Take acoustics out to the ball game!

Happy MLB Opening Day, baseball fans! To kick off the latest season, we’d like to highlight some literature about the acoustics of the humble baseball bat. The sounds a baseball bat makes connecting with a ball can vary so much in frequency that a person with enough bats on hand can create a makeshift musical instrument! In fact, Daniel Russell from The Pennsylvania State University did just that. Check out this video of him playing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” on a piano made of baseball bats:

This video comes from Russell’s article in the Winter 2017 issue of Acoustics Today, Acoustics and Vibration of Baseball and Softball Bats.” It turns out sound and vibration feedback are incredibly helpful to players and can influence their perception of their performance. The article talks all about the physics of baseball bats and how the sounds they make when hit by a ball. You can also hear Russell talk about the acoustics of baseball bats in detail on an episode of Across Acoustics.

Russell realized that sports are a useful tool for teaching acoustics concepts. In the JASA article, “Acoustic testing and modeling: An advanced undergraduate laboratory,” he and coauthor Daniel O. Ludwigsen wrote about an instructional module in which students study the vibrational characteristics of baseball bats and other sports equipment.

The crack of the bat that heralds a home run seems even more exciting now, doesn’t it?

Popular Social Media Posts – March

As we bid farewell to March, let’s take a moment to revisit the posts that captured the attention of our social media community, sparking engagement and igniting discussions around acoustics research.

First up, a JASA post on Facebook which discussed how retroreflective array treatment can change room acoustical conditions, concentrating reflected energy onto an arbitrarily located source. Read the article at https://doi.org/10.1121/10.0025162.


Then, folks on LinkedIn enjoyed an Acoustics Today post featuring ASA students. Read “Tuning into Change: Students Fostering Inclusion in the Acoustics Field” at https://doi.org/10.1121/AT.2024.20.1.71.


Next, on Twitter (X), a post featuring the open access ASA press book, Understanding Acoustics: An Experimentalist’s View of Sound and Vibration was well received. Check out the book online at https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-030-44787-8.

Twitter (X)

Over on Instagram, a image showing sound transmission paths including flanking paths through a separating wall assembly was well liked. Read the article at https://doi.org/10.1121/2.0001844.


Lastly, we’re thrilled to announce our venture into a new social media frontier – Threads! Join us on this exciting platform and share your favorite social media hubs in the comments below.


The sounds of March Madness

As March Madness sweeps across the nation, basketball enthusiasts eagerly anticipate the exhilarating clashes on the court. Yet, amidst the thunderous roars of the crowd and the rhythmic bounce of the basketball, there lies a hidden symphony of sound that influences both players and spectators alike. Research sheds light on the intricate relationship between sound and the game, unveiling the fascinating dynamics at play within basketball arenas.

March Madness - crowd noise

You have probably noticed how the crowd’s energy during March Madness games ebbs and flows. Researchers meticulously analyzed the acoustic signatures of basketball crowds to classify behavior based on various emotional states expressed through sound. From the jubilant cheer of a successful shot to the collective groan of a missed opportunity, each acoustic cue provides insight into the emotional pulse of the audience. Understanding these nuances not only enriches our appreciation of the game but also offers valuable insights for enhancing spectator experiences. Read “Classifying crowd behavior at collegiate basketball games using acoustic data” in POMA at https://doi.org/10.1121/2.0001061.

march madness - bounce

While spectators contribute to the symphony of sound in basketball arenas, players themselves are attuned to a different sound—the bounce of the basketball. A study published in the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America (JASA) explores how listeners utilize auditory cues to anticipate the trajectory of a ball. Remarkably, individuals demonstrate an ability to predict the timing of a bounce. Read “Predicting the timing of dynamic events through sound: Bouncing balls” at https://doi.org/10.1121/1.4923020.

March madness - reverberation

While basketball arenas resonate with the fervor of March Madness, these spaces are not confined solely to sporting events. In a thought-provoking article featured in Acoustics Today, the complexities of converting arenas for alternate purposes are unveiled. From transforming a raucous sporting venue into a serene place of worship, acousticians navigate a myriad of challenges to optimize sound quality and ensure a seamless transition between functions. The meticulous orchestration of sound within these dynamic spaces underscores the profound impact of acoustics on human experiences, transcending the boundaries between sports and spirituality. Read “From sprots arena to sanctuary – Taming a Texas-sized reverberations time” at https://bit.ly/3D7ypVM.

While you immerse yourself in the excitement of March Madness, take a moment to listen closely—you just might discover the hidden sounds that enrich the game beyond the final buzzer.

Celebrating Women’s History Month with ASA Gold Medalists

ASA Gold Medal - women's history monthMarch is Women’s History Month, a time to highlight the contributions of women to events in history and contemporary society. In recognition of Women’s History Month, let’s turn our spotlight to the remarkable women who have been honored with the prestigious ASA Gold Medal, awarded by the Society for exceptional contributions to acoustics.

ASA Gold Medalists

Dr. Katherine S. Harris

In 2007, Dr. Katherine Harris received the Gold Medal for pioneering research and leadership in speech production and dedicated service to the Society. Beyond her scientific achievements, Dr. Harris’ global leadership in speech science has served as an inspiration to the next generation of researchers. Dive deeper into Dr. Harris’ remarkable journey in this enlightening encomium, and explore a selection of her noteworthy ASA publications:

H. Betty Kollia, Vincent L. Gracco, Katherine S. Harris; Articulatory organization of mandibular, labial, and velar movements during speech. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 1 September 1995; 98 (3): 1313–1324. https://doi.org/10.1121/1.413468


Susan Nittrouer, Kevin Munhall, J. A. Scott Kelso, Betty Tuller, Katherine S. Harris; Patterns of interarticulator phasing and their relation to linguistic structure. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 1 November 1988; 84 (5): 1653–1661. https://doi.org/10.1121/1.397180


Fredericka Bell‐Berti, Katherine S. Harris; Anticipatory coarticulation: Some implications from a study of lip rounding. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 1 May 1979; 65 (5): 1268–1270. https://doi.org/10.1121/1.382794

Women's History Month - Katherine Harris

Past ASA President Anthony Atchley (R) presents the Gold Medal to Katherine Harris (L). Photo by Kenny Crookston. Image source: https://doi.org/10.1121/1.2776667

Dr. Patricia K. Kuhl

In 2008, Dr. Patricia K. Kuhl received the ASA Gold Medal for contributions to understanding how children acquire spoken language and for leadership in the Society. She made history as the first female ASA President in 1999. Through her commitment to science, she continues to inspire and shape the ASA landscape. Gain insights into Dr. Kuhl’s experiences in this interview and peruse some of her ASA publications:

Fernando Llanos, T. Christina Zhao, Patricia K. Kuhl, Bharath Chandrasekaran; The emergence of idiosyncratic patterns in the frequency-following response during the first year of life. JASA Express Lett. 1 May 2022; 2 (5): 054401. https://doi.org/10.1121/10.0010493


Patricia K. Kuhl, Andrew N. Meltzoff; Infant vocalizations in response to speech: Vocal imitation and developmental change. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 1 October 1996; 100 (4): 2425–2438. https://doi.org/10.1121/1.417951


Paul Iverson, Patricia K. Kuhl; Mapping the perceptual magnet effect for speech using signal detection theory and multidimensional scaling. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 1 January 1995; 97 (1): 553–562. https://doi.org/10.1121/1.412280

Women's History Month - Patricia Kuhl

Past ASA President Gilles Daigle (R) presents the Gold Medal to Patricia K. Kuhl (L). Image source https://doi.org/10.1121/1.3005559

Dr. Judy R. Dubno

In 2020, Dr. Judy R. Dubno received the ASA Gold Medal for contributions to understanding age-related hearing loss and for leadership in the acoustics community. In her extensive involvement with the ASA, including serving as President and Treasurer, Dr. Dubno’s efficiency, knowledge, and dedication have been exemplary. Discover more about Dr. Dubno’s journey in this encomium and explore some of her ASA publications featured below:

Daniel Fogerty, Judy R. Dubno, Valeriy Shafiro; Perception of interrupted speech and text: Listener and modality factors. JASA Express Lett. 1 June 2022; 2 (6): 064402. https://doi.org/10.1121/10.0011571


Ning-ji He, John H. Mills, Judy R. Dubno; Frequency modulation detection: Effects of age, psychophysical method, and modulation waveform. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 1 July 2007; 122 (1): 467–477. https://doi.org/10.1121/1.2741208


Marjorie R. Leek, Judy R. Dubno, Ning-ji He, Jayne B. Ahlstrom; Experience with a yes–no single-interval maximum-likelihood procedure. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 1 May 2000; 107 (5): 2674–2684. https://doi.org/10.1121/1.428653

Women's History Month - Judy Dubno

Judy R. Dubno. Image source: https://doi.org/10.1121/1.5147426

In celebrating these remarkable women during Women’s History Month, we not only honor their individual achievements but also acknowledge the collective impact of women in shaping the field of acoustics. Their contributions serve as an inspiration for current and future generations, illustrating the vital role women play in advancing our understanding of acoustics.

World Hearing Day 2024

The Acoustical Society of America (ASA) takes pride in its mission to generate, disseminate, and promote the knowledge and practical applications of acoustics. This also aligns with one of the objectives of World Hearing Day 2024; to reshape public perceptions surrounding ear and hearing based on accurate, evidence-based information. In support of World Hearing Day[i], we would like to draw attention to a couple Special Issues of the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America (JASA) that delve into the clinical and investigational facets of noise-induced hearing disorders.

Noise-Induced Hearing Disorders: Clinical and Investigational Tools
Guest Editors: Colleen G. Le Prell (Liaison Guest Editor), Odile H. Clavier, and Jianxin Bao

This special issue provides valuable insights into cutting-edge clinical and investigational tools designed to sensitively detect noise injury in the cochlea. Emphasizing the importance of sound exposure monitoring and protection, the collection explores tools available for characterizing individual noise hazards and attenuation. Throughout, there is a concentrated focus on the suitability of diverse functional measures for hearing and balance-related clinical trials, including considerations for boothless auditory test technology in decentralized clinical trials. Furthermore, the issue offers guidance on designing clinical trials to prevent noise-induced hearing deficits such as hearing loss and tinnitus.

World Hearing Day JASA special issue

Issue Highlights

Noise-Induced Hearing Loss: Translating Risk from Animal Models to Real-World Environments
Guest Editors: Colleen G. Le Prell, CAPT William J. Murphy, Tanisha L. Hammill, and J. R. Stefanson

Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) stands as a common injury for service members and civilian workers exposed to noise. This special issue focuses on translating knowledge from animal models to real-world environments. Contributors delve into the cellular and molecular events in the inner ear post-noise exposure, exploring potential pharmaceutical prevention of NIHL. The collection includes insights into methods and models used during preclinical assessments of investigational new drug agents, as well as information about human populations at risk for NIHL.

World Hearing Day JASA Special Issue

Issue Highlights

Together, these special issues provide an exploration of noise-induced hearing disorders, offering valuable insights and potential solutions for both clinical and real-world settings. Be sure the share this post to make ear and hearing care a reality for all! For more information about World Hearing Day 2024, visit https://www.who.int/campaigns/world-hearing-day/2024.

[i] Due to an unexpected site wide issue, the posting of this content was unfortunately delayed to after March 3, 2024.