Speaking Clearly for the Hard of Hearing IV: Further Studies of the Role of Speaking Rate The contribution of reduced speaking rate to the intelligibility of “clear” speech (Picheny, Durlach, & Braida, 1985) was evaluated by adjusting the durations of speech segments (a) via nonuniform signal time-scaling, (b) by deleting and inserting pauses, and (c) by eliciting materials from a professional speaker at a wide range ... Research Article
Research Article  |   June 01, 1996
Speaking Clearly for the Hard of Hearing IV: Further Studies of the Role of Speaking Rate
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Rosalie M. Uchanski
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge
  • Sunkyung S. Choi
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge
  • Louis D. Braida
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge
  • Charlotte M. Reed
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge
  • Nathaniel I. Durlach
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge
  • Contact author: Rosalie M. Uchanski, PhD, Central Institute for the Deaf, 818 S. Euclid, St. Louis, MO 63110. E-mail: uchanski@cidmv1.wustl.edu
  • Currently affiliated with the Central Institute for the Deaf in St. Louis, MO
    Currently affiliated with the Central Institute for the Deaf in St. Louis, MO×
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Hearing Disorders / Normal Language Processing / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Hearing / Research Articles
Research Article   |   June 01, 1996
Speaking Clearly for the Hard of Hearing IV: Further Studies of the Role of Speaking Rate
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 1996, Vol. 39, 494-509. doi:10.1044/jshr.3903.494
History: Received December 2, 1994 , Accepted January 14, 1996
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 1996, Vol. 39, 494-509. doi:10.1044/jshr.3903.494
History: Received December 2, 1994; Accepted January 14, 1996

The contribution of reduced speaking rate to the intelligibility of “clear” speech (Picheny, Durlach, & Braida, 1985) was evaluated by adjusting the durations of speech segments (a) via nonuniform signal time-scaling, (b) by deleting and inserting pauses, and (c) by eliciting materials from a professional speaker at a wide range of speaking rates. Key words in clearly spoken nonsense sentences were substantially more intelligible than those spoken conversationally (15 points) when presented in quiet for listeners with sensorineural impairments and when presented in a noise background to listeners with normal hearing. Repeated presentation of conversational materials also improved scores (6 points). However, degradations introduced by segment-by-segment time-scaling rendered this time-scaling technique problematic as a means of converting speaking styles. Scores for key words excised from these materials and presented in isolation generally exhibited the same trends as in sentence contexts. Manipulation of pause structure reduced scores both when additional pauses were introduced into conversational sentences and when pauses were deleted from clear sentences. Key-word scores for materials produced by a professional talker were inversely correlated with speaking rate, but conversational rate scores did not approach those of clear speech for other talkers. In all experiments, listeners with normal hearing exposed to flat-spectrum background noise performed similarly to listeners with hearing loss.

Acknowledgments
The authors wish to express their gratitude to John Moschitta for generously providing his time and talents, to Jae S. Lim, Neil A. Macmillan, Michael A. Picheny, and Victor W. Zue for helpful technical discussions, and to H. Norris, L. Delhorne, K. Payton, S. Hsu, and T. Tamir for their assistance in recording and preparation of the speech materials. The authors also wish to thank two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments, suggestions, and patience. This work was supported by the N.I.H. (Grants NS-12846 and DC-00017).
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