Degradation of Auditory Localization Performance Due to Helmet Ear Coverage: The Effects of Normal Acoustic Reverberation

Report No. ARL-TR-4879
Authors: Angelique A. Scharine
Date/Pages: July 2009; 20 pages
Abstract: Previous research has shown that listeners wearing the Personnel Armor System for Ground Troops (PASGT) helmet performed worse than those wearing the Advanced Combat Helmet on sound localization tasks. The PASGT has greater coverage over the ears. However, these helmets also differ in their suspension systems and profiles. Three versions of a single helmet design, differing only in the ear coverage, were compared in this study. As ear coverage increased, localization performance decreased. Most of the change was due to increases in large errors (>25°). In addition, these effects were tested in both "ideal" laboratory acoustics and in a moderately reverberant environment. Moderate reverberation intensified the effects of ear coverage-improving localization performance without a helmet and impairing it the most in the greatest ear coverage condition.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: July 1, 2009