing is 1kHz, the absolute quietest sound that you can hear. This is one of the topics that is a “person to person” thing. Another level of sound perception is the discomfort level. As suggested by the name, the discomfort level is the lowest sound pressure level needed to produce a feeling of discomfort. Another threshold we could talk about is normal absolute. Normal absolute and discomfort thresholds are determined by the average of thresholds recorded from a great number of people with average or normal hearing. Other factors that can affect how we perceive sound is duration, predictability, fatigue, and a certain reflex called the Stapedial reflex. So all in all, psychoacoustics is an insanely complex topic. I’ve attempted to simplify the complexity that is psychoacoustics, and feel as if I’ve given enough information above to allow someone to have a basic understanding about the discussed topics. I’ve managed to explain auditory masking, the process in which we perceive sound, and the different levels of sound that we perceive all
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