Evaluation of loudness-level weightings for assessing the annoyance of environmental noise

Paul D. Schomer, Yoiti Suzuki, Fumitaka Saito

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


Assessment of the annoyance of combined noise environments has been the subject of much research and debate. Currently, most countries use some form of the A-weighted equivalent level (ALEQ) to assess the annoyance of most noises. It provides a constant filter that is independent of sound level. Schomer [Acust. Acta Acust. 86(1), 49-61 (2000)] suggested the use of the equal loudness-level contours (ISO 226, 1987) as a dynamic filter that changes with both sound level and frequency. He showed that loudness-level-weighted sound-exposure level (LLSEL) and loudness-level-weighted equivalent level (LL-LEQ) can be used to assess the annoyance of environmental noise. Compared with A-weighting, loudness-level weighting better orders and assesses transportation noise sources, sounds with strong low-frequency content and, with the addition of a 12-dB adjustment, it better orders and assesses highly impulsive sounds vis-à-vis transportation sounds. This paper compares the LLSEL method with two methods based on loudness calculations using ISO 532b (1975). It shows that in terms of correlation with subjective judgments of annoyance - not loudness - the LLSEL formulation performs much better than do the loudness calculations. This result is true across a range of sources that includes aircraft, helicopters, motor vehicles, trains, and impulsive sources. It also is true within several of the sources separately.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2390-2397
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number5 I
Publication statusPublished - 2001 Nov 26

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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