A new method of calculating auditory excitation patterns and loudness for steady sounds

Hear Res. 2011 Dec;282(1-2):204-15. doi: 10.1016/j.heares.2011.08.001. Epub 2011 Aug 10.


A new method for calculating auditory excitation patterns and loudness for steady sounds is described. The method is based on a nonlinear filterbank in which each filter is the sum of a broad passive filter and a sharp active filter. All filters have a rounded-exponential shape. For each center frequency (CF), the gain of the active filter is controlled by the output of the passive filter. The parameters of the model were derived from large sets of previously published notched-noise masking data obtained from human subjects. Excitation patterns derived using the new filterbank include the effects of basilar membrane compression. Loudness can be calculated as the area under the excitation pattern when plotted in intensity-like units on an ERB(N)-number (Cam) scale; no transformation from excitation to specific loudness is required. The method predicts the standard equal-loudness contours and loudness as a function of bandwidth with good accuracy. With some additional assumptions, the method also gives reasonably accurate predictions of partial loudness.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Auditory Pathways / physiology*
  • Auditory Threshold
  • Basilar Membrane / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Loudness Perception*
  • Models, Biological*
  • Noise / adverse effects
  • Nonlinear Dynamics*
  • Perceptual Masking
  • Reproducibility of Results