The audibility of pure tones presented against typical domestic sounds was investigated in a psychoacoustic experiment conducted with young and older listeners. The sound pressure levels of pure tones were varied at several signal-to-noise ratios to find a range of auditory signals that are audible and comfortably loud in noisy conditions. Ratings of the listeners were analyzed in terms of A- weighted sound pressure levels and 1/3 octave band levels of the target tones and background noises. The results revealed that both listener groups assigned similar ratings to various combinations of pure tones and domestic sounds. However, when the tone frequency was 2,000 Hz or higher, older listeners needed a higher tone level to attain a certain level of audibility. On the basis of the results, the authors propose sound-level ranges of auditory signals for consumer products intended for users of various ages and for users who might have age-related hearing loss.
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