Informational masking in speech intelligibility tests
It is often challenging to separate speech from a noise – especially for hearing-impaired persons. A particular difficult listening situation is when speech is obscured by speech from one or more simultaneous talkers. The purpose of this study is to investigate the effect of informational masking on the speech reception threshold (SRT) and to compare the SRT values obtained with subjective data from the SSQ questionnaire. A listening test was performed with 20 normal-hearing and 20 hearing-impaired subjects. The subjects were presented to the sentences from the Danish speech material Dantale II in four different speech-shaped interfering maskers. The maskers differ regarding fluctuation and to what extent they represent intelligible speech. The listening test shows that the three fluctuating maskers distinguish better between normal-hearing and hearing-impaired subjects than the almost stationary masker. The test-retest variation was found to be the same for the four maskers. The SRT values for the four maskers were generally found not to correlate with the hearing-impaired subjects’ answers to specific questions in the SSQ questionnaire.
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