Modeling Speech Level as a Function of Background Noise Level and Talker-to-Listener Distance for Talkers Wearing Hearing Protection Devices Purpose Studying the variations in speech levels with changing background noise level and talker-to-listener distance for talkers wearing hearing protection devices (HPDs) can aid in understanding communication in background noise. Method Speech was recorded using an intra-aural HPD from 12 different talkers at 5 different distances in 3 ... Research Article
Newly Published
Research Article  |   December 04, 2017
Modeling Speech Level as a Function of Background Noise Level and Talker-to-Listener Distance for Talkers Wearing Hearing Protection Devices
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Rachel E. Bouserhal
    Department of Mechanical Engineering, École de Technologie Supérieure, Montréal, Québec, Canada
    Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Music Media and Technology, Montréal, Québec, Canada
  • Annelies Bockstael
    Université de Montréal, École d'orthophonie et d'audiologie, Québec, Canada
  • Ewen MacDonald
    Hearing Systems Group, Department of Electrical Engineering, Technical University of Denmark, Lyngby
  • Tiago H. Falk
    Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Music Media and Technology, Montréal, Québec, Canada
    Centre Énergie, Matériaux, Télécommunications, Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique, Montréal, Québec, Canada
  • Jérémie Voix
    Department of Mechanical Engineering, École de Technologie Supérieure, Montréal, Québec, Canada
    Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Music Media and Technology, Montréal, Québec, Canada
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication. ×
  • Editor-in-Chief: Julie Liss
    Editor-in-Chief: Julie Liss×
  • Editor: Jack Jiang
    Editor: Jack Jiang×
Article Information
Hearing & Speech Perception / Acoustics / Hearing Disorders / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Newly Published / Research Article
Research Article   |   December 04, 2017
Modeling Speech Level as a Function of Background Noise Level and Talker-to-Listener Distance for Talkers Wearing Hearing Protection Devices
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, Newly Published. doi:10.1044/2017_JSLHR-S-17-0052
History: Received February 14, 2017 , Revised June 22, 2017 , Accepted July 24, 2017
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, Newly Published. doi:10.1044/2017_JSLHR-S-17-0052
History: Received February 14, 2017; Revised June 22, 2017; Accepted July 24, 2017

Purpose Studying the variations in speech levels with changing background noise level and talker-to-listener distance for talkers wearing hearing protection devices (HPDs) can aid in understanding communication in background noise.

Method Speech was recorded using an intra-aural HPD from 12 different talkers at 5 different distances in 3 different noise conditions and 2 quiet conditions.

Results This article proposes models that can predict the difference in speech level as a function of background noise level and talker-to-listener distance for occluded talkers. The proposed model complements the existing model presented by Pelegrín-García, Smits, Brunskog, and Jeong (2011)  and expands on it by taking into account the effects of occlusion and background noise level on changes in speech sound level.

Conclusions Three models of the relationship between vocal effort, background noise level, and talker-to-listener distance for talkers wearing HPDs are presented. The model with the best prediction intervals is a talker-dependent model that requires the users' unoccluded speech level at 10 m as a reference. A model describing the relationship between speech level, talker-to-listener distance, and background noise level for occluded talkers could eventually be incorporated with radio protocols to transmit verbal communication only to an intended set of listeners within a given spatial range—this range being dependent on the changes in speech level and background noise level.

Acknowledgment
The authors would like to acknowledge the funding received from the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Music Media and Technology (for authors Bouserhal, Falk and Voix), the Fonds de recherche du Québec -Nature et technologies (2015-NC-181280, for Voix), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (402126-2012, 402237-2011, for Voix and Falk), the Erasmus Mundus student exchange program in Auditory Cognitive Neuroscience (for Bouserhal, MacDonald and Voix), and the NSERC-EERS Industrial Research Chair in In-Ear Technologies (for Bouserhal and Voix).
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