Aging effect on detectability, criticality and urgency under various auditory conditions

Arka A. Ghosh, Thurmon Lockhart, Jian Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The objective of the study was to investigate the relationship between different components of an auditory warning signal and determine elderly driver's detection, criticality and urgency perceptions under varied auditory warning conditions. A laboratory study was conducted involving 28 younger and 28 older adults. A pure-tone audiogram was administered for quantification of the participant's hearing level (in dBHL) prior to the test protocols. Audiogram was conducted in a sound isolated booth. The main experiment investigated the effects of frequency, temporal characteristics, aging, and noise on detectability, caution and perceived urgent levels. Method of adjustment was used by the subjects to adjust the sound pressure level (dBA) till they detected, or felt caution or urgent. Overall, the results indicated that elderly had higher sound pressure threshold than younger individuals in all the sessions (i.e., detectability, caution and urgency). Elderly were found to have higher hearing thresholds especially at 4000 Hz. Higher frequencies were also seen to require less sound pressure thresholds to convey feeling of caution and urgency. Sound pressure threshold to convey the feeling of urgency was the lowest for 2000 Hz and 4000 Hz with 1000 Hz requiring the highest threshold intensity. In conclusion, current study findings suggest frequency, temporal and spectral components to influence a person's criterion. We would recommend the use of complex tones (multi-components) having high frequency around 2000 Hz for detection, warning and urgent conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25-35
Number of pages11
JournalTransportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour
StatePublished - May 1 2015


  • Auditory
  • Detectability
  • Elderly drivers
  • Sound pressure threshold
  • Warning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Automotive Engineering
  • Transportation
  • Applied Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'Aging effect on detectability, criticality and urgency under various auditory conditions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this