Measuring Sound Diversity of Quietness

MELVILLE, N.Y., June 9, 2021 — The world is filled with myriad sounds that can overwhelm a person with relentless acoustics. Noise is so prevalent in everyday life that the concept and achievement of comfortable quiet is hard to define.

During the 180th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America, which will be held virtually June 8-10, Aggelos Tsaligopoulos, from the University of the Aegean, will describe how quiet could be measured in the hopes of better understanding its impact on people. The session, “Towards a new understanding of the concept of quietness,” will take place Wednesday, June 9, at 11:20 a.m. Eastern U.S.

Tsaligopoulos said there is a dualism between noise and quiet, meaning quietness so far is viewed as a contradiction and as the lack of something, even if that something is noise. Quietness in the urban context is more than the absence of noise — it’s searching for wanted noise in order to avoid the unwanted.

“The context and the environment surrounding the listener changes dramatically the way we understand quietness, highlighting the phenomenology in acoustic perception,” Tsaligopoulos said. “So, what if we try to break the association between noise and quietness? What if we try to assign to the term quietness quantifiable characteristics that can be subject to measurements?”

The Composite Urban Quietness Index is an effort quietness quantification based on the levels of acoustic complexity in an area. The goal is to give a new meaning to quietness in terms of sound complexity and provide for a reduction in noise intensity.

Tsaligopoulos points out stress can be caused by high-intensity sound but also by silent acoustic environments. He said there could be a “sweet spot” of quietness that reduces the stress without creating it because it is too quiet, but he believes this is equivalent to mediocracy.

“It is time to look beyond our phenomenological short-term pleasure and realize that well-being is a long-term multidisciplinary effort that we need to plan ahead, keeping in mind ecological sustainability environmental equity and perhaps biocultural diversity.”

Stella Kyvelou, from Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences; Nefta Votsi, from the National Observatory of Athens; Aimilia Karapostoli, from Democritus University of Thrace; and Chris Economou and Yiannis Matsinos, from University of the Aegean, contributed to this research.

###

———————– MORE MEETING INFORMATION ———————–

USEFUL LINKS

Main meeting website: https://acousticalsociety.org/asa-meetings/ 
Technical program: https://acousticalsociety.org/technical-program-and-special-sessions/ 
Press Room: http://acoustics.org/world-wide-press-room/

WORLDWIDE PRESS ROOM

In the coming weeks, ASA’s Worldwide Press Room will be updated with additional tips on dozens of newsworthy stories and lay language papers, which are summaries of presentations written by scientists for a general audience and accompanied by photos, audio and video. You can visit the site during the meeting at http://acoustics.org/world-wide-press-room/.

PRESS REGISTRATION FOR MEETING SESSIONS

We will grant free registration for credentialed and professional freelance journalists who wish to attend the meeting sessions. If you are a reporter and would like to attend, contact the AIP Media Line at [email protected]. We can also help with setting up interviews and obtaining images, sound clips or background information.

VIRTUAL MEDIA BRIEFINGS

Press briefings will be held virtually during the conference. Credentialed media can register in advance by emailing [email protected] and including your full name and affiliation in the message. The official schedule will be announced as soon as it is available, and registered attendees will be provided login information via email.

ABOUT THE ACOUSTICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA

The Acoustical Society of America (ASA) is the premier international scientific society in acoustics devoted to the science and technology of sound. Its 7,000 members worldwide represent a broad spectrum of the study of acoustics. ASA publications include The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America (the world’s leading journal on acoustics), Acoustics Today magazine, books, and standards on acoustics. The society also holds two major scientific meetings each year. For more information about ASA, visit our website at http://www.acousticalsociety.org.

###