To Better Understand Speech, Focus on Who Is Talking

Researchers have found that matching the locations of faces with the speech sounds they are producing significantly improves our ability to understand them, especially in noisy areas where other talkers are present. In the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, they outline a set of online experiments that mimicked aspects of distracting scenes to learn more about how we focus on one audio-visual talker and ignore others.

Cylindrical Phononic Crystals Sense Physical, Chemical Properties of Transported Liquids

Phononic crystals are an innovative resonant platform for sensing and understanding the volumetric properties of liquids, attracting a growing interest from researchers. In The Journal of Applied Physics, by AIP Publishing, researchers from France and Germany propose the design of a tubular phononic crystal (TPC) for the purpose of sensing the biochemical and physical properties of a liquid filling the hollow part of the tube.

Voices of Reason? Study Links Acoustic Correlations, Gender to Vocal Appeal

What makes a voice attractive? The question is the subject of broad interest, with far-reaching implications in our personal lives, the workplace, and society. In The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, scientists describe research that explores the interactions between gender and articulatory precision to gauge vocal attractiveness. They were surprised to find a sizable gender difference in speech intelligibility.

COVID-19 Creates Hearing, Balance Disorders, Aggravates Tinnitus Symptoms

Evidence suggests auditory and vestibular effects should be added to the growing list of physiological impacts of COVID-19. During the 180th Meeting, Colleen Le Prell from the University of Texas at Dallas will talk about hearing and balance disorders associated with coronavirus infection and how pandemic-related stress and anxiety may aggravate tinnitus symptoms. Her presentation, “Hearing disorders secondary to infection with SARS-CoV-2,” will take place Thursday, June 10.

Headphones, Earbuds Impact Younger Generations’ Future Audio Health

As more people are taking advantage of music on the go, personal audio systems are pumping up the volume to the detriment of the listener’s hearing. During the 180th ASA Meeting, Daniel Fink from The Quiet Coalition and Jan Mayes will talk about current research into personal audio system usage and the need for public health hearing conservation policies. Their session, “Personal audio system use can harm auditory health,” will take place Thursday, June 10.

Pandemic Quarantine Acoustically Contributes to Mental, Physical Health Degradation

The prolonged impact of the COVID-19 pandemic created widespread lockdown fatigue and increased social tension in multiunit housing, but small improvements in quality-of-life routines may help people cope. During the 180th ASA Meeting, Braxton Boren from American University will discuss noise prevention techniques and the use of alterative acoustic stimulation to help those who find themselves in pandemic-related lockdowns. The session, “The Soundscape of Quarantine,” will take place Wednesday, June 9.

Acoustical Evolution Increases Battle Between Predator, Prey

In the battle between hunter and hunted, sound plays an integral part in success or failure. In the case of bats vs. moths, the insects are using acoustics against their winged foes. During the 180th ASA Meeting, Thomas Neil from the University of Bristol will discuss how moth wings have evolved in composition and structure to help them create anti-bat defenses. The session, “Moth wings are acoustic metamaterials,” will take place Wednesday, June 9.

Measuring Sound Diversity of Quietness

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 ASA Meeting, 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.

Personalized Soundscape Could Help People with Dementia with Time, Place Recognition

Designing a soundscape to improve quality of life for an individual is centered on putting their perception at the heart of the process. During the 180th ASA Meeting, Arezoo Talebzadeh from Ghent University will show how a personalized soundscape can help those with dementia by providing clues regarding time of day and place. The session, “Soundscape design for people with dementia; the correlation between psychoacoustic parameter and human perception,” will take place Wednesday, June 9.

Newborns on ventilators can now be better protected from a common breathing tube incident

After 30 years of development, a medical device designed to continuously monitor the airways of the tiniest ventilated patients could become the standard of care for babies worldwide

Potential Vocal Tracking App Could Detect Depression Changes

According to the World Health Organization, more than 264 million people worldwide have Major Depression Disorder and another 20 million have schizophrenia. During the 180th ASA Meeting, Carol Espy-Wilson from the University of Maryland,will discuss how a person’s mental health status is reflected in the coordination of speech gestures. The keynote lecture, “Speech Acoustics and Mental Health Assessment,” will take place Tuesday, June 8.

Noisy Homes During Pandemic Drive Future Design Choices

Due to strict lockdowns, many of us have seen and heard our family and neighbors much more than ever before. During the 180th ASA Meeting, Ayca Sentop Dümen and Konca Saher from the Turkish Acoustical Society will discuss the effects of pandemic-related noise on people’s satisfaction with their homes and how this may inform future design choices. Their presentation, “Noise annoyance in dwellings during the first wave of Covid-19,” will take place Tuesday, June 8.

Balancing Speech Intelligibility, Face Covering Effectiveness in Classrooms During the Pandemic

A better understanding of the impacts of face masks and shields on acoustic transmission in classrooms could help optimize educational settings. During the 180th ASA Meeting, Laura and Rich Ruhala from Kennesaw State University will talk about how various types of face coverings may affect students’ understanding of their teacher. Their presentation, “Acoustical transmission of face coverings used to reduce coronavirus transmission in a classroom environment,” will take place Tuesday, June 8.

Teaching Drones to Hear Screams from Catastrophe Victims

Unmanned aerial vehicles may help emergency crews find those in need and provide situational awareness over a large area. During the 180th ASA Meeting, Macarena Varela from Fraunhofer FKIE will describe how a system using an array of microphones and advanced processing techniques could be a lifesaver for disaster victims. The session, “Bearing Estimation of Screams Using a Volumetric Microphone Array Mounted on a UAV,” will take place Tuesday, June 8.

Acoustics in Focus: Virtual Press Conference Schedule for 180th Meeting of Acoustical Society of America

Press conferences at the 180th ASA Meeting will cover the latest in acoustical research during the Acoustics in Focus meeting. The virtual press conferences will take place each day of the meeting and offer reporters and outlets the opportunity to hear key presenters talk about their research. To ensure the safety of attendees, volunteers, and ASA staff, Acoustics in Focus will be hosted entirely online.

MEDIA ADVISORY: Story, Feature Ideas from 180th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America

The 180th ASA Meeting, being held virtually June 8-10, will feature sessions on how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted hearing health, affected noise annoyance in urban settings, and adjusted how teachers talked and listened to their students. There will be presentations on how acoustics shapes speech in children, impacts mental health, and potentially signals health problems.

New technology ‘listens’ for endangered right whales

One of the world’s most endangered whale species could have added protection from threats posed by human marine activity, through technology developed by the University of East Anglia (UEA). In partnership with the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) and…

Silicon chips combine light and ultrasound for better signal processing

The continued growth of wireless and cellular data traffic relies heavily on light waves. Microwave photonics is the field of technology that is dedicated to the distribution and processing of electrical information signals using optical means. Compared with traditional solutions…

Save-the-Date: Acoustics in Focus, June 8-10, Offers New Presentation Options

The Acoustical Society of America will hold its 180th meeting June 8-10. To ensure the safety of attendees, volunteers, and ASA staff, the June meeting, “Acoustics in Focus,” will be hosted entirely online with new features to ensure an exciting experience for attendees. Reporters are invited to attend the meeting at no cost and participate in a series of virtual press conferences featuring a selection of newsworthy research.

Better hearing with optical cochlear implants

Understanding spoken words, developing normal speech – cochlear implants enable people with profound hearing impairment to gain a great deal in terms of quality of life. However, background noises are problematic, they significantly compromise the comprehension of speech of people…

Making music from spider webs

WASHINGTON, April 12, 2021 — Spiders are master builders, expertly weaving strands of silk into intricate 3D webs that serve as the spider’s home and hunting ground. If humans could enter the spider’s world, they could learn about web construction,…

Technology uses ‘single’ approach to develop electronics, acoustics

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – A Purdue University innovator has developed a new approach to creating popular thin films used for devices across a broad range of fields, including optics, acoustics and electronics. Epitaxial lithium niobate (LNO) thin films are an…

New skills of Graphene: Tunable lattice vibrations

Without electronics and photonics, there would be no computers, smartphones, sensors, or information and communication technologies. In the coming years, the new field of phononics may further expand these options. That field is concerned with understanding and controlling lattice vibrations…

Nanodiamonds feel the heat

An international team of researchers created nanodiamond sensors that can act as both heat sources and thermometers, and is using them to measure the thermal conductivity inside living cells, which may lead to new diagnostics tools and cancer therapies

Research to advance environmental sound classification wins IEEE Best Paper Award

BROOKLYN, New York, January 13, 2021 – The paper ” Deep Convolutional Neural Networks and Data Augmentation for Environmental Sound Classification ,” has won the 2020 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Signal Processing Society (SPS) Signal Processing Letters…

Wearable Electronics for Continuous Cardiac, Respiratory Monitoring

A small and inexpensive sensor, announced in Applied Physics Letters and based on an electrochemical system, could potentially be worn continuously by cardiac patients or others who require constant monitoring. A solution containing electrolyte substances is placed into a small circular cavity that is capped with a thin flexible diaphragm, allowing detection of subtle movements when placed on a patient’s chest. The authors suggest their sensor could be used for diagnosis of respiratory diseases.

Nanodroplets and ultrasound ‘drills’ prove effective at tackling tough blood clots

Engineering researchers have developed a new technique for eliminating particularly tough blood clots, using engineered nanodroplets and an ultrasound “drill” to break up the clots from the inside out. The technique has not yet gone through clinical testing. In vitro…

Disposable surgical masks best for being heard clearly when speaking, study finds

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Researcher Ryan Corey recently heard from a friend who teaches at a school where some of the students have hearing loss. The friend wanted to know if he had any ideas to help her communicate with these…