Babble and Random-Noise Masking of Speech in High and Low Context Cue Conditions "Perceptual" masking of speech by multitalker speech (babble) has been widely reported but poorly quantified. Furthermore, the validity of the construct of perceptual masking is questionable. This report describes an experiment using a newly standardized test of speech perception in noise (SPIN) with both babble and spectrally matched random-noise maskers. ... Research Article
Research Article  |   March 01, 1988
Babble and Random-Noise Masking of Speech in High and Low Context Cue Conditions
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • H. Donell Lewis
    North Carolina Central University
  • Vernon A. Benignus
    US Environmental Protection Agency, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina
  • Keith E. Muller
    University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Carolin M. Malott
    University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Curtis N. Barton
    University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Article Information
Research Articles
Research Article   |   March 01, 1988
Babble and Random-Noise Masking of Speech in High and Low Context Cue Conditions
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, March 1988, Vol. 31, 108-114. doi:10.1044/jshr.3101.108
History: Received June 27, 1986 , Accepted July 14, 1987
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, March 1988, Vol. 31, 108-114. doi:10.1044/jshr.3101.108
History: Received June 27, 1986; Accepted July 14, 1987

"Perceptual" masking of speech by multitalker speech (babble) has been widely reported but poorly quantified. Furthermore, the validity of the construct of perceptual masking is questionable. This report describes an experiment using a newly standardized test of speech perception in noise (SPIN) with both babble and spectrally matched random-noise maskers. Classical psychophysieal ogive curves were used to model speech recognition as a function of signal-to-noise ratio (S/N). The two maskers yielded speech recognition functions of the same steepness but different locations on the S/N axis. The high-context items of SPIN yielded speech recognition curves with steeper slope and different locations on the S/N axis than the low-context items. These data are used to argue that perceptual masking was not documented (under certain assumptions) and that the superior masking of babble may be explained in purely acoustical terms. Speculations are offered about the possible acoustical differences that could be responsible for the differences in masking effect.

Order a Subscription
Pay Per View
Entire Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research content & archive
24-hour access
This Article
24-hour access