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J Acoust Soc Am. 2010 Oct;128(4):2150-61. doi: 10.1121/1.3478773.

The effects of the addition of low-level, low-noise noise on the intelligibility of sentences processed to remove temporal envelope information.

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  • 1Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3EB, United Kingdom.


The intelligibility of sentences processed to remove temporal envelope information, as far as possible, was assessed. Sentences were filtered into N analysis channels, and each channel signal was divided by its Hilbert envelope to remove envelope information but leave temporal fine structure (TFS) intact. Channel signals were combined to give TFS speech. The effect of adding low-level low-noise noise (LNN) to each channel signal before processing was assessed. The addition of LNN reduced the amplification of low-level signal portions that contained large excursions in instantaneous frequency, and improved the intelligibility of simple TFS speech sentences, but not more complex sentences. It also reduced the time needed to reach a stable level of performance. The recovery of envelope cues by peripheral auditory filtering was investigated by measuring the intelligibility of 'recovered-envelope speech', formed by filtering TFS speech with an array of simulated auditory filters, and using the envelopes at the output of these filters to modulate sinusoids with frequencies equal to the filter center frequencies (i.e., tone vocoding). The intelligibility of TFS speech and recovered-envelope speech fell as N increased, although TFS speech was still highly intelligible for values of N for which the intelligibility of recovered-envelope speech was low.

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