Effects of slow- and fast-acting compression on hearing-impaired listeners’ consonant-vowel identification in interrupted noise
There is conflicting evidence about the relative benefit of slow- and fast- acting compression for speech intelligibility. It has been hypothesized that fast-acting compression improves audibility at low signal-to-noise ratios (SNRs) but may distort the speech envelope at higher SNRs. The present study investigated the effects of compression with nearly instantaneous attack time but either fast (10 ms) or slow (500 ms) release times on consonant identification in hearing-impaired listeners. Consonant-vowel speech tokens were presented at several presentation levels in two conditions: in the presence of interrupted noise and in quiet (with the compressor “shadow-controlled” by the corresponding mixture of speech and noise). These conditions were chosen to disentangle the effects of consonant audibility and noise-induced forward masking on speech intelligibility. A small but systematic intelligibility benefit of fast-acting compression was found in both the quiet and the noisy conditions for the lower speech levels. No negative effects of fast-acting compression were observed when the speech level exceeded the level of the noise. These findings suggest that fast-acting compression provides an audibility benefit in fluctuating interferers as compared to slow-acting compression, while not substantially affecting the perception of consonants at higher SNRs.
Desloge, J.G., Reed, C.M., Braida, L.D., Perez, Z.D., and Delhorne, L.A. (2010). “Speech reception by listeners with real and simulated hearing impairment: effects of continuous and interrupted noise,” J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 128, 342-359, doi: 10.1121/1.3436522.
Edwards, B. (2002). “Signal processing, hearing aid design and the psychoacoustic Turing test,” IEEE ICASSP. doi: 10.1109/ICASSP.2002.5745533
Edwards, B. (2004). “Hearing aids and hearing Impairment,” in Speech Processing in the Auditory System, Edited by R.R. Fay and S. Greenberg (Springer, New York), pp. 339-421. doi: 10.1007/b97399
Jenstad, L., and Souza, P. (2005). “Quantifying the effect of compression hearing aid release time on speech acoustics and intelligibility,” J. Speech Lang. Hear. Res., 48, 651-667, doi: 10.1044/1092-4388(2005/045)
Kates, J. (1993). “Optimal estimation of hearing-aid compression parameters,” J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 94, 1-12.
Keidser, G., Dillon, H., Flax,. M, Ching, T., and Brewer, S. (2011). “The NAL-NL2 prescription procedure,” Aud. Res., 1, 88-90. doi: 10.4081/audiores.2011.e24
Kuznetsova, A., Brockhoff P.B., and Bojesen Christensen, R.H. (2015). “Package ‘lmerTest’”, R package version 2.0.
May, T., Kowalewski, B., Fereczkowski, M., and MacDonald E.N. (2017). “Assessment of broadband SNR estimation for hearing-aid applications,” Proceedings of IEEE ICASSP, 231-235. doi: 10.1109/ICASSP.2017.7952152
Souza, P., and Bishop, R.D. (1999). “Improving speech audibility with wide dynamic range compression in listeners with severe sensorineural loss,” Ear Hearing, 20, 461-470. doi: 10.1097/AUD.0b013e3181aec5bc
Souza, P. (2002). “Effects of compression on speech acoustics, intelligibility and sound quality,” Trends Amplif., 6, 131-165. doi: 10.1177/108471380200600402.
Souza, P.E., Wright, R.A., Blackburn, M.C., Tatman, R., and Gallun, F.J. (2015). “Individual sensitivity to spectral and temporal cues in listeners with hearing impairment,” J. Speech Lang. Hear. Res., 58, 520-534. doi: 10.1044/ 2015_JSLHR-H-14-0138.
Zaar, J., and Dau, T. (2015). “Sources of variability in consonant perception of normal-hearing listeners”, J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 138, 1253-1267. doi: 10.1121/1.4928142.
Zaar, J., Kowalewski, B., and Dau, T. (2017) “Effects of non-stationary noise on consonant identification,” Poster presented at the International Symposium on Auditory and Audiological Research, Nyborg, Denmark.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
a. Authors retain copyright* and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
b. Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
c. Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).
*From the 2017 issue onward. The Danavox Jubilee Foundation owns the copyright of all articles published in the 1969-2015 issues. However, authors are still allowed to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.