Comparing Recognition of Distorted Speech Using an Equivalent Signal-to-Noise Ratio Index An index of equivalent performance in noise was developed to compare recognition in different forms of speech distortion. Speech-recognition performance of young and elderly listeners with and without hearing loss was evaluated for undistorted speech presented in quiet and noise, and for speech distorted by four time-compression ratios and by ... Research Article
Research Article  |   June 01, 1995
Comparing Recognition of Distorted Speech Using an Equivalent Signal-to-Noise Ratio Index
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Sandra Gordon-Salant
    University of Maryland College Park
  • Peter J. Fitzgibbons
    Gallaudet University Washington, DC
  • Contact author: Sandra Gordon-Salant, PhD, Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences, Lefrak Hall, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742.
    Contact author: Sandra Gordon-Salant, PhD, Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences, Lefrak Hall, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742.×
Article Information
Hearing & Speech Perception / Acoustics / Hearing Disorders / Special Populations / Older Adults & Aging / Hearing / Research Articles
Research Article   |   June 01, 1995
Comparing Recognition of Distorted Speech Using an Equivalent Signal-to-Noise Ratio Index
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 1995, Vol. 38, 706-713. doi:10.1044/jshr.3803.706
History: Received May 9, 1994 , Accepted January 17, 1995
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 1995, Vol. 38, 706-713. doi:10.1044/jshr.3803.706
History: Received May 9, 1994; Accepted January 17, 1995

An index of equivalent performance in noise was developed to compare recognition in different forms of speech distortion. Speech-recognition performance of young and elderly listeners with and without hearing loss was evaluated for undistorted speech presented in quiet and noise, and for speech distorted by four time-compression ratios and by four reverberation times. The data obtained in noise on young subjects with normal hearing served to generate a normalized regression equation, which was used to convert percent-correct performance in different distortion conditions to equivalent performance for undistorted speech at a particular S/N ratio. Comparisons of the equivalent S/N ratios obtained in the various conditions allowed rank-ordering of speech recognition performance in different types of degradation. The data also show that age and hearing loss affect recognition of speech degraded by reverberation or time compression. However, age effects are evident primarily in the most severe distortion conditions. Recognition of undistorted speech in noise was affected by hearing loss but not by age. These findings support a hypothesis that stipulates that increased age produces a reduction in the functional S/N ratio.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported by a grant from the National Institute on Aging (R01-AG09191) awarded to the first author. The authors appreciate the helpful comments of Fan-Gang Zeng and two anonymous reviewers on an earlier version of this manuscript and the suggestions of Doris Kistler in adapting the logistic function to the speech recognition data.
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