Normal-Hearing and Hearing- Impaired Subjects' Ability to Just Follow Conversation in Competing Speech, Reversed Speech, and Noise Backgrounds The performance on a conversation-following task by 24 hearing-impaired persons was compared with that of 24 matched controls with normal hearing in the presence of three background noises: (a) speech-spectrum random noise, (b) a male voice, and (c) the male voice played in reverse. The subjects’ task was to readjust ... Research Article
Research Article  |   February 01, 1992
Normal-Hearing and Hearing- Impaired Subjects' Ability to Just Follow Conversation in Competing Speech, Reversed Speech, and Noise Backgrounds
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Staffan Hygge
    The National Swedish Institute for Building Research Gävle, Sweden
  • Jerker Rönnberg
    Department of Education and Psychology Linköping University, Sweden
  • Birgitta Larsby
    Department of Technical Audiology University Hospital Linköping, Sweden
  • Stig Arlinger
    Department of Technical Audiology University Hospital Linköping, Sweden
Article Information
Hearing & Speech Perception / Acoustics / Hearing Disorders / Normal Language Processing / Hearing / Research Articles
Research Article   |   February 01, 1992
Normal-Hearing and Hearing- Impaired Subjects' Ability to Just Follow Conversation in Competing Speech, Reversed Speech, and Noise Backgrounds
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 1992, Vol. 35, 208-215. doi:10.1044/jshr.3501.208
History: Received December 21, 1990 , Accepted April 29, 1991
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 1992, Vol. 35, 208-215. doi:10.1044/jshr.3501.208
History: Received December 21, 1990; Accepted April 29, 1991

The performance on a conversation-following task by 24 hearing-impaired persons was compared with that of 24 matched controls with normal hearing in the presence of three background noises: (a) speech-spectrum random noise, (b) a male voice, and (c) the male voice played in reverse. The subjects’ task was to readjust the sound level of a female voice (signal), every time the signal voice was attenuated, to the subjective level at which it was just possible to understand what was being said. To assess the benefit of lipreading, half of the material was presented audiovisually and half auditorily only. It was predicted that background speech would have a greater masking effect than reversed speech, which would In turn have a lesser masking effect than random noise. It was predicted that hearing-impaired subjects would perform more poorly than the normal-hearing controls in a background of speech. The influence of lipreading was expected to be constant across groups and conditions. The results showed that the hearing-impaired subjects were equally affected by the three background noises and that normal-hearing persons were less affected by the background speech than by noise. The performance of the normal-hearing persons was superior to that of the hearing-impaired subjects. The prediction about lipreading was confirmed. The results were explained in terms of the reduced temporal resolution by the hearing-impaired subjects.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported by a grant to author Ronnberg from the Swedish Ministry for Social Affairs (E87/13:2).
The authors are grateful to Jan Andersson and his friend Peter Ross for their skillful assistance in data transferring. We also thank S. M. Gordon-Salant, R. H. Margolis, T. S. Kees, and R. H.Wilson for valuable comments during the review of an earlier version of the manuscript.
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