Effects of slow- and fast-acting compression on hearing-impaired listeners’ consonant-vowel identification in interrupted noise

  • Borys Kowalewski Hearing Systems, Department of Electrical Engineering, Technical University of Denmark, Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark
  • Johannes Zaar Hearing Systems, Department of Electrical Engineering, Technical University of Denmark, Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark
  • Michal Fereczkowski Hearing Systems, Department of Electrical Engineering, Technical University of Denmark, Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark
  • Ewen N. MacDonald Hearing Systems, Department of Electrical Engineering, Technical University of Denmark, Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark
  • Olaf Strelcyk Sonova U.S. Corporate Services, Warrenville, IL, USA
  • Tobias May Hearing Systems, Department of Electrical Engineering, Technical University of Denmark, Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark
  • Torsten Dau Hearing Systems, Department of Electrical Engineering, Technical University of Denmark, Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark

Abstract

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.

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Published
2017-12-20
How to Cite
KOWALEWSKI, Borys et al. Effects of slow- and fast-acting compression on hearing-impaired listeners’ consonant-vowel identification in interrupted noise. Proceedings of the International Symposium on Auditory and Audiological Research, [S.l.], v. 6, p. 375-382, dec. 2017. ISSN 2596-5522. Available at: <https://proceedings.isaar.eu/index.php/isaarproc/article/view/2017-46>. Date accessed: 25 june 2018.
Section
2017/6. Advances in hearing-instrument features and related effects