Assessing the impact of fundamental frequency on speech intelligibility in competing-talker scenarios
When only monaural cues are available in competing-talker scenarios, normal- hearing (NH) listeners are able to identify and understand the target speech while hearing-impaired listeners often experience difficulties. A good understanding of the role of monaural cues in speech segregation is therefore essential for developing hearing-aid compensation strategies. Earlier studies with NH listeners showed that differences in fundamental frequency (∆F0) between the target talker and one interfering talker can facilitate the segregation of the speech signals. However, most of these studies used speech materials that bear little resemblance with everyday speech. Furthermore, the F0 was either defined by talker sex or measured as a talker-specific average, thus ignoring the significant F0 variability across sentences. The present study instead used everyday-speech type sentences from the Danish Hearing in Noise Test (HINT) and employed a more accurate method for assessing the impact of F0 on intelligibility for NH listeners. Compared to previous studies, the overall effect of ∆F0 was found to be smaller and it was hypothesised that the previously employed speech materials might have enhanced the effect of ∆F0 beyond its real-life importance.
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