Subjective studies on impact sound in times of a pandemic — a comparison between a laboratory study and an online listening test



The National Research Council Canada is currently investigating the perceived annoyance due to impact sound in multi-unit residential buildings (MURBs). The first part of a subjective laboratory study on a number of different floor/ceiling assemblies was completed with 26 participants just before the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020. To evaluate the feasibility of carrying out a similar study without in-person attendance, the same stimuli from the laboratory study were used to create an online listening test. The online listening test was created in JavaScript and HTML5 to run on any internet browser. This paper will present the results of the online listening test and compare them to the laboratory study, focusing on the obvious drawbacks of an uncontrolled remote study such as the uncertainty due to the participants’ headphones and listening environment. With an expectation that in-person studies will remain difficult to realize in the near future, this contribution provides evidence whether remote subjective listening tests are a viable alternative to controlled laboratory studies for impact sound.