About this Research Topic
Sound environment is a significant factor to be considered in building sustainable and healthy urban communities and cities. Soundscape, as defined by the International Organization for Standardization is an acoustic environment that is perceived or experienced and/or understood by a person or people in a certain context. The current soundscape research has been mainly focused on the planning, design or management of urban spaces (e.g., parks, open spaces, and streets) and functional buildings (e.g., hospitals, schools, offices and residences) but little attention has been paid to the human appreciation to sound and its contribution to human well-being. The experience of environment can result in either positive or negative perceptual outcomes, which are in turn related to the emotional states as well as well-being of people. For instance, natural environment as well as music can induce positive emotions and help restoring attention and reducing mental fatigue, however noise may lead to hearing loss, annoyance, sleep disturbance, and even cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. Research in this area has been primarily focusing on the differences among individuals however the differences between groups are not often given enough prominence in environmental psychological studies, particularly the vulnerable groups.
Vulnerable groups refer to individuals or communities considered particularly susceptible to coercion or undue influence in a research setting. For sound perception research, vulnerable groups include but are not limited to the aged, children, disabled, patients, and the low-income, etc. Study shows that the elderly have special challenges for hearing in noise; noise could disturb patients’ sleep and even children's cognitive development; and people with high noise sensitivity are more susceptible to noise.
Therefore, this Research Topic aims to answer 3 major questions for vulnerable groups: 1)what types of people are vulnerable groups in urban or building sound environments? 2)What are the differences between vulnerable and general groups in sound perception? And 3) what kind of sound environments are psychologically beneficial for vulnerable groups? The focus could either be on theoretical or methodological aspects.
The sub-themes include but are not limited to the following:
• Sound perception of low-income groups
• Restoration of the sound environment in patients
• Soundscape perception across ages
• Effect of sound and/or noise on children’s well-being
• Impacts of socioeconomic status on sound perception
• Soundscape perception in hearing-impaired people
• Soundscape design for blind people
• Standardized evaluation methods on soundscape for vulnerable groups
• Adverse effects caused by noise on vulnerable groups
• Potential benefits brought by soundscape for vulnerable groups
Keywords: Sound Perception, Soundscape, Vulnerable Groups, Health, Restoration, Theoretical Framework, Methodological Tool
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