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  Soundscape - Progress in the standardization of an integrated approach
HEAD Press Release Herzogenrath (Germany), September 15, 2014
Progress in the standardization of an integrated approach
The integrated soundscape approach is becoming increasingly popular for the analysis and assessment of ambient noise. However, due to a lack of consistent terminology and specified measurement methods, the comparability and transferability of examination results is so far very limited. For this reason an international soundscape standard is currently being developed, which standardizes terms, measurement methods, rating procedures, and other aspects. Definitions of essential terms and the conceptual understanding of the involved factors and processes for a soundscape are already set out in ISO/FDIS 12913 part 1.
The basic assumption is that the focus should be on the perception of the human being, who can rate a sound as annoying or as pleasant (almost) independently of the sound pressure level, depending on the psychoacoustic characteristics and the situation. As an addition to the first part of the standard, an international group of experts is now intensively working on a second part labeled ISO 12913-2. This will mainly describe the acquisition and analysis of perceptual data as well as the execution and evaluation of acoustic measurements. Binaural measurements, the determination of psychoacoustic parameters, the application of special questionnaires, and data acquisition via “sound walks” will be incorporated into the standard.  This standard would not only create an internationally consistent understanding of the soundscape concept, but also ensure the continuity and compatibility of data evaluations.
The ongoing standardization efforts in the soundscape field will presumably lead to a stronger focus on psychoacoustics and contextual aspects in the assessment of ambient noise. A good soundscape not only leads to less annoyance, but can actually have a positive effect on the perceived quality of life. This goes far beyond the conventional notion of ambient sound as noise pollution.
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