The Effectiveness of Clear Speech as a Masker PurposeIt is established that speaking clearly is an effective means of enhancing intelligibility. Because any signal-processing scheme modeled after known acoustic–phonetic features of clear speech will likely affect both target and competing speech, it is important to understand how speech recognition is affected when a competing speech signal is also ... Article
Article  |   December 01, 2010
The Effectiveness of Clear Speech as a Masker
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Lauren Calandruccio
    Northwestern University, Evanston, IL
  • Kristin Van Engen
    Northwestern University, Evanston, IL
  • Sumitrajit Dhar
    Northwestern University, Evanston, IL
  • Ann R. Bradlow
    Northwestern University, Evanston, IL
  • Contact author: Lauren Calandruccio, who is now with the Department of Linguistics and Communication Disorders, Queens College of the City University of New York, Flushing, NY 11367. E-mail: lauren.calandruccio@qc.cuny.edu.
Article Information
Special Populations / Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Normal Language Processing / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Hearing
Article   |   December 01, 2010
The Effectiveness of Clear Speech as a Masker
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 2010, Vol. 53, 1458-1471. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2010/09-0210)
History: Received September 25, 2009 , Revised February 4, 2010 , Accepted April 29, 2010
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 2010, Vol. 53, 1458-1471. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2010/09-0210)
History: Received September 25, 2009; Revised February 4, 2010; Accepted April 29, 2010
Web of Science® Times Cited: 9

PurposeIt is established that speaking clearly is an effective means of enhancing intelligibility. Because any signal-processing scheme modeled after known acoustic–phonetic features of clear speech will likely affect both target and competing speech, it is important to understand how speech recognition is affected when a competing speech signal is also spoken clearly. In 2 experiments, the authors investigated whether listeners would experience improved intelligibility when both target and nontarget speech were spoken clearly.

MethodListeners' recognition of sentences in competing sounds was examined in 2 experiments. For both experiments, the target speech was spoken in conversational and clear styles. The competing sounds in Experiment 1 included 2-talker maskers spoken in conversational and clear styles of English or Croatian. The competing sounds in Experiment 2 included 1-talker maskers spoken in clear or conversational styles and temporally modulated white noise maskers shaped to mimic the 1-talker maskers.

ResultsPerformance increased for clear versus conversational targets. No significant differences were found between conversational and clear maskers.

ConclusionsIf it were possible to implement clear speech through a listening device, it appears that listeners would still receive a clear-speech benefit, even if all sounds (including competing sounds) were (inadvertently) processed to be more clear.

Acknowledgments
This project was supported, in part, by an ASHFoundation New Investigator Grant, the Hugh Knowles Foundation at Northwestern University, and National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Grants R01-DC005794 and 1F31DC009516-01A1. Portions of these data were presented at the 2008 American Speech-Language-Hearing Association National Convention, Chicago, IL, and at the 2008 Auditory Perception, Cognition, and Action Meeting, Chicago. We thank Chun-Liang Chan and Yan (Felicia) Gai for help with software development. Rajka Smiljanic provided the Croatian translations and recorded materials. We also thank Nah Eun (NahNah) Kim and Christina Yuen for help with data collection and management and Rebekah Abel for helpful comments throughout these experiments.
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