The U.S. Army Research Laboratorys Auditory Research for the Dismounted Soldier: Present (20092011) and Future

Report No. ARL-SR-239
Authors: Tomasz R. Letowski; Angélique A. Scharine; Jeremy R. Gaston; Bruce E. Amrein; Mark A. Ericson
Date/Pages: March 2012; 54 pages
Abstract: The objective of the U.S. Army Research Laboratory auditory research program is to enhance Soldier capabilities by understanding the principles that affect auditory perception, including interaction with military equipment, providing the Soldier with uncompromised auditory situation awareness, effective communications capabilities, and protected hearing. Research activities described in this report are centered on the auditory spatial orientation capabilities needed by the dismounted Soldier for navigation in a complex acoustical environment that includes noise, movement, reverberation, and unpredictability. In this environment, the Soldier must communicate both face-to-face and over a radio; detect, identify, and localize ambient (non-speech) sound events; and be protected against impulse and steady-state acoustic threats. This has led to research into the effects of various types of headgear on directional sound detection, auditory localization, and auditory distance perception. One goal of the program is to develop a comprehensive model of localization and distance estimation that incorporates the acoustic features of the Soldier environment for future use in equipment evaluation. Another goal is to develop methods of auditory training that improves a Soldier's ability to differentiate and recognize various sound sources. The unique capabilities of the new Environment for Auditory Research facility permit us to take this research to the next level.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: March 1, 2012