Listeners Experience Linguistic Masking Release in Noise-Vocoded Speech-in-Speech Recognition Purpose The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether listeners with normal hearing perceiving noise-vocoded speech-in-speech demonstrate better intelligibility of target speech when the background speech was mismatched in language (linguistic release from masking [LRM]) and/or location (spatial release from masking [SRM]) relative to the target. We also assessed ... Research Note
Research Note  |   February 15, 2018
Listeners Experience Linguistic Masking Release in Noise-Vocoded Speech-in-Speech Recognition
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Navin Viswanathan
    Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences and Disorders, University of Kansas, Lawrence
  • Kostas Kokkinakis
    Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences and Disorders, University of Kansas, Lawrence
  • Brittany T. Williams
    Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences and Disorders, University of Kansas, Lawrence
  • 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. ×
  • Correspondence to Navin Viswanathan: navin@ku.edu
  • Editor-in-Chief: Frederick (Erick) Gallun
    Editor-in-Chief: Frederick (Erick) Gallun×
  • Editor: Matthew Fitzgerald
    Editor: Matthew Fitzgerald×
Article Information
Hearing & Speech Perception / Acoustics / Hearing / Research Notes
Research Note   |   February 15, 2018
Listeners Experience Linguistic Masking Release in Noise-Vocoded Speech-in-Speech Recognition
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2018, Vol. 61, 428-435. doi:10.1044/2017_JSLHR-H-17-0215
History: Received June 2, 2017 , Revised August 18, 2017 , Accepted October 21, 2017
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2018, Vol. 61, 428-435. doi:10.1044/2017_JSLHR-H-17-0215
History: Received June 2, 2017; Revised August 18, 2017; Accepted October 21, 2017

Purpose The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether listeners with normal hearing perceiving noise-vocoded speech-in-speech demonstrate better intelligibility of target speech when the background speech was mismatched in language (linguistic release from masking [LRM]) and/or location (spatial release from masking [SRM]) relative to the target. We also assessed whether the spectral resolution of the noise-vocoded stimuli affected the presence of LRM and SRM under these conditions.

Method In Experiment 1, a mixed factorial design was used to simultaneously manipulate the masker language (within-subject, English vs. Dutch), the simulated masker location (within-subject, right, center, left), and the spectral resolution (between-subjects, 6 vs. 12 channels) of noise-vocoded target–masker combinations presented at +25 dB signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). In Experiment 2, the study was repeated using a spectral resolution of 12 channels at +15 dB SNR.

Results In both experiments, listeners' intelligibility of noise-vocoded targets was better when the background masker was Dutch, demonstrating reliable LRM in all conditions. The pattern of results in Experiment 1 was not reliably different across the 6- and 12-channel noise-vocoded speech. Finally, a reliable spatial benefit (SRM) was detected only in the more challenging SNR condition (Experiment 2).

Conclusion The current study is the first to report a clear LRM benefit in noise-vocoded speech-in-speech recognition. Our results indicate that this benefit is available even under spectrally degraded conditions and that it may augment the benefit due to spatial separation of target speech and competing backgrounds.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported by National Science Foundation Grant BCS-1431105, awarded to Navin Viswanathan, and by National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Grant DC000052 T32, awarded to Brittany T. Williams under a predoctoral traineeship.
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