Tone Deafness

There is usually no problem with tone deaf people and tonal languages - first, because tone deafness is less common among such speakers, secondly because the jumps in pitch are quite large, and thirdly because there are all sorts of other auditory queues as well as just the pitch.

Ears are incredibly complex hardware - they are nothing like microphones. In many ways, they are much more complex than eyes, which deliver a relatively "raw" image from the retina (the visual processing systems in the brain are seriously complex, of course). You have more nerves going from the brain to the ears in order to train and "program" your ears in your first couple of years of life, than you have nerves coming from the ears to the brain.

Tone deafness, however, is a defect in the brain rather than in the ears. It affects something like 5-10% of westerners, depending on how it is classified.

Reply to
David Brown
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How are you going to "announce" what the sounds emitted from the annunciator means? If people hear a noise, will they actually do "the appropriate thing" (whatever that might be)?

Reply to
Tom Gardner

When swapping to driving on the wrong side of the road on holiday, to our surprise both I and my wife confused "go left" and "go right" in the same way.

Problem was removed by saying "go your way" and go my way"

Reply to
Tom Gardner

you were driving in England then :)

Bye Jack

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Reply to
Jack

You may be on to something there. Though my mom died in my early twenties, i knew that she couldn't sing; total monotone. but i'll bet she could hear the differences as she loved music and dancing. It was kind of a family thing that they both loved "Donkey Serenade" from some comic opera, though it wasn't until many years/tears later before my dad died a couple of decades later that i understood.

There is a flaw in her voice.

?-)

Reply to
josephkk

Which clearly indicates you have no understanding of the ear-brain combination. (Except for one example of such, of course).

Reply to
Tom Gardner

About 1/3 of the world's population drives on the correct side, in about 1/3 of the world's countries, if this is top be believed:

Of course in some of those countries, particularly large countries, there is only a "marked bias" towards driving on the left :)

Don't know how it works at the border between Hong Kong and China :)

Reply to
Tom Gardner

You would be in trouble with Mandarin or any tonal language but I know someone who cannot reliably answer "up, down or same" to two pure tone notes played in succession (although this is incredibly rare).

Choosing two notes an octave apart is probably not a good idea. They would be hard for some perhaps many people to distinguish. I am not sure what the best combination or separation would be but a pure frequency sine wave for happy and a dischordant squarewave chord for unhappy ought to be distinguishable even by someone who is tone deaf.

If you count realtime Fourier analysis with additional temporal resolution on transients beyond what classical signal processing permits then yes they are "simple" hardware. In practice it is a lot harder than that and the ear is easily fooled by auditory illusions like the forever rising tone in shades of Escher.

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Reply to
Martin Brown

Everyone can tell beep-beep from beep.

My car is programmed to wait until it is going pretty fast, and then sound GONG-GONG-GONG (yeah, 3 times and loud) to make the driver jump. "Oh, no. Something serious." The info display gives details. "Washer fluid low."

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Reply to
Tom Del Rosso

In some of those places it is more in the towns/cities as anywhere else you are lucky to find what western countries call roads..

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Reply to
Paul

Vectorscope.

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Reply to
Michael A. Terrell

Good hearing? Play an instrument? Perhaps, you don't like music, only because its 'reproduction' is so poor.

However, the origin of 'not understanding accents' is not so clear.

I know no one asked, but for me, I CAN'T understand the words in the lyrics. I can be listening to the raunchiest song and not even know.

But, as everyone probably knows music is processed in a different brain location than speech, so the dichotomy can be explained.

Reply to
RobertMacy

No, it mostly annoys me.

They both have to do with the brain processing of sounds. My wife is a speech pathologist and explained it to me. It's a variation of autism/asperger, where one part of the brain is over-developed (visual/kinetic for me) and another part is underfunded. But she can't change the battery in a flashlight.

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Reply to
John Larkin

If you want to cover _everyone_, you have to get multi-modal.

The simple solution to your status problem for the non-blind (colorblind fine) is, of course, two LEDS NOT in the same package. If you were contemplating a third state corresponding to amber in a bicolor, that can be a third LED or just both LEDs on at once, depending how counter-intuitive both on at once would be.

Unless the device is actually bursting into flames, or will in a few seconds, "beeps" and "boops" make _me_ want to use a hammer on it until it shuts the "" up. _Irritating_ is in the eye or ear of the beholder/behearer. They are also hard as heck to write documentation for

- without a reference sound, one man's text-written "beep" is another fellow's text-written "boop." So you need some way to disambiguate the audio/written and audible. If your target market is geeks who understand R2D2 without a translator, you're all set.

If I were blind, I'd no doubt feel rather differently. But deaf folks would not be fond of beeps and boops, either.

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Reply to
Ecnerwal

I don't known about it in the US but over here supermarket scanners make some really annoying beeps and buzzes when scanning in items but it is as nothing to the dreaded high pitched mechanical voice which mutters the curious phrase "unexpected item in the bagging area".

Also be careful how annoying you make the sound - aircraft cockpit sounders have it about right to grab attention but not paralyse the crew into inaction or worse still forcing them to look up how to disable the wretched alarm so that they can hear themselves think.

The latter was apparently the fate of the unfortunate Three Mile Island operators who were faced with multiple failure alarms and klaxons going off left right and centre. They were well aware they had big trouble and didn't need to spend all that extra time consulting manuals and fighting the instrumentation to get the alarm sounders cancelled.

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Reply to
Martin Brown

It is very easy to ignore the audible warnings: - my daughter does it all the time - it is a standard story to hear of gliders screeching on the downwind leg, so that everybody except the pilot realises they have forgotten to lower the undercarriage :)

My understanding is that the real problem was that there were so many error indications that they couldn't determine the root cause of them all. That's subtly different.

Reply to
Tom Gardner

Why not just a solid tone vs. a chopped tone? The problem arises when you want to convey more than two states.

Agreed. Ears / hearing are amazingly complex -- esp given their "mechanical" nature.

I've spent a fair bit of time working with "3D" audio displays. It is incredibly frustrating how the math *appears* to work yet fails, miserably, when trying to simulate the placement of an audio source in 3-space.

E.g., elevation is amazingly difficult to resolve. Synthesized sound appears to be located *inside* your head. Front-back reversals are common. Yet, a "real person" interacting with sounds in "real space" seldom encounters these same problems! I.e., ITD ILD/IAD/IID, HRTF don't seem to cover the whole problem (in terms of classic signal processing?!)

Reply to
Don Y

The character of the sound can be changed to suit its intent. E.g., "you have a phone call" can be far less insistent than "the house is on fire". "System operational" more subtle than "Oh, Crap! Something's fried!".

I've designed products that played a gentle, unobtrusive little tune after POST as an indication that they were ready to operate and all diagnostics had passed successfully. Yet, would "blow raspberries" if something had failed in the test. People (users) can become accustomed to a pleasant little annunciator (and learn to *miss* it if they fail to hear it as expected). And, similarly, *alarmed* when confronted with some discordant mess!

[Trick is making it *subtle* so it doesn't become annoying -- like *all* of the Windows sign-on "melodies"!]

Experimenting with "audio displays" (i.e., where you *want* to use audio as the primary communication medium), I've pretty much concluded that a "normal person" can handle three audio channels concurrently -- provided they have different types of content.

We're all used to dealing with "background noise". Whether it is chatter of colleagues, guests at a party or background music, etc.

On top of this, we can *focus* (consciously!) on a specific audio interchange: a conversation with another party, the sound from a TV program, etc.

Finally, we can tolerate *terse* (!) interruptions/annunciators that are *intended* to distract us (even if we would prefer NOT to be distracted). A ringing doorbell/phone, a kid wanting to "go to Tommy's house", an item crashing to the floor, etc.

The "interruption" channel tries to "steal our focus" (i.e., become the "foreground channel" that we are actively engaged with). If we accept this altered focus, we relegate the previous foreground/focus channel to another level of "background" where it may disappear in the noise, etc.

The problem seems to be when our attention is *tugged* in different directions simultaneously -- or nearly simultaneously. E.g., the phone ringing coincident with a dish falling onto the floor. At these times, background and foreground seem to fall from consideration as we try to sort out everything that is happening "at once".

Managing this "interruptions" channel is then the primary design issue. I.e., if you've already signaled a *fire*, it's probably not wise to try to bother the listener with a notification that "the phone is ringing"! (that will just be a distraction and lead to "overload")

Unfortunately, there don't seem to be many (any?) hard and fast rules regarding how frequent "events" can enter this channel. And, the ability of a user/listener to actively manage that event space seems to vary over time, activity, age, etc.

[I have a friend who can't pick black marbles out of a bag of mixed black and white marbles if you talk to him while he is performing this (mindless?) task! Other folks can't tell you which relative direction an alarm was sounded while doing any sort of task that requires more than the slightest concentration.]
Reply to
Don Y

better then a similar alert it is so cold the road could be slippery...

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Reply to
Nico Coesel

Dirty enough windows could get you killed. Ever had a big truck hit some mud and splatter so much on your windows that you can't see anything?

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Reply to
Michael A. Terrell

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