Acoustic Glossary


E : Sound and Vibration Definitions, Terms, Units, Measurements ...

Early Decay Time

(EDT) derived from the reverberation time decay curve, between 0 dB and 10 dB below the initial level.

A short EDT is a good indicator of speech clarity as early reflections that reach the listener within 50 ms integrate with the direct sound and can improve speech clarity - see the Haas effect.

Ear Simulator under Artificial Ear
EAV : Exposure Action Value

Effective Perceived Noise Level (EPNL) a complex rating used to certify aircraft types for flyover noise, based on the perceived noise level. Includes corrections for pure tones and for the duration of the noise.

The EPNL measurement is based on the EPNL = PNLmax + 10 lg (t/20) + F (dB), where PNLmax is the maximum perceived noise level during flyover in PNdB, t is the duration in seconds during which the noise level was within 10 dB of the PNLmax and F is a correction for the pure tone component, typically 3 dB.


Effective Perceived Noise Level Definition.

IEC 801-29-15, level in decibels of the time integral of the antilogarithm of one-tenth of the tone-corrected perceived noise level, over the duration of an aircraft flyover; the reference duration is 10 s
Note 1 : the integral is usually approximated by one-half the summation, over the top ten decibels of an aircraft flyover, of the antilogarithms of one-tenth of the tone-corrected perceived noise level in successive 0,5 s intervals.
Note 2 : Effective perceived noise level purports to represent subjective noisiness.
Note 3 : Effective perceived noise level of an aircraft flyover tends to be 2 dB or 3 dB greater than A-weighted sound exposure level.

Effective Value

commonly known as the RMS (root mean square) of the instantaneous level over a given period of time. The shortened suffix eff is also used in formulae, for example Peff for Effective Sound Pressure

Effective Value Definition

IEC 103-02-03, for a time-dependent quantity, positive square root of the mean value of the square of the quantity taken over a given time interval
Note : The root-mean-square value of a quantity may be denoted by adding one of the subscripts eff or rms to the symbol of the quantity

Electret Microphones

widely used in noise measurements because they offer the good linearity, wide frequency range and high stability.

Because of their importance in acoustics, we include more details, see measurement microphones

Electrostatic Actuator

device comprising an auxiliary electrode that permits the application of an electrostatic force to the metallic or metallized diaphragm of a microphone in order to obtain a calibration.

Elementary Attenuation of Propagation Definition.

IEC 801-23-36, real part of the elementary exponent of sound propagation.

Elementary Dephasing of Sound Propagation Definition.

IEC 801-23-38, imaginary part of the elementary exponent of sound propagation

Elementary Exponent of Sound Propagation Definition.

IEC 801-23-34, with respect to a system having a periodic structure, the natural logarithm of the complex ratio of particle velocities (or pressures) measured at two successive corresponding points of the structure, when this structure is assumed to be of infinite length

See • propagation and also sound propagation

ELV : Exposure Limit Value


(J) = force x distance = work, a quantity equivalent to the capacity of a physical system to do work; the SI unit of energy is the same as the unit of work - the Joule J and is a scalar quantity.
1 J = 1 N·m = 1 kg·m2/s2 = 1 W·s = 107 ergs

Energy Level Definition.

IEC 113-0601, for a system of particles and fields, set of states associated with a specified energy
Note 1 : this concept is particularly useful when energy changes by quanta.
Note 2 : the term “energy level” is also used for the associated energy.

Energy Density is the amount of energy stored in a given system or region of space per unit volume
The SI Units are J/m3, joules per cubic metre

Energy Flux Density : also known as intensity

Energy Spectral Density (ESD) describes how the energy of a signal or a time series is distributed with frequency.

Engineering Units (EU) the units in which a measurement is made; for instance velocity may be expressed in millimetres per second, feet per second, miles per hour, etc., depending on the use to which the data will be put. Some instruments enable you to specify what the engineering units are and to apply conversion factors if needed.

Ensemble Averaging

there are two ways to create an average or mean sample. Firstly take the values for ten components at any one time (i.e. a vertical column) add them and divide by ten. This is known as the Ensemble Average. Or take one component and average the levels at ten different times, to produces the time average. Conventionally the ensemble average is written E(x) and the time average is indicated by putting a bar over the x.

See also • other types of averaging

EPNL : Effective Perceived Noise Level
Equilibrium the state of a body or physical system at rest or in un-accelerated motion in which the resultant of all forces acting on it is zero and the sum of all torques about any axis is zero.

Equal Loudness Contours

have been arrived at by group consensus. 0 dB is the threshold of hearing at 1 kHz. However we are less sensitive at low and high frequencies, so the SPL at 10 Hz, for example would have to be increased to 70 dB for the sound to be just detectable, or of equal-loudness - the unit is the Phon.

Equal Loudness Contour Definition.

IEC 801-29-08, curve that shows, as a function of frequency, the sound pressure level required to cause a given loudness for a listener having normal hearing, when listening to a specified kind of sound in a specified manner.

See also • BS ISO 226 Equal-loudness contours and loudness

Equivalent Acceleration : Aeq : Aeq4 : Aeq8

Equivalent Continuous Sound Level (Leq)
Equivalent Continuous Sound Pressure Level
Note the fundamental difference between these two definitions

Equivalent Sound Absorption Area

Erg the amount of work done by a force of one Dyne exerted for a distance of one centimetre.

In the CGS base units. 1 erg = 1 dyne cm = 10-7 Joule

ESD : Energy Spectral Density
Estimated Vibration Dose Value (eVDV)
EU : Engineering Units
eVDV : Estimated Vibration Dose Value
Evening Noise Indicator

Exchange Rate

(Q) is the increase in noise level that corresponds to a doubling of the noise level.

Every time the sound energy doubles the measured dB level increases by 3 dB, i.e. the exchange rate Q = 3. For example if a machine produces 80 dBA then adding another identical machine increases the measured level to 83 dBA. So four identical machines, 4 times the sound energy, would measure 86 dBA, we are adding decibels not numbers. This is explained in detail with examples in our decibels page.

Sound Exposure and Noise Dose follow the same rule - a doubling of the level results in a 3 dB increase. However they are also both time dependent. So if the exposure time is doubled the total sound exposure increases by 3dB. Similarly if the noise dose was 100%, then doubling the exposure time results in a total noise dose of 200%.

Leq in the UK, Europe and many other places is also based on the exchange rate = 3, and the 8 hour working day level is known as the LEP,d or LEX,8h.

In America, the exchange rate defined in the OSHA standard is 5 dB and their 8 hour workplace average level is known as time weighted average. For other US exchange rates and threshold levels the average level for the measurement duration is known as Lavg.

Excitation Definition.

IEC 801-21-46, external force, or other input, applied to a system, also known as Stimulus

Exponential a decaying exponential weighting function, specified by a starting point (shift) and a constant time (length). Use exponential weighting for exponentially decaying transients longer than one time record, to avoid leakage caused by truncation.
See also • time weightings

Exponential Averaging

generates a continuous running average where the most recently sampled levels have more influence on the average than older samples. This provides a convenient form to examine rapidly changing data with the benefit of some averaging to smooth the spectra.

See also • other types of averaging

Exposure Sound Exposure see also Noise Dose
Exposure Acceleration see also • Vibration Dose

Exposure Action Value

(EAV) is an 8-hour daily amount of noise and vibration exposure above which employers are required to take action to control exposure.

For noise there are two action levels :
The Lower EAV is 80 dBA and a peak sound pressure of 135 dBC
The Upper EAV is 85 dBA and a peak sound pressure of 137 dBC.
For hand arm vibration the EAV is 2.5 m/s2
For whole body vibration the EAV is 0.5 m/s2

See also • noise dosesound exposureaccelerationvibration dose value

Exposure Limit Value (ELV) is the maximum amount of noise and vibration an employee may be exposed to on any single 8-hour day.

For noise the daily or weekly exposure is 87 dBA and a peak sound pressure of 140 dBC.
For hand arm vibration the ELV is 5 m/s2
For whole body vibration the ELV is 1.15 m/s2

See also • noise dosesound exposureaccelerationvibration dose value

Exposure Time the time a person is exposed to noise during a workday.
Used for calculating the LEP,d - Daily personal noise exposure

See also • noise dose

External Sampling where a time record capture is triggered by an external signal.

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