Date of Award


Publication Type

Doctoral Thesis

Degree Name



Mechanical, Automotive, and Materials Engineering

First Advisor

Novak, Colin


Binaural Summation, Loudness, Psychoacoustics, Time-varying, TVL




As the perceived quality of a product is becoming more important in the manufacturing industry, more emphasis is being placed on accurately predicting the sound quality of everyday objects. This study was undertaken to improve upon current prediction techniques with regard to the psychoacoustic descriptor of loudness and an improved binaural summation technique. The feasibility of this project was first investigated through a loudness matching experiment involving thirty-one subjects and pure tones of constant sound pressure level. A dependence of binaural summation on frequency was observed which had previously not been a subject of investigation in the reviewed literature. A follow-up investigation was carried out with forty-eight volunteers and pure tones of constant sensation level. Contrary to existing theories in literature the resulting loudness matches revealed an amplitude versus frequency relationship which confirmed the perceived increase in loudness when a signal was presented to both ears simultaneously as opposed to one ear alone. The resulting trend strongly indicated that the higher the frequency of the presented signal, the greater the increase in observed binaural summation. The results from each investigation were summarized into a single binaural summation algorithm and inserted into an improved time-varying loudness model. Using experimental techniques, it was demonstrated that the updated binaural summation algorithm was a considerable improvement over the state of the art approach for predicting the perceived binaural loudness. The improved function retained the ease of use from the original model while additionally providing accurate estimates of diotic listening conditions from monaural WAV files. It was clearly demonstrated using a validation jury test that the revised time-varying loudness model was a significant improvement over the previously standardized approach.