Factors Affecting Auditory Localization and Situational Awareness in the Urban Battlefield

Report No. ARL-TR-3474
Authors: Angelique A. Scharine and Tomasz R. Letowski
Date/Pages: April 2005; 60 pages
Abstract: Soldiers conducting military operations in an urban terrain require heightened auditory situational awareness because of the complexity of the terrain and highly limited field and range of view. In such situations, people tend to rely more heavily on the sounds they hear and vibrations they feel through the sense of touch. However, the complexity of the urban terrain affects not only vision but also hearing and most notably, the perception of the direction of incoming sound. This report presents a summary of the literature that outlines the acoustic factors affecting a human's ability to localize sound sources in the urban environment. These factors include the acoustic environment of the urban terrain, elements of battleground activities, and limits of human localization capabilities. In addition, the report identifies the areas of research that would clarify localization issues and allow for improvements in training and equipment.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: April 1, 2005