Speech Intelligibility in Automobile Noise in Young and Middle-Aged Adults
AbstractTwo experiments investigated how automobile noise affects intelligibility of speech signals in both young and middle-aged individuals. In Experiment 1, the effect of automobile noise was compared to speech babble at a number of speech-to-noise ratios. In order to achieve the same intelligibility, the speech-to-noise ratio for the speech babble needed to be substantially greater than the automobile noise. In Experiment 2, middle-aged adults between the ages of 50 and 65 were given the sentences in automobile noise. Even though their hearing acuity was not severe enough to warrant a clinical diagnosis, their performance was significantly worse than the younger adults, particularly for sentences that had few contextual cues. In conclusion, although automobile noise is less damaging than speech babble at typical speech-to-noise ratios, speech understanding for individuals with even small amounts of hearing loss is significantly impacted by the noise. Automobile makers therefore should continue their efforts to reduce the noise levels in cars in order to increase speech intelligibility. [Work supported by Ford Motor Company].
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