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Auditory distraction by speech: Sound masking with speech-shaped stationary noise outperforms - 5 dB per octave shaped noise

: Renz, Tobias; Leistner, Philip; Liebl, Andreas


Journal of the Acoustical Society of America : JASA 143 (2018), No.3, pp.EL212-EL217
ISSN: 0001-4966
ISSN: 1520-8524
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IBP ()

Sound masking can reduce the distraction due to ambient sounds in open-plan offices. This paper compares a typical masking sound with a slope of −5 dB per octave to a steady-state signal with the spectrum of the disturbing speech signal. Subjects had to complete a number recall task and a questionnaire in a laboratory experiment. The sound conditions with the spectrally-matched noise resulted in similar error rates at 3 dB higher speech-to-noise ratios as compared to the standard noise. Using a speech-shaped steady-state noise as masking sound could reduce the effect of distracting speech in the work place more efficiently.