Sensitivity to angular and radial source movements in anechoic and echoic single- and multi-source scenarios for listeners with normal and impaired hearing
So far, very little is known about the perception of spatially dynamic sounds, especially under more complex acoustic conditions. Therefore, this study investigated the influence of reverberation and the number of concurrent sources on movement perception of listeners with normal and impaired hearing. Virtual listening environments were simulated with the help of a higher-order Ambisonics-based system that allows rendering complex scenarios with high physical accuracy. Natural environmental sounds were used as the stimuli. Both radial (near-far) and angular (left-right) movement perception were considered. The complexity of the scenarios was varied by adding stationary sound sources as well as reverberation. As expected, hearing-impaired listeners were less sensitive to source movements than normal-hearing listeners, but only for the more complex acoustic conditions. Furthermore, adding sound sources generally resulted in reduced sensitivity to both angular and radial source movements. Reverberation influenced only radial movement detection, for which elevated thresholds were observed. Altogether, these results illustrate the basic utility of the developed test setup for studying factors related to spatial awareness perception.
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