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This paper is concerned with modelling background audio online to detect foreground sounds in complex audio environments for surveillance and smart home applications. We examine and expand upon previous work in the audio and video domains, and propose a new implementation of an audio background modelling algorithm, addressing the complexities of audio data. A number of audio features characterizing different aspects of the audio content were analysed to determine the factors relevant to the determination of the background audio. We test the algorithms on three audio data sets of varying complexity. The new approach was successful in modelling the background audio for the test data.