Previous analytical and empirical studies of the human auditory system have shown that the cues used for localization are modified by the inclusion of nonrigid scattering surfaces (clothing, hair etc). This paper presents an investigation into the acoustic impedance properties of human hair. The legitimacy of a locally reactive surface assumption is investigated, and an appropriate boundary condition is formulated to account for the physiological composition,of a human head with hair. This utilizes an equivalent impedance parameter to allow the scattering boundary to be defined at a reference plane coincident with the inner rigid surface of the head. Experimental examination of a representative synthetic hair material at oblique incidence is used to show that a locally reactive surface assumption is legitimate. Additional experimental analysis of a simple scattering problem illustrates that the equivalent impedance must be used in favor of the traditional surface impedance to yield physically correct pressure magnitudes. The equivalent acoustic impedance properties of a representative range of human hair samples are discussed, including trends with sample thickness, fiber diameter, bulk density, and mass. (c) 2007 Acoustical Society of America.