September 24, 2009 -- How does video game sound trigger panic attacks? Can beams of ultrasound energy prevent kidney stones? What is science telling us about the voices of teachers, the sound of bats, and the noises of a high school gymnasium?
These questions and others from the field of acoustics -- the science of sound -- will be discussed at the upcoming 158th meeting of the Acoustical Society of America (ASA). From October 26-30 in San Antonio, Texas, the world's foremost experts in acoustics will report on research that draws from scientific disciplines as diverse as medicine, music, psychology, engineering, speech communication, and marine biology.
Journalists are invited to cover the upcoming meeting either onsite in San Antonio or online through the meeting's World Wide Press Room. Meeting registration information can be found at the end of this release.
PRELIMINARY MEETING HIGHLIGHTS
The following list contains a few preliminary highlights of the meeting. In the coming weeks, additional news releases that will feature interesting meeting presentations in more detail will be available.
HOW VIDEO GAME SOUNDS TRIGGER PANIC ATTACKS
"The auditory brainstem response (ABR) was recorded during simultaneous binaural presentation of two types of sounds. Implications include (1) possible new evidence of the effect of selective attention on the ABR, (2) the potential for using auditory stressors to study the central physiology of emotional responses in humans, and (3) clues to physiological correlates of the effects of certain video games known to evoke panic attacks in susceptible players."
TEACHERS USE HIGHER-PITCHED VOICES AT SCHOOL
"This study creates a more concise picture of the vocal demands placed on teachers by comparing occupational voice use with non-occupational voice use."
NEW ULTRASOUND TECHNOLOGY DISLODGES KIDNEY STONE FRAGMENTS
"Residual kidney stone fragments often remain months after treatment. These fragments may nucleate new stones and contribute to a 50% recurrence within 5 years. Here, a research focused ultrasound device was used to generate fragment motion with the goal of facilitating passage."
DETECTING UNDERGROUND TUNNELING
"The ability to detect tunneling activity under borders and perimeters has become an increasingly important problem. Persistent, automated, passive surveillance of expansive areas for tunnel activity is a technical challenge because of the processing and hardware costs ..."
MAKING A HIGH SCHOOL GYMNASIUM LESS NOISY
"The gymnasium was constructed of entirely concave shapes which resulted in severe sound focusing. The space was extremely reverberant and exhibited many distinct, distracting reflections. Impulse responses were made in the space and computer models were made. The goal was to find a solution to reduce unwanted reflections and shorten the reverberation time ..."
ADAPTING TO FOREIGN ACCENTS
"Finally, we demonstrated that exposure to multiple accents (e.g., Korean‐, Hindi‐, Mandarin‐, and Romanian‐accented English) can facilitate accent‐independent adaptation, i.e., adaptation to both a trained accented (Mandarin‐accented English) and an untrained accent (Slovakian‐accented English). This work builds a strong case for highly flexible speech perception mechanisms."
HOW LOUD IS THAT iPOD?
"The recent development and popular use of personally worn digital music devices (PDMDs) have led to concerns about the intensity levels they produce. There is concern that users will set a PDMD to levels that are known to be hazardous to human hearing ..."
THE MOTORCYCLE SOUNDSCAPE
"This paper examines how noise level differs depending on one's location to a motorcycle by mapping the sound pressure level of various styles and designs of motorcycles three dimensionally."
BATS AIM THEIR ECHOLOCATION
"Thus, by adjusting intensity, directionality, and beam air of their calls, bats can actively filter and control the "sound-picture" of their surroundings that they perceive through echolocation."
COCHLEAR "DEAD REGIONS" IN HEARING IMPAIRED EARS
"The purpose of this study is to investigate if comodulation masking release experiments with hearing impaired (HI) individuals can be used as a reliable method to detect dead regions in the cochlea, if any ..."
QUANTIFYING THE IMPACT OF FISHING ON ATLANTIC HERRING
"In this presentation, we report on a pilot study conducted in the summer of 2009 that uses these acoustic systems to quantify and describe herring aggregations before and after midwater trawling with a pair of fishing vessels ..."
WHALES AND THE COCKTAIL PARTY EFFECT
"It has been observed that clicks within a single sperm whale coda have similar time and frequency properties, but these properties can differ from one coda to the next. Thus, it may be possible to identify individual sperm whales acoustically from the properties of their coda clicks ..."
Main meeting website: http://asa.
Full meeting program: http://asa.
Searchable index: http://asa.
WORLD WIDE PRESS ROOM
In October, ASA's World Wide Press Room (www.acoustics.org/press) will be updated with additional tips on dozens of newsworthy stories and with lay-language papers, which are ~500-word summaries of presentations written by scientists for a general audience and accompanied by photos, audio, and video.
We will grant free registration to credentialed full-time journalists and professional freelance journalists working on assignment for major news outlets. If you are a reporter and would like to attend, please contact Jason Bardi (email@example.com, 301-209-3091), who can also help to set with setting up interviews and obtaining images, sound clips, or background information.
ABOUT THE ACOUSTICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA
The Acoustical Society of America (ASA) is the premier international scientific society in acoustics devoted to the science of technology of sound. Its 7,500 members worldwide represent a broad spectrum of the study of acoustics. ASA publications include The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America (the world's leading journal on acoustics), Acoustics Today magazine, books and standards on acoustics. The society also holds two major scientific meetings each year. For more information about ASA, visit our website at http://asa.