Loudness and intensity coding

Michael Epstein and Jeremy Marozeau

in Oxford Handbook of Auditory Science: Hearing

Published in print January 2010 | ISBN: 9780199233557
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 Loudness and intensity coding

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  • Psychology
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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This article is concerned with the auditory representation of sound intensity, and its perceptual correlate of loudness. Loudness is the primary perceptual correlate of physical sound intensity or strength, often described as the characteristic of sound ranging from very soft to very loud. It discusses intensity discrimination and the dynamic range of hearing, techniques for measuring loudness, and the complex relation of loudness to the physical characteristics of sounds. Following this, the article explains how loudness is affected by parameters, and how intensity is coded in the auditory system. Furthermore, it provides a historical overview of loudness modelling. It also gives a brief overview of the perception of loudness for hearing-impaired listeners. Finally, it describes important new developments in loudness modelling.

Keywords: loudness; intensity coding; sound intensity; auditory system; hearing-impaired

Article.  11314 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Cognitive Psychology ; Cognitive Neuroscience

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