The effects of selective consonant amplification on sentence recognition in noise by hearing-impaired listeners

Rithika Saripella, Philipos C. Loizou, Linda Thibodeau, Jennifer A. Alford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Weak consonants (e.g., stops) are more susceptible to noise than vowels, owing partially to their lower intensity. This raises the question whether hearing-impaired (HI) listeners are able to perceive (and utilize effectively) the high-frequency cues present in consonants. To answer this question, HI listeners were presented with clean (noise absent) weak consonants in otherwise noise-corrupted sentences. Results indicated that HI listeners received significant benefit in intelligibility (4 dB decrease in speech reception threshold) when they had access to clean consonant information. At extremely low signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) levels, however, HI listeners received only 64 of the benefit obtained by normal-hearing listeners. This lack of equitable benefit was investigated in Experiment 2 by testing the hypothesis that the high-frequency cues present in consonants were not audible to HI listeners. This was tested by selectively amplifying the noisy consonants while leaving the noisy sonorant sounds (e.g., vowels) unaltered. Listening tests indicated small (∼10), but statistically significant, improvements in intelligibility at low SNR conditions when the consonants were amplified in the high-frequency region. Selective consonant amplification provided reliable low-frequency acoustic landmarks that in turn facilitated a better lexical segmentation of the speech stream and contributed to the small improvement in intelligibility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3028-3037
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Volume130
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2011

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sentences
hearing
intelligibility
vowels
cues
signal to noise ratios
landmarks
acoustics
Listeners
Amplification
Hearing Impairment
Consonant
low frequencies
thresholds
Intelligibility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

Cite this

The effects of selective consonant amplification on sentence recognition in noise by hearing-impaired listeners. / Saripella, Rithika; Loizou, Philipos C.; Thibodeau, Linda; Alford, Jennifer A.

In: Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, Vol. 130, No. 5, 11.2011, p. 3028-3037.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Saripella, Rithika ; Loizou, Philipos C. ; Thibodeau, Linda ; Alford, Jennifer A. / The effects of selective consonant amplification on sentence recognition in noise by hearing-impaired listeners. In: Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 2011 ; Vol. 130, No. 5. pp. 3028-3037.
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