Effects of Noise Suppression on Intelligibility: Experts' Opinions and Naïve Normal-Hearing Listeners' Performance Purpose In this study, the authors investigated how well experts can adjust the settings of a commercial noise-reduction system to optimize the intelligibility for naive normal-hearing listeners. Method In Experiment 1, 5 experts adjusted parameters for a noise-reduction system while aiming to optimize intelligibility. The stimuli consisted of ... Research Article
Research Article  |   April 01, 2013
Effects of Noise Suppression on Intelligibility: Experts' Opinions and Naïve Normal-Hearing Listeners' Performance
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Gaston L. M. Hilkhuysen
    University College London, United Kingdom
  • Nikolay Gaubitch
    Imperial College, London, United Kingdom
  • Mark Huckvale
    University College London, United Kingdom
  • Correspondence to Gaston Hilkhuysen: G.Hilkhuysen@ucl.ac.uk
  • Editor: Sid Bacon
    Editor: Sid Bacon×
  • Associate Editor: Pam Souza
    Associate Editor: Pam Souza×
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Hearing & Speech Perception / Acoustics / Hearing / Research Articles
Research Article   |   April 01, 2013
Effects of Noise Suppression on Intelligibility: Experts' Opinions and Naïve Normal-Hearing Listeners' Performance
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2013, Vol. 56, 404-415. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2012/11-0286)
History: Received October 24, 2011 , Revised March 12, 2012 , Accepted July 8, 2012
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2013, Vol. 56, 404-415. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2012/11-0286)
History: Received October 24, 2011; Revised March 12, 2012; Accepted July 8, 2012
Web of Science® Times Cited: 1

Purpose In this study, the authors investigated how well experts can adjust the settings of a commercial noise-reduction system to optimize the intelligibility for naive normal-hearing listeners.

Method In Experiment 1, 5 experts adjusted parameters for a noise-reduction system while aiming to optimize intelligibility. The stimuli consisted of speech presented in car-cabin noise or babble at 5 different signal-to-noise ratios (SNRs). In Experiment 2, the effects of processing with these settings were measured with 10 listeners undertaking an intelligibility test. In Experiment 3, the intelligibility of a broad range of settings was investigated with another 10 listeners to determine whether the experts' chosen settings could have been improved.

Results Low Cronbach's alphas indicated that parameter settings varied considerably within and across experts. For very low SNRs, mean proposed settings differed from those for higher SNRs. The different settings had no significant effects on intelligibility for naive normal-hearing listeners. At high SNRs, the settings proposed by experts were found to deteriorate intelligibility. Superior intelligibility for naive normal-hearing listeners was achievable from settings other than the ones proposed by the experts.

Conclusion While attempting to enhance noisy speech, experts may propose settings that deteriorate intelligibility for naive normal-hearing listeners.

Acknowledgments
This work was executed within the Centre for Law Enforcement Audio Research, funded by the United Kingdom Home Office.
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