Experimental Determination of the Masking Threshold for Tonal Powertrain Noise in Electric Vehicles

Publikation: Beitrag in FachzeitschriftForschungsartikelBeigetragenBegutachtung



Tonal powertrain noise can have a strong negative impact on vehicle sound quality. Therefore, an assessment of the perceptibility of tonal noise with respect to masking noise is essential for the vehicle development process. In electric vehicles, due to the missing masking by the combustion engine, new methods are required for this purpose. In this study, listening tests were conducted to determine the masking threshold in the electric vehicle interior for various driving speeds (30 km/h, 60 km/h, and 90 km/h) with an Adaptive-Forced-Choice method. The novelty of this study is that it used vehicle interior noise as a masker, compared to broadband or narrowband white and pink noises. It could be shown that the masking threshold in electric vehicles strongly depends on the driving speed, and the investigated interior noise mainly affects frequencies up to 6400 Hz in this speed range. For frequencies greater than 6400 Hz, the masking noise has no significant effect on perceptibility of tonal noise in the investigated vehicle, and only the subjects’ individual absolute threshold of hearing is relevant. Additionally, a strong variation in the masking threshold between the subjects was found for high frequencies. With these results, methods that estimate masking thresholds in electric vehicles can be improved. Furthermore, threshold targets can be adjusted for different customer groups.


Seiten (von - bis)882-897
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 28 Sept. 2023

Externe IDs

ORCID /0000-0002-0803-8818/work/158768039


ASJC Scopus Sachgebiete


  • audibility of tonal noise, auditory masking, electric powertrain noise, electric vehicle, listening test, masking threshold, NVH, psychoacoustics, sound quality, vehicle interior noise