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Effect on Speech Intelligibility of Changes in Speech Production Influenced by Instructions and Communication Environments

Tips for talking to a person who is hard of hearing often suggest how a talker should modify their speech production (e.g., by slowing speech rate). Some interventions attempt to train the person who is hard of hearing to instruct significant others to modify their speech production, while other interventions attempt to train significant others to alter their own speaking behaviors. This review examines the two main experimental research areas that address how variations in a talker’s speech may affect variations in a listener’s understanding. One area focuses on clear speech or how talkers modify their speech production in an attempt to increase intelligibility by speaking clearly. The other area concerns the Lombard effect or how talkers modify their speech production in response to environmental noise. Findings from both areas of research demonstrate how the intelligibility of speech can be enhanced when talkers modify their speech by decreasing rate, increasing intensity, increasing pitch, and/or increasing high-frequency spectral content. However, more consistent alterations in speech are observed when there is an implicit response to environmental noise as opposed to a response to explicit instructions to speak clearly. Implications for practice and directions for further research are suggested.

from Seminars in Hearing

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Verbal communication and noise in eating establishments

A new simple prediction model has been derived for the average A-weighted noise level due to many people speaking in a room with assumed diffuse sound field. Due to the feed-back influence of noise on the speech level (the Lombard effect), the speech level increases in noisy environments, and the suggested prediction model gives a 6 dB reduction of the noise level by doubling the equivalent absorption area of the room. This is in contrast to the lowering by 3 dB by doubling of the absorption area for a constant power sound source. The prediction model is verified by experimental data found in the literature. In order to achieve acceptable conditions for speech communication within a small group of people, a guide for the recommended minimum absorption area per person in eating establishments is provided.

from Applied Acoustics

Influence of Sound Immersion and Communicative Interaction on the Lombard Effect

Conclusions: The results support the idea that the Lombard effect is both a communicative adaptation and an automatic regulation of vocal intensity. The influence of auditory and communicative factors has some methodological implications on the choice of appropriate paradigms to study the Lombard effect.

from the Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research

Effect on Speech Intelligibility of Changes in Speech Production Influenced by Instructions and Communication Environments

Tips for talking to a person who is hard of hearing often suggest how a talker should modify their speech production (e.g., by slowing speech rate). Some interventions attempt to train the person who is hard of hearing to instruct significant others to modify their speech production, while other interventions attempt to train significant others to alter their own speaking behaviors. This review examines the two main experimental research areas that address how variations in a talker’s speech may affect variations in a listener’s understanding. One area focuses on clear speech or how talkers modify their speech production in an attempt to increase intelligibility by speaking clearly. The other area concerns the Lombard effect or how talkers modify their speech production in response to environmental noise. Findings from both areas of research demonstrate how the intelligibility of speech can be enhanced when talkers modify their speech by decreasing rate, increasing intensity, increasing pitch, and/or increasing high-frequency spectral content. However, more consistent alterations in speech are observed when there is an implicit response to environmental noise as opposed to a response to explicit instructions to speak clearly. Implications for practice and directions for further research are suggested.

from Seminars in Hearing