Tomasz Letowski completed his education in Poland receiving his MS degree in electronics (1965), Ph.D. in acoustics (1973 and D.Sc. degree in technical sciences (1986). In 1987 he received a Special Award for Achievements in Acoustics from the Polish Academy of Science and in 1997 he was awarded by an act of the President of the Republic of Poland a Professor Degree in Environmental Engineering for his overall achievements. He was also a Fulbright Scholar in 1976-77. In the United States, he worked as a research associate in speech communication at the University of Tennessee (1982-1989) and as an associate professor of audiology at the Pennsylvania State University (1989-1994). In 1994 he joined the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, where he continued his research until his retirement in 2012. In 2000 he became an ARL Fellow, and in 2001 he was appointed as a Chief Scientist (ST) in the area of Soldier Performance. Over his professional career he has published more than 200 papers and received four patents. For many years he was an active member of the American National Standard Institute (ANSI) representing the United States in international standardization communities (ISO, IEC). Presently he is the chairman of the ANSI working group (WG) on spatial audiometry, a member of several other ANSI WGs, and an individual expert of ANSI on noise (S1).
Auditory Training: Timbre Solfege and Beyond
The battlefield is a confusing environment in which visual, auditory and olfactory stimuli, while providing some guidance, create havoc by their sheer number and various sources of origin. The proper "reading" and understanding of these stimuli are very important for mission success and are key to personal survival. It is well known to the military that young, inexperienced soldiers are the main casualties of both direct and decoy engagements. Soldiers learn by experience how to perceive their surrounding environments and use this information towards mission success and personal protection. While such experience gradually increases a soldier's situational awareness, additional loss of life can be prevented by appropriate sensory awareness training being offered to military personnel ahead of time. The enhanced ability to perceive and recognize typical/characteristic sensory stimuli can better prepare soldiers to operate effectively and safely in the heat of combat. This presentation is a recount of my attempts to develop an auditory training program for the U.S. Army that aims to enhance the auditory skills and memory of its participants. Such training programs have been proven to be very beneficial for audio and auto engineers as well as for people not working professionally with sound. The first part of my presentation describes the concept and methods of auditory training with a focus on the elements of the Combat Sound Training for the U.S. Army. It also includes a short history of early attempts, such as Timbre Solfege, to develop auditory training programs. The second part of my presentation provides a summary of some of the auditory training studies conducted at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory.