Auditory localization and situational awareness with level-dependent hearing protection devices – Experimental and model-based investigation of detection, localization, and identification or important acoustic events at noisy workplaces

Project No. FF-FP 0489




The goal of this project is to provide the basis for future assessment methods for hearing protection devices (HPDs) with respect to auditory localization and situational awareness. It is already known that level-dependent HPDs can considerably impact peoples capability to localize or recognize alarm signals and speech of colleagues, and that these impacts differ significantly between different HPDs and between different settings of a particular HPD. This can potentially lead to hazardous situations at noisy workplaces or reduce the acceptance for HPDs. However, there are currently no instrumental measurement methods to assess these effects. This means that the only alternative is to conduct extensive listening tests, which is not feasible in practice. This project will therefore first collect perceptual data of auditory situational awareness with various HPDs by means of systematic listening tests. These data will then be used to develop and validate models and instrumental metrics to assess their potential as future time-saving measurement tools for HPDs.


After reviewing and collecting the relevant literature, various aspects of auditory situational will be measured with and without HPDs in systematic listening tests. In particular, speech recognition in noise, detection capabilities of alarm signals, localization errors, front-back confusions, distance perception and audiovisual search capabilities will be measured in normal-hearing listeners. In parallel, technical measurements and recordings with an artificial head will be conducted. These recordings will be used to extract technical measures, which will then be investigated with respect to their relation to the effects observed in the listening tests. The goal is to identify those technical metrics and auditory models (and potentially their extensions) which can predict the main trends of the listening tests with the highest accuracy.

Last Update:

8 Mar 2024


Financed by:
  • Deutsche Gesetzliche Unfallversicherung e. V. (DGUV)
Research institution(s):
  • Fraunhofer-Institut für Digitale Medientechnologie IDMT

-cross sectoral-

Type of hazard:



working environment (load, hazards, exposure, risks), noise, prevention

Description, key words:

hearing protection, noisy workplaces