Category: Solent Acoustics

Experimental Tinnitus Treatment

Around 10% of all adults in the UK suffer from tinnitus, with some reporting depression, sleep deprivation, and anxiety, which are having a considerable negative impact on their quality of life. There is currently no direct cure for tinnitus, most treatments are for other medical conditions that may be causing tinnitus as a side effect, or using relaxation techniques and noise masking to block its effects temporarily. Although for many patients tinnitus can dull over time, for some the condition only gets worse with age.

Cupped Hand Amplification

It may be common knowledge that cupping your hand around your ear can help to amplify sounds, making speech more intelligible or making a distant whisper just a little louder, but what does the hand do to the ear to make it easier to hear these sounds?

Experiencing Hearing Loss

To better understand the difficulties of living with various types of hearing loss we have created this simple comparison using a piece of music and an audiobook, that explores the differences between broadband hearing loss, notches (or noise induced hearing loss), old age, and tinnitus.

Malta’s Hypogeum of Ħal-Saflieni

The UNESCO World Heritage Site at Paola, Malta has special significance due to its remarkable acoustic properties. The Hypogeum of Ħal-Saflieni is an underground cave system covering around 500m² on 3 levels, with various inter-connecting corridors and passageways that lead to a number of small chambers, built between 3000-2500BC. The cave system was re-discovered in 1902 and since then there has been particular interest in one of the rooms, named the “Oracle Chamber”. The space is said to amplify voices dramatically, with certain frequencies resonating enough to be felt through the body.

The Acoustic-Optical Microphone

A relatively new development from VocalZoom, a voice communications company based in Israel, involves the use of a combination of microphone and optical sensor to drastically improve voice communication in noisy environments.

Named “SEEON” or Speech Enhancement Electro Optical Microphone, the new technology aims to offer 20-40dB of noise reduction in situations such as high volume industrial workplaces, busy cityscapes and parties.

Perceptually optimised sound zones

Last month we had the pleasure of an invitation to the University of Surrey, to attend a presentation and demonstration of some really interesting research on sound zones.

The team, headed by Dr Philip Jackson, was supported by Bang & Olufsen, and is a joint effort from the Centre for Vision, Speech, & Signal Processing, and the Institute of Sound Recording within the University.

Can a pill prevent hearing loss?

Some very interesting work by Dr. Kathleen Campbell is revealing that there may be potential to produce an orally induced drug that could act as a preventative to hearing loss. 

Acousto-Optic Scanning: Seeing Sound

Being able to visually interpret sound would be an extremely useful function, one that could aid people in the understanding of wave propagation and how those waves interact with each other. As well as this, visualising sound could aid loudspeaker design as manufacturers are able to more accurately study the interference patterns that determine the directivity and frequency response of their products.

Researchers at the National Physical Laboratory seem to have done just that, using a scanning laser Doppler vibrometer that can measure the minute changes in optical phase as the laser passes through an acoustic field.

The Acoustics of the Epidaurus Theatre

Situated across the Saronic Gulf from Athens, the ancient greek city of Epidaurus is home to a 15,000 seat theatre that was once used for lavish dramas and banquets. It is well known for having remarkable acoustic properties, allowing voices from the stage to travel clearly to the very top row of seats, without amplification.

Researchers from Georgia’s Institute of Technology have discovered the science behind the Greek theatre’s incredible acoustics, carrying out in-situ measurements and using computer modelling to determine what effect the steep incline and unique layout have on the propagation of sound.