Towards soundscape indices
* Presenting author
The growing field of soundscape studies considers sound environments as perceived, in context, with an interdisciplinary approach. This paper outlines an ongoing European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Grant project, which aims to establish “soundscape indices” (SSID). By taking psychological, (psycho)acoustical, neural and physiological, and contextual factors into account, SSID will adequately reflect levels of human comfort to integrate (and eventually replace) decibel-based metrics commonly used in existing (international) regulations, shifting the focus from noise control to a more holistic approach. Steps to achieve this include: to characterise soundscapes, by capturing acoustic environments and establishing a comprehensive database; to identify key factors and their influence on soundscape quality based on the database, by conducting laboratory psychological evaluation, acoustical/psychoacoustic factors analysis, and also, to research the neural and physiological underpinnings of soundscape perception, by applying techniques such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and Skin Conductance Response; to develop, test and validate the soundscape indices, through analysing the influences of various factors; to demonstrate the applicability of the soundscape indices in practice, by establishing frameworks for soundscape prediction, design, and standardisation. Ultimately, the findings of SSID will allow for easy assessment of public spaces and the increase of the noise management impact.