Gilkey and Weisenberger (1995) discussed the experience of sound and its importance for a sense of presence within an encompassing virtual environment. In this paper, we develop Gilkey and Weisenberger's work in three ways. Firstly, we review theoretical work regarding the role of auditory information in perceptual experience. Secondly, we report on previous empirical studies of induced hearing loss that have implicitly addressed issues pertinent to an understanding of presence in virtual environments. We draw on this work to further inform the theoretical contribution made to the study of presence with regards to auditory experience. Thirdly, we report our empirical work on induced hearing loss, addressing issues associated with presence using both qualitative and quantitative methodologies. We report our findings and discuss methodological issues surrounding the investigation of presence. This work found that participants have difficulty in expressing their experience within the constraints of more-traditional research methods. Evidence emerged of different forms of presence experience, including, in our terminology, social, environmentally anchored, and self-presence. Finally, we discuss the implications of this work for the development of immersive virtual environments.

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