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J Acoust Soc Am. 2001 Jun;109(6):2964-73.

The effects of compression ratio, signal-to-noise ratio, and level on speech recognition in normal-hearing listeners.

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Dan Maddox Hearing Aid Research Laboratory, Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Center, Nashville, Tennessee 37212, USA.


Previous research has demonstrated reduced speech recognition when speech is presented at higher-than-normal levels (e.g., above conversational speech levels), particularly in the presence of speech-shaped background noise. Persons with hearing loss frequently listen to speech-in-noise at these levels through hearing aids, which incorporate multiple-channel, wide dynamic range compression. This study examined the interactive effects of signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), speech presentation level, and compression ratio on consonant recognition in noise. Nine subjects with normal hearing identified CV and VC nonsense syllables in a speech-shaped noise at two SNRs (0 and +6 dB), three presentation levels (65, 80, and 95 dB SPL) and four compression ratios (1:1, 2:1, 4:1, and 6:1). Stimuli were processed through a simulated three-channel, fast-acting, wide dynamic range compression hearing aid. Consonant recognition performance decreased as compression ratio increased and presentation level increased. Interaction effects were noted between SNR and compression ratio, as well as between presentation level and compression ratio. Performance decrements due to increases in compression ratio were larger at the better (+6 dB) SNR and at the lowest (65 dB SPL) presentation level. At higher levels (95 dB SPL), such as those experienced by persons with hearing loss, increasing compression ratio did not significantly affect speech intelligibility.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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