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The effects of speech intelligibility and temporal-spectral variability on performance and annoyance ratings

: Liebl, Andreas; Assfalg, Alexander; Schlittmeier, Sabine

Postprint urn:nbn:de:0011-n-3939523 (150 KByte PDF)
MD5 Fingerprint: ce6f41e58f09d6e814e97cf8bd0431e9
Erstellt am: 01.04.2018

Applied Acoustics 110 (2016), S.170-175
ISSN: 0003-682X
Zeitschriftenaufsatz, Elektronische Publikation
Fraunhofer IBP ()

Ambient sound can impair verbal short-term memory performance. This finding is relevant to the acoustic optimization of open-plan offices. Two algorithmic approaches claim to model the impairment during a given sound condition. One model is based on the Speech Transmission Index (STI). The other approach relies on the hearing sensation fluctuation strength (F). Within the scope of our consulting activities the approach based on F can hardly be applied and the model based on the STI is often misinterpreted in terms of semanticity. Therefore we put to test the two models and elucidate the relevance of temporal-spectral variability and semanticity of background sound with regard to impairment of performance. A group of 24 subjects performed a short-term memory task and rated perceived annoyance during eight different speech and speech-like noise conditions, which varied with regard to STI and F. The empirical data is compared to the model predictions, which only partly cover the experimental results. Speech impairs performance more than all other sound conditions and variable speech-like noise is more impairing than continuous speech-like noise. Sound masking with continuous speech-like noise provides relief from the negative effect of background speech. This positive effect is more pronounced if the signal to noise ratio is -3 dB(A) or even lower.