A computational model of auditory attention for use in soundscape research

J Acoust Soc Am. 2013 Jul;134(1):852-61. doi: 10.1121/1.4807798.


Urban soundscape design involves creating outdoor spaces that are pleasing to the ear. One way to achieve this goal is to add or accentuate sounds that are considered to be desired by most users of the space, such that the desired sounds mask undesired sounds, or at least distract attention away from undesired sounds. In view of removing the need for a listening panel to assess the effectiveness of such soundscape measures, the interest for new models and techniques is growing. In this paper, a model of auditory attention to environmental sound is presented, which balances computational complexity and biological plausibility. Once the model is trained for a particular location, it classifies the sounds that are present in the soundscape and simulates how a typical listener would switch attention over time between different sounds. The model provides an acoustic summary, giving the soundscape designer a quick overview of the typical sounds at a particular location, and allows assessment of the perceptual effect of introducing additional sounds.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Attention*
  • Auditory Perception*
  • City Planning*
  • Humans
  • Neural Networks, Computer*
  • Noise*
  • Perceptual Masking*
  • Research
  • Urban Population*