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Research Projects

Information about planned or ongoing projects in collaboration with the Sound Environment Centre 

Speakers Comfort

Ass. prof.Jonas Brunskog announces the final report from the AFA-funded research project Speakers’ Comfort available.
The project has run over four years and, as well as project manager Jonas Brunskog, has involved Viveka Lyberg Åhlander, Anders Löfqvist, David Pelegrín-García and Roland Rydell. The project has included two doctoral projects (Lyberg Åhlander and Pelegrin-Garcia) and Viveka Lyberg Åhlander has recently defended her thesis “Voice use in teaching environments – Speakers’ comfort” (Division of Logopedics, Phoniatrics & Audiology, Clinical Sciences, Lund, 2011). 

The report “Speakers’ comfort and voice disorders in classrooms” describes the aim of the project thus: “The overall aim of the project has been to investigate the voice use of teachers in relation to the acoustic properties of the classroom, and to study whether speakers take into account auditory cues to regulate their voice levels, even in the absence of background noise”. 

Read a summary here (swedish) 

Read and download the full report here

AFA has awarded SEK 4.5 million to this SEC project. Project manager, Reader Jonas Brunskog, says: “Today, there is a lack of studies that show the connection between the health or ill health of teachers’ voices in relation to voice use, background noise and the design of the physical environment in the classroom and other teaching rooms. The project will investigate the connection between how the voice is used and the characteristics of the room, including background noise. The results will provide guidelines for the design of a good speaking environment in classrooms and other rooms used for speaking without amplification.” 

Status: completed 
Contact person: Jonas Brunskog, DTU. 
Participating researchers: Reader Jonas Brunskog, junior doctor, Ørsted, DTU, and SEC, Lund University, Dr Anders Christian Gade, junior doctor, Ørsted, DTU, (doctoral student, ditto), Dr Erling Nilsson, Ecophon, Professor Anders Löfqvist, Division of Logopedics, Phoniatrics and Audiology, Lund University, Dr Roland Rydell, consultant phoniatrist, ditto, Reader Lucyna Schalén, phoniatrist, ditto, Viveka Lyberg Åhlander, Speech and Language Therapist, lecturer, ditto, Reader Jörn Nielsen, consultant, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Lund University, Reader Maria Albin, consultant, ditto and SEC. 

Development on voice disorders        Brunskog has recieved further three million swedish kr 2012 to lead the core research group to continue the research on voice health in the project "Speaker Comfort". This time focus is on how voice disorders are developed over time, studied with help on high-speed filming and bio mechanical modelling of the voice apparatus. Med.dr Viveka Lyberg Åhlander will work together with him as well as other renowned researchers as Anders Löfqvist and Roland Rydell. 

Every third person in working age has a job that put demands on their voice capacities. As the previous project has showed many teachers for example are constantly straining their voices in unhealthy ways. 

The project is a collaboration beween Lund university and DTU Denmark Technical University, and is one of seven new research projects donated 20 million från AFA insurance i Sweden. 

Status: ongoing 

Contact persons: Jonas Brunskog & Viveka Lyberg Åhlander 

Noise & particle exposure                   
A research project to study simultaneous exposure to noise and particles has been awarded SEK 3 240 000 by Formas. The project is linked to the Sound Environment Centre in Lund and is led by Anders Gudmundson

Epidemiological studies show that exposure to airborne particles is a risk factor for heart disease and mortality. In urban environments, it is obvious that the source to which all are exposed is traffic. The main aim of the project is to determine the impact of simultaneous exposure to airborne particles and noise on measureable physiological effects in humans. 

Status: begun
Contact person: Anders Gudmundson, Division of Ergonomics and Aerosol Technology, Department of Design Sciences 


SEC researchers awarded research funding from FAS 
Researchers Maria Albin (Occupational and Environmental Medicine) and Gerd Johansson (Ergonomics), both linked to the Sound Environment Centre, have been awarded FAS "strong research environments funding" for the Centre for Medicine and Technology for Work Life and Society (METALUND). The project indirectly involves noise and acoustic environment issues. 

Status: ongoing
Contact persons: Maria Albin, Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Gerd Johansson, Division of Ergonomics and Aerosol Technology, Department of Design Sciences 

Traffic noise, recreation and health
The project looks at the connection between exposure to traffic noise in the home, the recreational value of the immediate surroundings, and health. Two major questionnaire surveys are used (a basic survey and a follow-up) combined with geographic information systems (GIS).
The main aims are to: 1) design improved methods for estimating the population’s exposure to traffic noise and access to areas of recreational value 2) study the connection between these aspects of the home environment and wellbeing in the neighbourhood, physical activity, concentration ability, recovery (sleep), obesity and treatment for blood pressure disorders 3) study whether the effect varies by age, sex or socioeconomic circumstances 4) estimate the relative importance of factors relating to the individual and the surroundings for the conditions studied. 

Status: planned
Contact person: Maria Albin, Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Erik Skärbäck, SLU, Jonas Brunskog, DTU 


Train noise in Scania – exposure of the population
Klara Liljewalch-Fogelmark “Train noise in Skåne – Exposure of the Population” (degree project in Physical Geography). The project describes estimations of noise from rail traffic in Scania (Skåne) County and the local population’s exposure to train noise. It is based on a program that has been developed to calculate noise buffer zones along railway lines, which are approximated as line sources. Using rail traffic information from 2005 from the southern railway region, noise values for trains in Skåne have been estimated with the help of a simplified version of the Nordic calculation model for noise from rail traffic, NMT. Population data from 2003 has been used for exposure calculations. 

Status: completed
Contact persons: Klara Liljewalch-Fogelmark, Jonas Ardö, GIS-centrum 

Eye movement and cognition, noise disturbance and sound stimuli 
The aim of the project is to measure how students’ and young people’s reading is affected by simultaneously listening to music (self-selected or not) or exposure to various types of background noise. By measuring the reading process using eye tracking, reading comprehension tests, etc., the study aims to create understanding of the reading behaviour of young people and students. 

Status: sub-project completed, paper published in Psychology of Music 2009, p1-33. Larger project planned 
Contact persons: Kenneth Holmqvist, Frans Mossberg, Magnus Lindgren 

Sound exposure, eye movement and cognitive stress

This is a study of how senses and cognition are affected by music and noise disturbances and how this effect can be measured in reading behaviour and eye movements using advanced eye tracking equipment at the Humanities Laboratory at the Centre for Languages and Literature in Lund and GSR (Galvanic Skin Response). The project is a continuation of the above project that was awarded funding by the Future Foundation in June 2007. This continuation study focuses on whether and how fundamental parameters in noise exposure affect cognition. The aim of the project is to draw up a framework to study the impact of noise exposure on cognitive and emotional processes, a framework that could serve to expand knowledge in a range of different fields and issues. New ‘research modules’ could be developed at a later stage and integrated with this framework. Such covers responses to music, noise, silence when reading, screen observation, the impact of advertising, film reception, etc. 

Status: ongoing 

Contact: Frans Mossberg, Kenneth Holmqvist 

The Coctail Effect, Age and Music recognition

This interdisciplinary collaboration between musicology and acoustics investigates to what degree aging subjects (compared to others) can identify and distinguish between voices in a musical piece when these are partly masked by other sounds in the orchestra. In order to realize this study a special software was constructed at DTU to make it possible to extract or add voices to a musical multiinstrumental recording. 


Contact persons: Greger Andersson, Jonas Brunskog  

Sound and noise then and now
The aim of the project is to 1) digitalise the responses to a questionnaire that was sent out by the Folk Life Archives at Lund University in late 2005/early 2006. Under the heading Sound and Noise (LUF 219) people were asked to say what sound meant in their lives. Digitalisation makes it possible to increase the accessibility of the material for use in research 2) compile and evaluate the responses. The project aims to highlight key perspectives and experiences and provide researchers who wish to use the material with an overview of it, in order to be able to quickly orientate themselves as to what research questions the material can be used for and what areas and aspects of sound and noise are dealt with. 

Status: planned
Contact persons: Frans Mossberg, Department of Arts and Cultural Sciences, Charlotte Hagström, Division of Ethnology 

Visualisation of sound as a tool for music- and performance analysis 
Software analysis of a musical performance is currently possible using a range of complex and often expensive programs. The project will investigate the possibility of constructing a piece of software exclusively for the analysis of music and performance. 
Software visualisation of music means that performed music is represented graphically, making it easier to understand the significance of different nuances, especially of timbre, timing and expressivity in vocal performances. One aim is to be able to follow up observations in a way that is empirical and verifiable in order to facilitate a common musicology discussion on the experiences and observations of the individual. 
Synchronous observation of performed music together with observation of graphic representations of the sound signals and analysis of identifiable correlations between them makes it easier to pinpoint elements and variables in the musical flow in a manner that previously was very difficult. 

Status: planned
Contact persons: Frans Mossberg, Department of Arts and Cultural Sciences, Jonas Brunskog, DTU 

Tinnitus and hearing damage and socioeconomic factors 
Hearing damage and tinnitus not only affect sufferers and those closest to them; they also cost society large sums for health care, preventive measures, disability aids and insurance. The project aims to compile socioeconomic cost estimations using data from the health service. 

Status: planned, pending
Contact person: Björn Lindgren, Lund Centre for Health Economics, Ingrid Lennart, Lund University Hospital, Division of Logopedics, Phoniatrics and Audiology, Lund University 

Operative Sounds – our invisible everyday information carriers
The project aims to study the acoustic and significative properties of sounds that function most effectively as information carriers in human-machine interactions.
The project is to be regarded as a pilot project to provide a basis for the formulation of a longer-term research project. The project has three main aims: 1) to carry out an inventory of the current state of knowledge on the design and use of artificially created sounds in our day-to-day environment. Consideration is given to both sighted and sight-impaired persons 2) to perform a small empirical study to acquire a basis for continued studies on the best way to design sound in order for it to form an effective information carrier that can be used optimally by the majority of the population 3) to conduct studies both in real environments and in the laboratory in order to help decide how the future study should best be designed. 

Status: planned
Contact person: Gerd Johansson, Division of Ergonomics and Aerosol Technology, Department of Design Sciences 

Traffic noise and high blood pressure
A research group from the Division of Epidemiology and Environmental Medicine recently published research findings concerning the effect of noise on health. Road traffic noise is the most significant source of disturbing noise in our surroundings and around 30% of the population of the EU are exposed to a 24-hour average level in excess of 55dB. Previous studies have shown negative effects on health, for example sleep disturbance and cognitive problems in children. Other health effects that have been studied in recent years are high blood pressure and heart attacks. The present study compared data on high blood pressure from the 2004 Skåne public health survey (n=24 238) with noise levels in the home, calculated using geographic information systems (GIS). People aged 40–59 who were exposed to noise levels of 60–64dB had a 27% greater risk of high blood pressure than the control group (<45dB), even after adjustments were made for factors such as age, sex, BMI, exercise levels, smoking and education. At levels exceeding 65dB, the risk of high blood pressure was almost doubled, but since this group was small, the results must be interpreted with a certain degree of caution. The study shows a connection that previously has been little studied, namely that there appears to be a greater risk of high blood pressure associated with traffic noise among those in middle age than among younger and in particular older people. This study cannot offer an explanation for this, but it may be the case that those in middle age have a lower tolerance threshold for noise owing to a higher number of other stress factors in life, and thus are affected to a greater degree. It is therefore important to study this group more closely in future research in the field. 

Status: ongoing 

Contact person: Maria Albin, Theo Bodin 


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