On detectable and meaningful speech-intelligibility benefits

Whitmer, William M. and McShefferty, David and Akeroyd, Michael A. (2016) On detectable and meaningful speech-intelligibility benefits. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, 894 . pp. 447-455. ISSN 0065-2598

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Abstract

The most important parameter that affects the ability to hear and understand speech in the presence of background noise is the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). Despite decades of research in speech intelligibility, it is not currently known how much improvement in SNR is needed to provide a meaningful benefit to someone. We propose that the underlying psychophysical basis to a meaningful benefit should be the just noticeable difference (JND) for SNR. The SNR JND was measured in a series of experiments using both adaptive and fixed-level procedures across participants of varying hearing ability. The results showed an average SNR JND of approximately 3 dB for sentences in same-spectrum noise. The role of the stimulus and link to intelligibility was examined by measuring speech-intelligibility psychometric functions and comparing the intelligibility JND estimated from those functions with measured SNR JNDs. Several experiments were then conducted to establish a just meaningful difference (JMD) for SNR. SNR changes that could induce intervention-seeking behaviour for an individual were measured with subjective scaling and report, using the same stimuli as the SNR JND experiment as pre- and post-benefit examples. The results across different rating and willingness-to-change tasks showed that the mean ratings increased near linearly with a change in SNR, but a change of at least 6 dB was necessary to reliably motivate participants to seek intervention. The magnitude of the JNDs and JMDs for speech-intelligibility benefits measured here suggest a gap between what is achievable and what is meaningful.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Physiology, Psychoacoustics and Cognition in Normal and Impaired Hearing / editors, Hearing. Editors: Pim van Dijk, Deniz Başkent, Etienne Gaudrain, Emile de Kleine, Anita Wagner, Cris Lanting. ISBN 9783319254746.
Keywords: Signal-to-noise ratio, Just-noticeable difference, Speech intelligibility, Hearing impairment
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham, UK > Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Medicine > Division of Clinical Neuroscience
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-25474-6_47
Depositing User: Whitmer, William
Date Deposited: 16 Nov 2016 14:15
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2016 14:16
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/38746

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