ABSTRACT: This study investigated how different instructions for eliciting clear speech affected selected acoustic measures of speech.Twelve speakers were audio-recorded reading 18 different sentences from the Assessment of Intelligibility of Dysarthric Speech ( Yorkston & Beukelman, 1984). Sentences were produced in habitual, clear, hearing impaired, and overenunciate conditions. A variety of acoustic measures were obtained.Relative to habitual, the clear, hearing impaired, and overenunciate conditions were associated with different magnitudes of acoustic change for measures of vowel production, speech timing, and vocal intensity. The overenunciate condition tended to yield the greatest magnitude of change in vowel spectral measures and speech timing, followed by the hearing impaired and clear conditions. SPL tended to be the greatest in the hearing impaired condition for half of the speakers studied.Different instructions for eliciting clear speech yielded acoustic adjustments of varying magnitude. Results have implications for direct comparison of studies using different instructions for eliciting clear speech. Results also have implications for optimizing clear speech training programs.
Project description:The present investigation carried out acoustic analyses of vowels in clear and conversational speech produced by 41 talkers. Mixed-effects models were then deployed to examine relationships among acoustic and perceptual data for these vowels. Acoustic data include vowel duration, steady-state formant frequencies, and two measures of dynamic formant movement. Perceptual data consist of vowel intelligibility in noise for young normal-hearing and elderly hearing-impaired listeners, as reported by Ferguson in 2004 and 2012 [J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 116, 2365-2373 (2004); J. Speech Lang. Hear. Res. 55, 779-790 (2012)], respectively. Significant clear speech effects were observed for all acoustic metrics, although not all measures changed for all vowels and considerable talker variability was observed. Mixed-effects analyses revealed that the contribution of duration and steady-state formant information to vowel intelligibility differed for the two listener groups. This outcome is consistent with earlier research suggesting that hearing loss, and possibly aging, alters the way acoustic cues are used for identifying vowels.
Project description:The impact of clear speech, increased vocal intensity, and rate reduction on acoustic characteristics of vowels was compared in speakers with Parkinson's disease (PD), speakers with multiple sclerosis (MS), and healthy controls.Speakers read sentences in habitual, clear, loud, and slow conditions. Variations in clarity, intensity, and rate were stimulated using magnitude production. Formant frequency values for peripheral and nonperipheral vowels were obtained at 20%, 50%, and 80% of vowel duration to derive static and dynamic acoustic measures. Intensity and duration measures were obtained.Rate was maximally reduced in the slow condition, and vocal intensity was maximized in the loud condition. The clear condition also yielded a reduced articulatory rate and increased intensity, although less than for the slow or loud conditions. Overall, the clear condition had the most consistent impact on vowel spectral characteristics. Spectral and temporal distinctiveness for peripheral-nonperipheral vowel pairs was largely similar across conditions.Clear speech maximized peripheral and nonperipheral vowel space areas for speakers with PD and MS while also reducing rate and increasing vocal intensity. These results suggest that a speech style focused on increasing articulatory amplitude yields the most robust changes in vowel segmental articulation.
Project description:This study investigated the ability to use cues contained within vowel and consonant segments by older listeners with normal or impaired hearing. Spectral shaping restored audibility for the hearing-impaired group. Word and sentence materials were processed to contain primarily consonants or vowels by replacing segments with low-level speech-shaped noise. The proportion of the total duration of preserved speech was varied by manipulating the amount of transitional information contained within vowel and consonant segments. Older listeners performed more poorly than young listeners on all conditions except when listening to sentences with only the vowels preserved. Results confirmed a greater contribution to intelligibility of vowel segments in sentences, but not in words, for young normal-hearing, older normal-hearing, and older hearing-impaired listeners. Older listeners received a greater benefit than young listeners from vowels presented in a sentence context. Correlation analyses among the older listeners demonstrated an association between consonant and vowel performance in isolated words but not in sentences. In addition, the use of vowel cues in sentences was relatively independent of age and auditory sensitivity when audibility is ensured. Combined, results argue that older listeners are able to use essential cues carried by vowels for sentence intelligibility.
Project description:Recent studies have demonstrated that mothers exaggerate phonetic properties of infant-directed (ID) speech. However, these studies focused on a single acoustic dimension (frequency), whereas speech sounds are composed of multiple acoustic cues. Moreover, little is known about how mothers adjust phonetic properties of speech to children with hearing loss. This study examined mothers' production of frequency and duration cues to the American English tense/lax vowel contrast in speech to profoundly deaf (N = 14) and normal-hearing (N = 14) infants, and to an adult experimenter. First and second formant frequencies and vowel duration of tense (/i/, /u/) and lax (/I/, /ʊ/) vowels were measured. Results demonstrated that for both infant groups mothers hyperarticulated the acoustic vowel space and increased vowel duration in ID speech relative to adult-directed speech. Mean F2 values were decreased for the /u/ vowel and increased for the /I/ vowel, and vowel duration was longer for the /i/, /u/, and /I/ vowels in ID speech. However, neither acoustic cue differed in speech to hearing-impaired or normal-hearing infants. These results suggest that both formant frequencies and vowel duration that differentiate American English tense/lx vowel contrasts are modified in ID speech regardless of the hearing status of the addressee.
Project description:The speech signal contains many acoustic properties that may contribute differently to spoken word recognition. Previous studies have demonstrated that the importance of properties present during consonants or vowels is dependent upon the linguistic context (i.e., words versus sentences). The current study investigated three potentially informative acoustic properties that are present during consonants and vowels for monosyllabic words and sentences. Natural variations in fundamental frequency were either flattened or removed. The speech envelope and temporal fine structure were also investigated by limiting the availability of these cues via noisy signal extraction. Thus, this study investigated the contribution of these acoustic properties, present during either consonants or vowels, to overall word and sentence intelligibility. Results demonstrated that all processing conditions displayed better performance for vowel-only sentences. Greater performance with vowel-only sentences remained, despite removing dynamic cues of the fundamental frequency. Word and sentence comparisons suggest that the speech envelope may be at least partially responsible for additional vowel contributions in sentences. Results suggest that speech information transmitted by the envelope is responsible, in part, for greater vowel contributions in sentences, but is not predictive for isolated words.
Project description:The authors investigated how clear speech instructions influence sentence intelligibility.Twelve speakers produced sentences in habitual, clear, hearing impaired, and overenunciate conditions. Stimuli were amplitude normalized and mixed with multitalker babble for orthographic transcription by 40 listeners. The main analysis investigated percentage-correct intelligibility scores as a function of the 4 conditions and speaker sex. Additional analyses included listener response variability, individual speaker trends, and an alternate intelligibility measure: proportion of content words correct.Relative to the habitual condition, the overenunciate condition was associated with the greatest intelligibility benefit, followed by the hearing impaired and clear conditions. Ten speakers followed this trend. The results indicated different patterns of clear speech benefit for male and female speakers. Greater listener variability was observed for speakers with inherently low habitual intelligibility compared to speakers with inherently high habitual intelligibility. Stable proportions of content words were observed across conditions.Clear speech instructions affected the magnitude of the intelligibility benefit. The instruction to overenunciate may be most effective in clear speech training programs. The findings may help explain the range of clear speech intelligibility benefit previously reported. Listener variability analyses suggested the importance of obtaining multiple listener judgments of intelligibility, especially for speakers with inherently low habitual intelligibility.
Project description:A speech analysis-resynthesis paradigm was used to investigate segmental and suprasegmental acoustic variables explaining intelligibility variation for 2 speakers with Parkinson's disease (PD).Sentences were read in conversational and clear styles. Acoustic characteristics from clear sentences were extracted and applied to conversational sentences, yielding 6 hybridized versions of sentences in which segment durations, short-term spectrum, energy characteristics, or fundamental frequency characteristics for clear productions were applied individually or in combination to conversational productions. Listeners (N = 20) judged intelligibility in transcription and scaling tasks.Intelligibility increases above conversation were more robust for transcription, but the pattern of intelligibility improvement was similar across tasks. For 1 speaker, hybridization involving only clear energy characteristics yielded an 8.7% improvement in transcription intelligibility above conversation. For the other speaker, hybridization involving clear spectrum yielded an 18% intelligibility improvement, whereas hybridization involving both clear spectrum and duration yielded a 13.4% improvement.Not all production changes accompanying clear speech explain its improved intelligibility. Suprasegmental adjustments contributed to intelligibility improvements when segmental adjustments, as inferred from vowel space area, were not robust. Hybridization can be used to identify acoustic variables explaining intelligibility variation in mild dysarthria secondary to PD.
Project description:To evaluate the safety and efficacy of acoustic and electric sound processing for individuals with significant residual low-frequency hearing and severe-to-profound high-frequency sensorineural hearing loss.Prospective, single-arm repeated measures, single-subject design.Fifty individuals, ≥ 18 years old, with low-frequency hearing and severe high-frequency loss were implanted with the Cochlear Nucleus Hybrid L24 implant at 10 investigational sites. Preoperatively, subjects demonstrated consonant-nucleus-consonant word scores of 10% through 60% in the ear to be implanted. Subjects were assessed prospectively, preoperatively, and postoperatively on coprimary endpoints of consonant-nucleus-consonant words, AzBio sentences in noise, and self-assessment measures.Significant mean improvements were observed for coprimary endpoints: consonant-nucleus-consonant words (35.8 percentage points) and AzBio sentences in noise (32.0 percentage points), both at P < 0.001. Ninety-six percent of subjects performed equal or better on speech in quiet and 90% in noise. Eighty-two percent of subjects showed improved performance on speech in quiet and 74% in noise. Self-assessments were positive, corroborating speech perception results.The Nucleus Hybrid System provides significant improvements in speech intelligibility in quiet and noise for individuals with severe high-frequency loss and some low-frequency hearing. This device expands indications to hearing-impaired individuals who perform poorly with amplification due to bilateral high-frequency hearing loss and who previously were not implant candidates.
Project description:The addition of low-passed (LP) speech or even a tone following the fundamental frequency (F0) of speech has been shown to benefit speech recognition for cochlear implant (CI) users with residual acoustic hearing. The mechanisms underlying this benefit are still unclear. In this study, eight bimodal subjects (CI users with acoustic hearing in the non-implanted ear) and eight simulated bimodal subjects (using vocoded and LP speech) were tested on vowel and consonant recognition to determine the relative contributions of acoustic and phonetic cues, including F0, to the bimodal benefit. Several listening conditions were tested (CI/Vocoder, LP, T(F0-env), CI/Vocoder + LP, CI/Vocoder + T(F0-env)). Compared with CI/Vocoder performance, LP significantly enhanced both consonant and vowel perception, whereas a tone following the F0 contour of target speech and modulated with an amplitude envelope of the maximum frequency of the F0 contour (T(F0-env)) enhanced only consonant perception. Information transfer analysis revealed a dual mechanism in the bimodal benefit: The tone representing F0 provided voicing and manner information, whereas LP provided additional manner, place, and vowel formant information. The data in actual bimodal subjects also showed that the degree of the bimodal benefit depended on the cutoff and slope of residual acoustic hearing.
Project description:In contrast with previous research focusing on cochlear implants, this study examined the speech performance of hearing aid users with conductive (n = 11), mixed (n = 10), and sensorineural hearing loss (n = 7) and compared it with the speech of hearing control. Speech intelligibility was evaluated by computing the vowel space area defined by the Mandarin Chinese corner vowels /a, u, i/. The acoustic differences between the vowels were assessed using the Euclidean distance. The results revealed that both the conductive and mixed hearing loss groups exhibited a reduced vowel working space, but no significant difference was found between the sensorineural hearing loss and normal hearing groups. An analysis using the Euclidean distance further showed that the compression of vowel space area in conductive hearing loss can be attributed to the substantial lowering of the second formant of /i/. The differences in vowel production between groups are discussed in terms of the occlusion effect and the signal transmission media of various hearing devices.