3D audio technology will provide significant improvements for most aircraft audio systems. Today most airborne audio and intercom systems utilize the same mono headsets and low bandwidth audio signals as used four decades. 3D audio technology will reduce the high visual workloads experienced by aircrew and provide them with more time to respond to threats or warnings, giving them an operational advantage and a safety edge. 3D audio systems provide the impression that sounds originate from a specific position within physical space.
3D audio systems provide significant benefits and enable a headset user to have a natural sound experience, which allows a pilot to quickly pinpoint the origination of a sound, horizontally and vertically, in relation to the pilot headset.
The new technology allows the listener to actually perceive the sound as coming from outside his head and from a distinct direction. This is what the human brain is used to, when not using a headset. Introducing 3D audio technology in a cockpit will improve the situational awareness significantly and reduce the workload and stress level during multiple simultaneous communications.
A key benefit of 3D audio is the fact that the user is perceptive to sounds from a predefined direction. This is a significant advantage compared to visual indications and provides the ability to spatially separate simultaneous audio communication, information and warning tones. 3D audio allows the listener to focus his attention on the audio source which he finds most important and provides the possibility to monitor several audio sources in different positions. This effect is generally known as the “Cocktail party effect”.
As 3D audio resembles the natural sound experience how humans perceive/hear audio in real life, from outside their heads and from a distinct direction, it will not be difficult for flight crews to adopt to the new technology.