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Title: The acoustic aspects of visually impaired peoples' space : the lateralization of 3D sound in reverberant virtual environments
Author: Lawson, Mark Alan
ISNI:       0000 0001 3606 1428
Awarding Body: University of Reading
Current Institution: University of Reading
Date of Award: 2008
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This thesis is concerned with: Assessing the usefulness of spatial acoustics to navigation and testing the changing accuracy of that ability with changing stimuli, room acoustics and visual ability. The results of this study have the potential to inform good building and acoustic design, which could improve navigation, within buildings, for Visually Impaired People. This thesis describes the spatial hearing mechanism, termed .localisation or lateralization when using headphones and an experiment to test the effect of the hypothesised variables. These include sound stimuli type, room reverberation RT60 (2 • 0.5 second$) and visual impairment. The experiment. uses two sample groups of visually impaired persons (VIP) and non-visually impaired persons (NVIP). The results indicate that lateralization ability does not differ at a statistically significant level with visual ability; that lateralization using signals with strong Onset disparities is independent ofRT6O but not of Early Reflections; that lateralization using interaural level and timing differences is dependent on RT60 and; a person's subjective opinion of their ability or suitability of listening environment does not relate to objective performance. Lastly, it is hypothesised that: Onset Disparities constitute more reliable auditory information than ,. interaural level or timing differences and that they are thereby treated differently by the neurological system; That late reverberant energy will affect lateralization, only when there is an absence of strong directional cues and in these instances a subject's perception of a sound's direction may also be influenced by other factors such as, the direction of visual attention, and; That the ability of a subject to determine the direction of a sound by hearing is a function of training rather than visual ability.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available