Vacuum Cleaner Noise Annoyance: An Investigation of Psychoacoustic Parameters, Effect of Test Methodology, and Interaction Effect between Loudness and Sharpness

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleContributedpeer-review


The first aim of this paper was to determine the variability in the signal characteristics and psychoacoustic data of canister-type vacuum cleaners. Fifteen vacuum cleaners with different sound power levels, provided by the manufacturers, were selected as test units to calculate their acoustic and psychoacoustic parameters. The selection of the devices was based on an even distribution of the reported sound power levels. The investigated variability in the acoustic and psychoacoustic parameters on different vacuum cleaners was discussed to derive the common characteristics of canister-type vacuum cleaner noise. The derived common characteristics were compared with the those in the available literature on the noise generation mechanisms of vacuum cleaners. Based on these characteristics, prototypical vacuum cleaner noise was defined. The second aim of this paper was to understand the annoyance perception of vacuum cleaner noise. Annoyance assessments were obtained from two sets of listening experiments. The first listening experiment was conducted to find the correlates of annoyance evaluations. Loudness, sharpness and tonal components at lower and higher frequencies were found to be dominant correlates of vacuum cleaner noise annoyance estimations. In the second listening experiment, a possible interaction between loudness and sharpness was investigated in different listening test methods. The selected loudness and sharpness values for this experiment were consistent with the observed ranges in the first part. No significant interaction between loudness and sharpness was observed, although each separately correlated significantly positively with annoyance.


Original languageEnglish
Article number6136
JournalApplied Sciences : open access journal
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 17 May 2023

External IDs

Scopus 85160599344
ORCID /0000-0002-0803-8818/work/142257147



  • sound quality, annoyance, perception, psychoacoustics, vacuum cleaner noise, household appliance noise