Evaluation of preferred levels of natural sounds in-situ environment through an augmented reality device
* Presenting author
Many studies have investigated the effect of natural sounds on improving soundscape quality under controlled laboratory conditions. The laboratory settings are, however, limited in reflecting real-life settings, resulting in low ecological validity. In-situ experiments can provide a realistic representation of the real-life settings, which can guarantee high ecological validity. Recently, augmented reality (AR) technology provides an avenue for virtual augmentation of visual and audio elements in the real environment. Therefore, this study investigates the preferred levels of two types of natural sounds (bird and stream) in a noisy in-situ environment using an AR head-mounted device (HMD). Three locations in an outdoor residential area, with background traffic noise levels varying from 60 to 70 dBA, were selected for the in-situ experiment. Participants were instructed to adjust the volume of the natural sounds playing via the loudspeakers of the AR HMD to their most preferred levels at each location. At the end of each volume adjustment, participants were instructed to evaluate the perceived loudness of noise and soundscape quality. Based on the results of the experiment, the effects of types of natural sounds and background noise levels on determining the preferred levels of natural sounds were examined.